Home Local Sports Smith nets lone goal for Lady Raiders in loss to Lee County

Smith nets lone goal for Lady Raiders in loss to Lee County

Sophomore Hanna Smith (2) scored her fourth goal of the season against Lee County on Thursday. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Playing on their home pitch for the first time in nearly a month, the Lady Raider soccer team battled to stay in contention for the 2023 postseason on Thursday.

Dealing with soggy field conditions, the Lady Raiders were the only team in action, hosting Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Lee County High School.

Despite what head coach Chris Larsen called another quality effort by the Lady Raiders, Richmond came up short in a 5-1 decision.

“I thought we played really good in the first half and then we had an unfortunate PK call with about three minutes to go,” Larsen said. “The last three minutes (of the first half) got us behind the eight ball. At halftime I told the girls we had to keep playing our game, and we did to a certain degree.

“Being down two goals, we shifted some more bodies forward, which I knew would open us up on the defensive end,” he added. “We put ourselves in another PK and 1v1 situation, and both were tough to defend.”

Seniors Rylie Bohman (left) and Kalei Sriratanakoul (12), along with sophomore Quanna Bostic (1), work to clear the ball from Ava Baldwin (15). (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

An evenly-matched first half resulted in Richmond and Lee County (9-7-1, 6-4 SAC) trading possessions on both sides of the field. But a 90-second span in the closing three minutes saw the Lady Yellow Jackets take a 2-0 lead.

Scoring both of those goals was Gillian Garrison, who finished with four goals in the game. The first was a penalty kick after a foul in the box in the 37th minute, followed by a 1v1 goal in the 39th minute.

Making adjustments at halftime, the Lady Raiders cut their deficit in half in the 52nd minute. On a corner kick from the right side, senior Cheyenne Jacobs collected her own rebound and chipped in a second attempt.

There to one-time Jacobs’ volley was sophomore Hanna Smith, who blasted her fourth goal of the season inside the far post. Jacobs was credited with her seventh assist.

Hanna Smith (2) scores her goal in the 52nd minute. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Adding their final three goals in a four-minute span, the Lady Yellow Jackets found the back of the net in the 62nd and 66th minutes. Making it 3-1 was Garrison’s third goal from close range.

Garrison scored her final goal four minutes later, and Lila Moshfegh netted a PK just 26 seconds after that for the game’s final goal.

“We’ve struggled the last few years to find someone who can consistently put the ball in the back of the net,” Larsen said. “It’s one of those characteristics that doesn’t always come through, and if there is a girl who has a nose for it like No. 9 (Garrison), it can be the difference maker.

“We have a young group this year, so hopefully we can have somebody step up and find a way to score more goals. That way we can use it for the remainder of this year and for the next couple of years.”

Richmond (10-7-1, 4-6 SAC) closes its regular season with two conference games next week. 

Monday will be senior night against Southern Lee High School (3-10, 2-7 SAC), followed by a trip to sixth-place Scotland on Thursday (3-8-1, 2-7 SAC).

Currently, the Lady Raiders are in fourth place in the SAC standings and are the second-place 4A team. 

Junior Kaleigh Cloninger (14) battles for possession against Lila Moshfegh (2). (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

“We played two really good teams this week and battled,” Larsen closed. “I don’t think the scores are indicative of how well the girls played. I hope we get one more opportunity to take on Lee County or Union Pines in the conference tournament.

“It’s frustrating to lose, but it’s hard to be disappointed when the girls really played well and put in a lot of effort.”

Previous articleMB Drift returns to Rockingham Speedway for ‘Back in the Ring’
Next articleNew State Action Plan aims to meet food and nutrition needs of North Carolina children and families
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.