Home Local Sports Lady Raiders’ streak snapped in shutout loss to SAC leader Pinecrest

Lady Raiders’ streak snapped in shutout loss to SAC leader Pinecrest

Chloe Wiggins defends Olivia Longfellow (16), who scored five goals in Wednesday's SAC contest.
Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Despite a valiant effort to hand the Sandhills Athletic Conference leader its first conference lost of the season, the Richmond Lady Raider soccer team fell to Pinecrest High School Wednesday.

In a make-up game from Tuesday’s rain out, the Lady Raiders suffered just their second SAC loss of the spring, both coming against the Lady Patriots. In the regular-season series finale, Pinecrest won 9-0, the second time this season Richmond has fallen by that score.

The loss also ended Richmond’s six-game winning streak, which started against Hoke County High School on March 18. During that span, the Lady Raiders (9-3, 7-2 SAC) had outscored their opponents 25-3, with five of those wins coming against SAC teams.

Both times Richmond has played Pinecrest, the games have resulted in mercy-rule losses. On March 8, the Lady Raiders saw play come to an end with just over five minutes left in regulation. The game-ending goal came in the 66th minute Wednesday.

The script was similar in both games, seeing the Lady Patriots (14-0-1, 9-0 SAC) jump out to another big first-half lead in Rockingham. Senior Olivia Longfellow was responsible for her team’s first five goals, all coming in the first 21 minutes of the opening half.

“We got behind the eight ball early in the first half and when we went down five or six goals, our heads dropped,” head coach Chris Larsen said. “We had a lack of effort early, and their goals kept coming.

“But we did a better job in the second half, and held them to just two goals,” he added. “If we would have come out playing the way we did in the second half, it may have been a different story.”

Longfellow scored a game-high five goals, all coming from inside the box. Her first goal was the result of a collision with sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Hoffman in the eighth minute, followed by back-to-back one-on-one goals in the 13th and 17th minutes.

Getting some help from the crossbar on her fourth goal, Longfellow redirected a bouncing ball off the bar in the 20th minute. Her final goal of the night came just over a minute later, a shot across the box to the back post.

Larsen replaced Hoffman with backup keeper and senior Abbey Coward, who allowed two goals in a seven-minute span. The first was scored by Ellie Gulovich in front of the net in the 28th minute, followed by an Abby Veit goal on a redirection off a Coward save in the 35th minute.

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Out of the halftime break, the Lady Raiders regrouped and played much sounder defense, possessing the ball and setting up a couple of scoring chances. Hoffman returned to the net, and gave up a goal to Madi Pry in the 57th minute.

Danielle Richmond ended the game with a tapper inside the box with 14:24 to go in regulation.

The Lady Raiders will now shift their focus to perhaps their most pivotal game of the season, traveling to Jack Britt High School on Friday. Richmond sits alone in second place, and is two games ahead of the third-place Lady Buccaneers (6-3, 5-2 SAC).

Jack Britt overcame a two-goal deficit Wednesday against Purnell Swett High School, and eventually won 3-2 in penalty kicks to preserve third place.

In the first meeting between the two teams, the Lady Raiders won 3-2 in penalty kicks on March 12. Morgan Hooks scored the game-winner. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Fayetteville.

“Every conference game is important, and if we take care of business, we can almost solidify second place if we beat Jack Britt,” Larsen said. “We still need to be able to produce and play the way I know we can.

“The girls know it’s a big game and their mentality will be a lot different,” he concluded.

JV Lady Raiders suffer first loss

The junior varsity soccer team suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Pinecrest 6-0. Tad Hamilton’s team is now 8-1 overall, with a 6-1 record in SAC play.

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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.