LUMBERTON — The unfortunate downward spiral of the Richmond Senior High School varsity boys soccer team continued Wednesday as it was shutout for the second straight match, falling to Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Lumberton High High School 5-0.
A common theme for the Raiders (8-8-1, 5-6-1 SAC) this season has been falling behind early and playing catch up the rest of the game. That was the case Wednesday, as the Pirates (12-5, 7-4 SAC) scored its first goal in the opening two and a half minutes of the half. By halftime, the Raiders trailed 2-0.
“The first goal (for Lumberton) kind of set the tone for the rest of the night,” head coach Bennie Howard said. “I won’t say we were deflated; because we didn’t play bad between the first and second goals. But the second goal with eight minutes left (in the first half) took the wind out of our sails.”
In an earlier meeting with the Pirates this season, Richmond kept Lumberton off the board in a 1-0 win at home. But the Raiders have also had a hard time finding the back of the net recently, as they’ve been outscored 11-5 in their last five games.
Lumberton won behind strong play from its senior captain Rene Altamirano, who finished the night with a hat trick, including one that was scored on a penalty kick. The three scores by Altamirano puts him at 24 total goals on the season.
As seemingly nothing could go right for the Raiders, tension between the two teams sparked up, and three Richmond seniors were handed yellow cards (Brett Baucom, Nick Pearson and Zane Ritter). This has also been an area of struggle that Howard has noted in interviews with the RO previously.
Despite the loss Wednesday, not all is lost for the Raiders, as the SAC tournament awaits them. Howard hopes that the tournament will give his players an opportunity to redeem themselves.
“But we’ve got two games left,” Howard noted. “We’re away Monday at Seventy-First, and home Wednesday for senior night against Scotland. Hopefully we can get these two wins; if we were to do that, we’d likely come back to Lumberton in the first round of the (SAC) tournament.”
In junior varsity play, the Raiders shutout the Pirates 1-0. The game’s lone goal came late in the second half with 10:38 remaining in the game. Sophomore Chandler Sinclair scored on a penalty kick after freshman Noah Aiken was fouled in the box.
Lumberton attempted to battle back, but impressive play from freshman goalkeeper Kaden Walker squashed every attempt.
“Again, it’s great to get the win,” JV head coach Chris Larsen said. “Defensively, we played the full 70 minutes. But our offense could be converting on more opportunities. I’d like for us to put more than one goal up on the board.”
Both Richmond teams will play again on Monday, October 16 on the road in Cumberland County at Seventy-First High School. Junior varsity is set for 5:15, followed by varsity at 7 p.m.
To wrap up the regular season, the Raiders will return home Wednesday, October 18 to host Scotland High School. It will honor its 13 senior players before their last home match. Those to be recognized are: Marcos Acosta (GK), Brett Baucom (F), Jerry Cortes (D), Erick Figueroa (D), Patrick Hamilton (MF), Chris Helms (MF), Victor Lucero (MF), Ben Morrison (GK), Yash Patel (GK), Nick Pearson (D), Zane Ritter (D), Carter Roberson (MF) and Jonathan Tadlock (F). The varsity game is scheduled for 7 p.m.