ROCKINGHAM — Knocking at the goal mouth for much of the night, the Richmond Raider soccer team wasn’t able to secure a crucial 4A Sandhills Athletic Conference win on Wednesday.
Hosting Hoke County High School for the finale of the teams’ two-game regular-season series, the Raiders fell short 3-1.
The Bucks scored in the 13th minute, before adding goals in the 58th and 74th minutes. Richmond netted its goal in the 60th minute.
“We played a good first half but we made a mistake,” head coach Chris Larsen said. “We had the guy pinned and let him beat us back inside. That put Adrian (Padron) on an island and allowed them to go up 1-0.
“Hoke was a little bit more aggressive than us in the first half and beat us to some balls. But we were still able to create some chances.
“We tried to make some small adjustments at halftime to create some more attacking opportunities in front of the goal,” he continued. “We had a handful, but again a mistake on a corner allowed (Hoke County) to capitalize.”
Joas Hernandez took advantage of the early miscue by Richmond’s defense to give the Bucks a 1-0 lead, a score that held until halftime.
In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Richmond recorded two scoring chances. The first was a free kick from junior midfielder Gonzalo Morales that bounced around in the box, and senior James Eason flicked a header attempt just wide after a Jesus Castro free kick.
The Bucks (11-6-1, 5-4 SAC) scored on a corner kick in the 58th minute, poking a second-chance opportunity into the net to make it 2-0. Scoring that goal was David Hernandez.
The Raiders responded two minutes later in a similar situation, resulting in a goal by sophomore forward Memphis Jacobs.
Taking a corner kick from the left side, the initial volley banged off the crossbar. Shooting straight down inside the six-yard box, Jacobs was there to rip it with his right foot into the open net.
That corner kick was set up by Eason, who drilled a shot from inside the 18-yard box that was deflected high by a defender over the goal.
With the deficit cut to 2-1 in the 60th minute, Eason sent two rockets just over the goal to keep things interesting. Junior goalkeeper Adrian Padron made a 1v1 save on a close-range shot by Mohamed Diallo in the 66th minute.
Hoke County added an insurance goal courtesy of Leo Ramirez in the 74th minute, a redirect in front of the net on a cross from the right side.
“I liked how we responded when Memphis (Jacobs) scored on the corner kick,” Larsen said. “With seven minutes left and being down a goal in a conference game, I pulled a defender and pushed another guy forward.
“In the end it cost us by not having enough bodies to markup,” he closed. “It was a good ball game, and I’m pleased with our effort. Hopefully we can get back on a winning streak next week and put ourselves in a good position for the conference tournament.”
The Raiders (7-7-1, 3-4-1 SAC) are set to host Union Pines High School (3-11, 1-6 SAC) on Monday, their second to last full week of regular-season play. Varsity action will start at 7 p.m.
JV Raiders held scoreless
The Richmond junior varsity soccer team finished Wednesday’s match against Hoke County in 1-0 defeat.
Scoring in the first half, the JV Bucks would hold on for the one-goal shutout.
“We came out a little flat tonight in the first half,” head coach Bennie Howard said. “The guys played better in the second and had some opportunities to score. We were just unlucky tonight.”
The JV Raiders (6-3-4, 3-2-2 SAC) will host Union Pines on Monday and begin at 5 p.m.