Tuesday, 20 March 2018 00:00

Nicholson's two second-half goals help Richmond shutout Lumberton 4-0

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Richmond junior midfielder Jayana Nicholson (right) scored two second half goals in the Lady Raiders' 4-0 win over Lumberton. Richmond junior midfielder Jayana Nicholson (right) scored two second half goals in the Lady Raiders' 4-0 win over Lumberton. Photo courtesy of Kyle Pillar.

ROCKINGHAM – The last time the Lady Raiders soccer team squared off against Lumberton High School, then-sophomore forward Morgan Hooks ripped a double-overtime shot from just inside the 18-yard box to give Richmond a 1-0 victory to send the team to the conference championship against Pinecrest High School.

It was the first time in nearly a decade that the Lady Raiders (6-2, 3-2 SAC) had defeated Lumberton (3-4, 2-3 SAC) in soccer. And now Richmond has won the last two contests after Monday’s 4-0 shutout by the Lady Raiders on their home pitch. 

Monday’s first of two regular season matchups between the two teams didn’t have the same stakes on the line as last time, but it was an intense meeting, as junior midfielder Jayana Nicholson stole the show in the second half with two goals in just over three minutes to put the game out of reach.

The victory marked the first time Richmond scored four goals against Lumberton since a 5-4 loss on March 22, 2012.

“This was a good comeback after Friday’s 1-0 loss (at Jack Britt),” head coach Bennie Howard said. “We did a good job getting out of the 1-0 situation midway through the second half. In a one-goal game, it’s always tight and jittery. We needed this win tonight.”

Hooks had the Lady Pirates’ number again, as she opened the night’s scoring in the 15th minute. Teammate Chloe Wiggins took a free kick near the right corner and lobbed it into the box. Lumberton goalkeeper Emma Barnes came out of the net and made an aggressive stab at the ball, but failed to corral it.

Hooks was right beside her and knocked in the loose ball, scoring what would be her second game-winning goal in the last two games against Lumberton. Wiggins was credited with her team-leading third assist of the year.

The rest of the first half wouldn’t see any more scoring, but junior Jessi Graham had a great scoring opportunity, but her shot sailed just wide and banged off the post.

All game long the Lady Raiders moved the ball well and maintained possession in Lumberton’s half of the field. Very rarely did sophomore goalkeeper Allexis Swiney have to come out and contest a shot, and when she did, she was nothing but a wall in net. The Richmond defensive line consisting of Avy Lucero, Tatum Hubbard, Kathleen Pittman and Shelby Matheson did a shut-down job of clearing many balls in their zone.

In the second half, Richmond came out of the break with a newfound energy. The Lady Raiders amped up their physical play and dominated the Lady Pirates, keeping the visiting team on its heels for all but a few minutes in the closing half.

Nicholson, who didn’t start the game due to a nagging knee injury, controlled the midfield for much of the second half. Her first goal came in the 67th minute just after a Richmond throw-in deep in the Lady Pirates’ defensive zone. After Lumberton failed to clear the ball, Nicholson took advantage of the mistake a beat the keeper on a shot inside the goalie’s box.

Just three minutes later, Nicholson would net her final goal of the night (and third of the season) on a rush. Nicholson, who has showcased her speed and agility this season, used both to move along the right side of the 18-yard box and split a couple of Lady Pirates defenders. This time, she lasered a shot top shelf and beat Barnes to her left. With just over 11 minutes to play in regulation, Nicholson put Richmond up comfortably 3-0.

“It meant everything to us to win tonight,” Nicholson said in a postgame interview. “We lost to Lumberton both times in the (regular) season last year. So, coming back and beating them this year means something.”

The night’s scoring was capped off by sophomore striker Carley Lambeth, who scored her first goal of the season on her 16th birthday. Lambeth’s goal came in the 72nd minute on a hard two-hopper that managed to sneak its way past a diving Barnes.

“I’m pleased with the effort everybody gave tonight,” Howard said. “We don’t give awards for who scores the most goals or who gets an assist. The bottom line is that the scoreboard says we have more (goals) than the other team. It was a team effort and team victory tonight.”

With Richmond’s win and Hoke County’s 6-0 loss to Jack Britt Monday, the Lady Raiders sit alone in the third spot in the Sandhills Athletic Conference behind leader Pinecrest High School and second-place Jack Britt.

In junior varsity play, head coach Chris Larsen’s team earned another win on the season by defeating Lumberton 3-1. Kelsey Sheffield, Jayla McDougald and Jakerra Covington all notched goals in the win.

The Lady Raiders will be back in action Wednesday for their second of three home games this week. Seventy-First High School (0-7, 0-5 SAC) is up first with varsity at 6 p.m., and Lee County (1-0) will visit Thursday, with junior varsity at 5:15 p.m., followed by varsity at 7 p.m.

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 March 2018 07:53

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_