ROCKINGHAM — When senior midfielder Jesus Castro has found the back of the net this season, it’s been in pairs.
Taking a break from a contested stretch of Sandhills Athletic Conference games, the Raider soccer team shot its way back into the win column on Wednesday.
Hosting non-conference Montgomery Central High School, Richmond defeated the Timberwolves 3-1.
Castro scored twice, his third two-goal game of the season, while also adding an assist. Scoring on Castro’s helper was fellow senior midfielder Samuel Hawks.
One thing the Raiders and head coach Chris Larsen have worked on lately has been scoring early in the game. Castro brought that to fruition in the third minute of the win.
Taking a shot from outside 30 yards, Castro’s strike bounced and was misplayed by the goalkeeper. With the ball skipping into the goal, the Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
Both teams traded possessions for the rest of the half and that score carried over into the break.
Castro’s second goal would prove to be the eventual game-winner and was similar to his first. This time he weaved through traffic from the right side to the top of the 18-yard box and sent a shot on net.
Again getting a helpful bounce, the ball flicked up and over the keeper’s outstretched hands. Castro’s team-leading sixth goal of the season made it 2-0 in the 46th minute.
After a near miss by senior Vernan McDonald, whose shot sailed just wide across the goal mouth, Hawks finished a run for the Raiders’ third goal.
Castro began the rush into the Timberwolves’ defensive end and sent a long volley over the top into the 6-yard box. There to tap in the one-time goal was Hawks just inside the right post, his second of the campaign.
Leading 3-0 in the 65th minute, Richmond would almost keep Montgomery Central (5-3-1) off the board. But a miscue on defense led to a goal by Christopher Orduna with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.
Richmond (5-4-1) will close out its third match in four nights on Thursday. Also at home, the Raiders will host non-conference Sun Valley High School (5-3-1). Play will begin at 7 p.m.
JV Raiders cruise past Montgomery Central
Completing the sweep of Montgomery Central on Wednesday, the Richmond junior varsity soccer team earned a 3-2 win.
The JV Raiders took a 2-0 lead into halftime, with both goals scored by sophomore forward Dougie Dickinson.
The JV Timberwolves scored their first goal on a header early in the second half, but Dickinson recorded a hat trick. Recently moved from defense to forward, he added the game-winning tally.
Montgomery Central scored once more but the JV Raiders held on for the win.
“Another good win tonight,” head coach Bennie Howard said. “Dougie continued to play well and scored a nice hat trick. But we’ve got to continue to do the small things in order to not let games get so close.
“I really want the guys to acquire a consistent sense of focus that lasts all 70 minutes.”
Richmond’s JV team (5-1-3) will also host Sun Valley on Thursday at 5 p.m.