LUMBERTON — Eighty minutes of soccer wasn’t enough to decide Monday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference match between the Richmond Raiders and Lumberton High School.
Battling wet field conditions against a physical opponent, the Raiders tied the Pirates 3-3.
Following regulation knotted at two goals apiece, Richmond added a goal in the first 10-minute overtime period and Lumberton scored in the final minute of the second overtime.
Three different Raiders would score, starting with junior Alex Medina in the 32nd minute. Just 67 seconds later, senior Noah Aiken found the back of the net. And junior Luke Williams, who had a team-high six shots on net, scored in the first extra frame.
Head coach Chris Larsen said the Raiders’ energy was turned up throughout the match, but a late foul in the box led to Lumbeton’s Luis Izeta scoring on a penalty kick with 20 seconds left.
“I thought we played really well. We had a few more chances to put the ball away in the second half, but we just had an unfortunate call on the penalty kick in the final minute,” Larsen commented.
“I really thought we’d be able to sneak a win out, but we just weren’t on the right side of the ball tonight,” he added. “That’s just how the game goes. It was a good match, I was pleased with how we played and I know we’re ready to play them again.”
Richmond’s defense was effective early, as senior goalkeeper Jay Ammons made a punching save on a corner kick in the opening five minutes. Fellow senior Cale Luckey also made a kick save along the goal mouth to keep the game scoreless.
Senior River Meacham recorded the Raiders first shot on frame in the 15-minute mark, one of Richmond’s 13 in the game. Williams had a breakaway chance in the 22nd minute but he missed on a tight-angled shot from the left side.
Lumberton got on the board first in the 28th minute thanks to a shot from Angel Robles. He redirected a cross from Alexis Lopez and snuck it past backup keeper Ian Williams, who temporarily replaced Ammons after an apparent injury.
It didn’t take long for the Raiders to respond with two unanswered goals. Medina recorded his first goal of the season in the 32nd minute when he launched a shot from 30 yards that squeezed between the crossbar and a backpedaling Jackson Davis in net.
Just over a minute later, Aiken was fed a through ball from Williams on a rush down the left side. He went wide in the 18-yard box and placed the ball to the far post for his second goal of the year. Williams nabbed his first assist and the Raiders held onto a 2-1 lead until halftime.
Both teams traded possessions in the middle of the field for much of the second half. Luckey got Richmond’s best look on frame in the 63rd minute when he tried to rope a cross from Williams past Davis in the goalie box. But Lumberton’s keeper made a sprawling save.
Medina recorded his second shot of the night in the 72nd minute when he launched another long ball that skipped into Davis’ box and deflected over the crossbar.
Eloy Hernandez tied the match at two with a goal in the 74th minute to force the overtime period.
“We did good, but we had our ups and downs,” senior defender Bryan Stanback said. “The score was even, but I thought we played better. A couple of mistakes late cost us. But we know what to expect the next time we play.
“It was physical and it was slippery out there,” he added. “It was hard to find our footing and not get stuck in the mud. We can’t get down about this game because we have more to play. We’ll keep our heads up and get ready for the next one.”
To start the first overtime period, junior center back Abrahm Padron made a header save and blocked a shot with his body for the Raiders. That started a run by Richmond down the field that saw Medina lace a ball to Williams at the top of the box.
Williams went one-on-one with a defender and found twine from the left side once he created space. His team-leading third goal of the season gave the Raiders a 3-2 lead in the 85th minute. Medina was credited with his fourth assist on the campaign.
Shots on net from Williams and Medina in the second 10-minute OT period kept the Pirates (2-1-2 SAC) on their heels. But a sliding tackle in the box by a Richmond defender with 20 seconds left awarded Lumberton the penalty kick opportunity that tied the match.
“The way we’re playing allows for different guys to score, and we scored on some counters tonight,” Larsen said. “Alex had one from way out, Noah went wide and found the side net and Luke had a nice goal.
“We’re getting better and we’re seeing what we’re doing better and replicating that,” he closed. “The ball is going in the right direction. As long as we keep playing like this, which is a lot better the last two games, we’ll be alright.”
The Raiders (2-2-1) will return to SAC action on Thursday when they travel to Seventy-First High School (0-4), with a start time of 6 p.m.
Note: The Richmond junior varsity team did not play due to Lumberton’s team having to follow COVID-19 protocols.