FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Returning to the pitch for the first time since last Wednesday, the Richmond Senior High School boys soccer team was on the road at Jack Britt High School Thursday night. Making up the rainout from the previous evening, the Raiders were looking to avenge their biggest loss of the season, a 5-1 home blowout to Pinecrest High School.
But they’ll have to wait.
The Raiders (4-3, 1-2 SAC) dropped its third match in four games, this time falling to new Sandhills Athletic Conference foe Jack Britt (3-5-1, 3-1 SAC) in heartbreaking fashion 2-1.
A team’s record isn’t always the tale of the tape, and that proved to be the case for the Raiders Thursday against the Buccaneers. A low-scoring affair, Richmond has faced the challenge all season of being able to score a sufficient amount of goals and light up the scoreboard. But head coach Bennie Howard was pleased with the effort his team showed tonight.
“I’m proud of the way we played tonight,” Howard said. “We may not have gotten the win, but the boys executed plays really well. It was good to see them improve upon area they’ve been struggling with lately.”
Without any goals by either team in the first half, Richmond got the game’s scoring started with 17 minutes remaining in the game. Senior midfielder Patrick Hamilton netted his first goal of the season on a 20-yard strike. Senior forward Victor Lucero assisted on the scoring play.
However, three minutes later, the Buccaneers found the equalizer on a free kick following a Richmond foul. The final 14 minutes were close until Jack Britt broke the tie when the Raiders failed to clear a ball, resulting in an own goal with 0:40 seconds remaining in regulation.
Despite not getting the win, the Raiders played really well except for those two mistakes. Howard noted that his team hit their spots, held possession of the ball for the majority of the game, and did everything right with the exception of scoring an extra goal.
“I can sleep well tonight knowing this hiccup might get us over this hump,” Howard said. “We’re not out of (making the playoffs). But we’re not where we want to be at this stage of the season, being 1-2 in conference play.
“If we can take this negative streak, and this bad taste in our mouth, and turn it into something positive, I think we’ll be alright,” Howard explained.
The RSHS junior varsity team also suffered defeat on a last-minute goal, failing to score in a 1-0 loss. Falling to 3-3 on the season and 0-2 is SAC play, JV head coach Chris Larsen managed to find positive light in the loss.
“The boys played a solid game tonight,” Larsen said. “It was a tough loss, but again, this is something we will grow from. Luckily, we get the opportunity to play (Jack Britt) again, and I know the boys are looking forward to getting back on the winning side of things next week.”
Both Richmond teams will return to play Monday, September 11, 2017, on the road at Hoke County High School. The Bucks are 2-3-2 on the season, with a 1-1 SAC record. JV will begin at 5:15 p.m., followed by varsity at 7 p.m.