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Monday, 13 September 2021 22:53

Lack of connecting passes, presence up top leads to loss against Hoke County

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Junior Ty Murray (black jersey) battles for possession against Hoke County's Bryan Perez Ramirez (white jersey) in Monday's match. Junior Ty Murray (black jersey) battles for possession against Hoke County's Bryan Perez Ramirez (white jersey) in Monday's match. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior High School’s boys’ soccer team saw its slow start to open Sandhills Athletic Conference play continue on Monday.

Head coach Chris Larsen and the Raiders dropped their third-straight match to begin their SAC schedule, losing 6-0 to visiting Hoke County High School.

Trailing 2-0 at the half, the Raiders allowed four more goals in the final 40 minutes. Larsen used both goalkeepers, senior Ian Williams and junior Ethan McDonald, who each allowed three goals.

Despite the tough sledding, Larsen said there were moments the Raiders controlled the tempo of the match, especially in the first 40 minutes. 

Going into the game, he said the plan was to tighten up and play forward on defense to try and limit Hoke County’s chances. One thing that was missing, however, was Richmond’s usual ability to break speed at the top of the attack and create scoring opportunities on offense.

“I thought we played a pretty good first half,” Larsen explained. “We changed it up a little bit and sat a little deeper in. We did a good job keeping control, but we didn’t have a presence up top or make connecting passes. 

“There were only two opportunities for us to score in the first half,” he added. “After the third and fourth goals were scored, the wheels fell off for us.”

Hoke County’s senior Joseph Buel recorded both first-half goals for the Bucks, scoring in the 11th and 28th minutes.

Richmond’s two chances on frame in the first half came on a shot from sophomore midfielder Jesus Castro, and a header attempt by senior Han Jalbasuren off a cross from junior Ty Murray.

Also scoring two goals for the Bucks was Reynell Capellan Reyes, who found the back of the net in the 52nd and 59th minutes. After his first goal, Williams was replaced by McDonald in net for the Raiders.

Julio Antinozzi made it 5-0 with a goal in the 62nd minute, and capping Hoke County’s scoring was Brayden Hagg on a penalty kick in the 71st minute.

“Knowing how tonight went, and knowing we have another game on Wednesday, I let some guys play to get that game experience,” Larsen said. “Hopefully that saves some legs and we can get a win on Wednesday.”

Larsen said the “million dollar question” is that the Raiders need to figure out how to get over the current slump and back into the win column.

“Everyone is frustrated, and it’s one of those things that until we can that first win in a while, we’re going to have to persevere,” Larsen said. “Our schedule is front heavy, so I believe we’ll get some wins soon and we’ll be okay.

“The biggest thing is that the guys have to do what I ask them to do. We will work on movement, hitting our targets and getting back to the fundamentals. Until we can get passes together, everything else is for naught.”

Murray, who has been a part of Richmond’s rotating lineup of midfielders, added that the Raiders need to do a better job of hustling once offensive rushes begin.

“Right now we really have to focus on movement off the ball,” Murray explained. “We stay still after we pass the ball, which is really hindering us because all the other teams move off the ball and beat us to the ball.

“Possession is also important because we need to hold the ball longer, which will allow time for our defense and attacking to get in place. That should hopefully lead to more counterattacks and more goals in the back of the net.”

Richmond (2-6, 0-3 SAC) will spend Tuesday’s practice working on fundamentals before traveling to Union Pines High School (1-6-2, 0-1 SAC). Play will get started at 7 p.m.

JV Raiders draw even with Hoke County

Richmond’s junior varsity team finished Monday’s match in a 2-2 draw with Hoke County. Freshman Noah Gil scored both goals, including the equalizer with six minutes left in regulation.

Sophomore Filix Guinn was credited with an assist. The JV Raiders are now 6-1-1 on the season and will play Union Pines at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Last modified on Monday, 13 September 2021 22:58
Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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