Home Local Sports Raiders Boys Soccer Holds Off Union Pines; Win 1-0

Raiders Boys Soccer Holds Off Union Pines; Win 1-0

ROCKINGHAM – Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Those were the words of Richmond Senior High School boys soccer coach Bennie Howard Monday night after holding off visiting Union Pines High School (Moore County) 1-0.

In a game dominated by physical play, and that saw multiple yellow cards for both teams, the Raiders (2-0) kept the Vikings (1-2) scoreless by controlling the ball in the middle of the field and putting shots on net. At the end of the first half, Richmond was outshooting its opponent seven to two.

Having not played in nearly a week since opening the season with a 4-0 win on the road at St. Pauls High School, Richmond managed to walk off the pitch victorious in its home opener despite not playing to what Howard believes his team is capable of producing.

“We definitely didn’t put our best product on the field tonight,” Howard said. “But we managed to play well enough to pick up the win.”

The lone goal was scored with 2:43 remaining in the first half by senior forward Jonathan Tadlock. With his second goal in as many games to start the season, Tadlock crashed the net after a Carlos Alcocer shot ricocheted off Union Pines’ keeper. Tadlock corralled the ball and put it in the right side of the net.

“Jonathan’s goal was a great example of crashing the net,” Howard said. “Carlos did a god job at setting up the play, and we followed the ball really well.”

Despite the one-goal performance, the Raiders offense was active and kept the Vikings’ defense at bay. Richmond dominated ball possession, and the defense, captained by senior center back Nick Pearson, held firm and held Union Pines to only a few shots in the second half.

Richmond had several other chances to place the ball in the back of the net, but failed to do so. Sophomore midfield Joey Nicholson received a pass on the left side of the box and had a clear angle to the next, but booted it high and wide. Also, late in the game, senior forward Brett Baucom had a one-on-one breakaway opportunity, but sent the chip shot just over the crossbar.

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Alcocer and senior midfielder Victor Lucero helped create scoring opportunities and set the game’s tempo, but Howard still expects his team to play better.

“Getting the win tonight was good,” Howard said. “But our performance tonight isn’t going to allow us to get where we want to go. If we want to repeat as conference champions, we need to score more and play better as a team.”

Senior goalkeeper Marcos Acosta played solidly between the posts, challenging oncoming Vikings players by making several sliding plays. Acosta hasn’t allowed a goal yet this season.

The junior varsity team (1-1) dropped its first game of the season, after not being able to maintain a 2-0 halftime lead. Sophomore Luke Hawks opened the scoring with a goal, followed by a magnificent header by sophomore Cole Deane.

But after allowing a goal early in the second half to cut the lead to one, head coach Chris Larsen’s team “lost its focus” and gave up two goals in the final 70 seconds. The Union Pines game-winning goal came after a yellow card was issued to a Richmond player.

“We moved the ball well tonight,” Larsen said. “But Union Pines made some adjustments in the second half and we couldn’t maintain the lead. We just lost our focus in the final minutes of the game.”

 The Raiders will look to improve to 3-0 on the season as they’ll host Central Academy of Technology and Arts (0-3) Wednesday. Junior varsity will play at 4:30 p.m., followed by varsity 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.