Home Local Sports No. 6 Raiders end season in conference tournament semis

No. 6 Raiders end season in conference tournament semis

Head coach Chris Larsen speaks to the Raider soccer team during halftime during Tuesday's season finale. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

SOUTHERN PINES — Trying to carry over the same amount of energy from the night before, the Richmond boys’ soccer team ran out of steam in the second round of the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament.

Trying to complete their second upset win in a 24-hour span on Tuesday, the No. 6 Raiders saw their season come to an end against No. 2 Pinecrest High School. 

Despite taking an early lead in the first half, the Raiders fell 4-1. 

“We knew what we were up against and we came out hot riding some of that high from last night’s victory,” head coach Chris Larsen said. “We went up 1-0 on a nice goal by Noah (Gil) and that gave us some fight.

“Unfortunately, we conceded two goals before the half and that momentum we had dwindled,” he added. “The guys continued to play hard in the second half but we ran out of steam from playing two tough games back-to-back.”

For the second straight night, the Raiders jumped ahead on the board first. Sophomore forward Noah Gil registered his third goal in three games with an assist from junior James Eason. 

In the 17th minute, Eason outdueled a defender and gained possession along the left side of the field. He sent a cross into the box to Gil, who took a touch and sent a low shot to the back post. 

Sophomore Noah Gil (9) scores his goal during Tuesday’s match. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

A kick save by junior Danny Jaimes on a bobbled ball in Richmond’s box maintained the 1-0 lead in the 38th minute. 

Pinecrest scored two goals in the final 10:30 to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. Eric Sabiston and Joshua Mandell scored on miscues by the Raiders. 

Richmond had two more chances on goal in the closing six minutes, starting with a header attempt by senior Luke McCormick that hit the crossbar following a corner kick. Freshman Memphis Jacobs sent a shot just high. 

The second half saw the Patriots (11-6-2, 10-2-2 SAC) add two more insurance goals. Finding the net were Will Black (45th minute) and Kiki Morales (63rd minute).


Richmond had a few more scoring chances on frame, including another shot from McCormick on a long free kick, but was unable to find the back of the net.

According to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s current RPI playoff projections, the Raiders are ranked No. 43 in the 4A East and not expected to make the postseason. The top 32 teams make the playoffs.

The Richmond soccer team finished the season with a 6-15-1 overall record, taking sixth place in the SAC standings. Richmond’s conference record was 5-9, including the SAC tournament.

Some of the team’s biggest wins of the season include defeating Hoke County in the opening round of the tournament, sweeping rival Scotland and taking one game from Southern Lee during the regular season.

Tuesday’s match was the final high school competition for this year’s eight seniors. 

“I applaud all of our guys for fighting tooth and nail to the bitter end,” Larsen said. “Our record doesn’t dictate the success of our season and the growth of our program. We were on the wrong end of a bouncing ball just a few more times than we wanted to this season.

“These guys gave themselves a chance and we know we have some work to do in the offseason,” he closed. “We have quite a few guys coming back and we’ll really miss our seniors who gave us a lot of quality minutes. We’ll see what we can do to attack it next year.”

The Richmond Observer will publish an article regarding the 2022 All-SAC team when it’s released.

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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.