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Rodgers’ hat trick highlights milestone rivalry win

Allie Rodgers scores the first of her three goals in Tuesday's win over Scotland. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — When senior Allie Rodgers scored her first of three goals in the 27th minute of Tuesday’s soccer match, she iced an historic milestone in a longtime rivalry.

The Richmond Senior High School girls soccer team returned to the pitch after a 12-day hiatus and kept Scotland High School winless in Sandhills Athletic Conference play.

Earning a 10-1 mercy-rule victory, the Lady Raiders extended their winning streak against Scotland to 19 games.

Starting April 1, 2015, the streak broke the all-time school record of consecutive wins of a single Richmond team over Scotland (18), which was matched by the football program (1995-2010). 

Tuesday’s matchup was the 60th all-time meeting between the Lady Raiders and Lady Scots, as Richmond improved its all-time record to 29-26-6.

Former head coach Bennie Howard collected 10 of the wins, while current coach Chris Larsen has been at the helm for the last nine.

The Lady Raiders used eight goal scorers in the victory, with Rodgers being the only multi-goal scorer. 

Netting one goal apiece were sophomore Jentry Denson, freshman Colbie Covington, freshman Mariana Gonzalez, junior Ashly Gonzalez, junior Yarely Vargas, senior Evie Howell and sophomore Nola O’Neal.

Registering one assist each were Ashly Gonzalez, senior Gabby Lutz, sophomore Makayla Brown, sophomore Ella Gibson and senior Emma Altman.

Denson, who has become Richmond’s free kick specialist, netted the first goal of the game in the 25th minute. Taking a free kick from 40 yards in the middle of the field, she sent an arching shot under the crossbar to make it 1-0.

Rodgers doubled the lead less than two minutes later. Her initial shot was stopped but a second-chance bounce found her foot for an easy tap-in from inside the six-yard box.

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In the 33rd minute, Rodgers extended the lead to 3-0 when she scored from inside 10 yards on a one-v-one situation. A pass from Ashly Gonzalez found her in space and Rodgers’ shot sailed past the keeper’s left hand.

Scotland (2-6-1, 0-5 SAC) scored its only goal in the 34th minute to cut its deficit to 3-1. Finding the back of the net was Emma Clark.

Keeping the offensive pressure on in the second half, the Lady Raiders scored seven goals. The mercy-rule goal came with 14:39 left in regulation.

Just 27 seconds into the final 40 minutes, Rodgers completed her hat trick. Covington made it 5-1 when her shot deflected off the keeper’s hands in the 43rd minute.

Mariana and Ashly Gonzalez scored each of her respective goals just 91 seconds apart in the 56th and 58th minutes to pad the lead to 7-1.

Vargas found the net for her first varsity goal in the 58th minute as well, scoring just 51 seconds after Ashly Gonzalez.

Howell took a penalty kick in the 70th minute, beating the keeper with a strike inside the right post, also her first career goal on varsity. 

O’Neal, playing her first season at the varsity level, sealed the deal with her first varsity tally in the 66th minute.

The Lady Raiders (6-3-2, 2-2 SAC) have a make-up match at home Wednesday against Union Pines High School (6-3-1, 3-1 SAC). The battle between Richmond and the Lady Vikings will start at 7 p.m.

Sports editor’s note: Deon Cranford contributed to this article. The junior varsity soccer team didn’t play Tuesday but will play Union Pines at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.