Home Local Sports Castro’s hat trick fuels Raiders’ first win of season

Castro’s hat trick fuels Raiders’ first win of season

Junior midfielder Jesus Castro (right) one-times the first goal of his hat trick against Purnell Swett. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Making its much anticipated home debut on Wednesday, the Richmond Raider soccer team made its way into the win column.

Two nights after their initial home opener was rained out, the Raiders poured on the shots against non-conference Purnell Swett High School.

Outshooting the Rams 24-1, the left foot of junior center midfielder Jesus Castro was the difference maker for Richmond in a 3-0 win.

Castro netted his first career hat trick, finding the back of the net once in the first half, and twice more in an 11-minute span in the second stanza.

Richmond peppered Purnell Swett goalkeeper Daniel Hunt early and often in the opening 40 minutes, seeing seven players combine for 11 shots. Castro and sophomore midfielder Gonzalo Morales both had three shots.

Adding a shot apiece were seniors Junior Aguirre and Ayden Mabe, junior Diego Mendez and sophomores Jeremiah Ritter and Landon Summerlin.

Castro’s first goal of the match, which was also his first of the season, came in the 14th minute. 

Danny Jaimes sent the ball across the box and it deflected off a defender, finding Castro, who one-timed his shot low into the right corner of the goal.

Registering the lone shot on net for the Rams (1-3) was Cayden Locklear. The 1-0 lead for Richmond would hold until halftime.

Junior Jesus Castro (19) is greeted by Danny Jaimes (13) following his hat trick goal. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Junior Noah Williams started the second half with both of his shot attempts on frame, keeping the pressure on for the Raiders. Head coach Chris Larsen said he was pleased with the Raiders’ passing game and ball movement against the Rams, which paid dividends.


In the 60th minute, Purnell Swett committed a foul two yards outside the top of the box. Castro took the free kick and laced a low strike around the left side of the wall and into the side netting just inside the left post for his second tally.

Putting the game out of reach in the 71st minute, Castro made an unassisted run down the left side of the field. Just past the 18-yard mark, he sent his shot across the box and inside the back post for the hat trick.

The work of Mabe, McLean, Jaimes, Mendez, Ritter and senior Luke McCormick along the back row kept the Rams out of the net for Richmond’s first shutout of the season. Senior Ethan McDonald and sophomore Adrian Padron each played one half in net.

Adding to Richmond’s shot total in the second half were Castro (4), Aguirre, Mendez, Morales and Summerlin (1 more each), and the first registered shots from junior James Eason, senior Jullian Cline and junior Vernan McDonald.

Senior center back Ayden Mabe (3) clears a ball out of the defensive zone in the second half. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

VIDEO: Junior midfielder Jesus Castro breaks down his first career hat trick, which fueled Richmond’s 3-0 win over Purnell Swett. Senior center back Jeremiah McLean explains how the defense kept the Rams scoreless.

VIDEO: Head coach Chris Larsen discusses Richmond’s 3-0 win, and said the team’s first victory will hopefully turn into some momentum heading into conference play next week.

Richmond (1-1-1) will get the rest of the week off before hosting Uwharrie Charter Academy next Monday, and open Sandhills Athletic Conference play at Southern Lee High School on Wednesday.

Both matches will be varsity only and begin at 6 p.m. 

Note: The junior varsity soccer team didn’t play on Wednesday and will host Central Academy on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.