Wednesday, 13 March 2019 22:41

Lady Raiders drop non-conference match to Union Pines

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Richmond sophomore keeper Kelly Hoffman (33) leaps to tip away a corner kick in the first half. Richmond sophomore keeper Kelly Hoffman (33) leaps to tip away a corner kick in the first half. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

CAMERON, N.C. — The outcome of Wednesday’s Richmond Senior High School girls’ soccer game wasn’t what head coach Chris Larsen wanted, but he has a feeling it made his team better for the long term.

The Lady Raiders played for the second night in a row, looking to carry their momentum over from Tuesday’s penalty kick thriller, a 3-2 victory over Sandhills Athletic Conference foe Jack Britt High School.

But a quick goal by Union Pines High School set the tone early, as Richmond fell to the Lady Vikings 6-2. Union Pines’ sophomore Emily Bowbliss netted a hat trick in the win, while fellow sophomore teammate Olivia Ivey scored two goals.

Finding the back of the net for the second straight game for Richmond were freshman Kaitlyn Huff and junior Valery Standridge. The pair also scored in regulation against Jack Britt, and Huff’s goal was her team-leading fifth of the season.

Richmond was also without three of its regular contributors for the second straight game, missing senior Tatum Hubbard and sophomore Caroline Whitley to injury, and senior Emily Parsons to illness.

“I think we gave up a few soft goals and we came out flat,” Larsen said. “(Union Pines) scored in the first 15 seconds, and we had a little bit of a hangover from last night with tired legs. That caught us by surprise.

“Missing those girls hurt in terms of playing back-to-back games,” he added. “But we played a lot better in the second half -- it’s like we found our second wind. The biggest thing is we got behind the eight ball and couldn’t recover.”

Union Pines scored four goals in the opening 40 minutes, before adding two more in the second half. Standridge and Huff both hit the twine in the first half.

Ivey scored her first goal of the game 15 seconds after the opening whistle, shooting the ball from the left side of the box over and past Richmond sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Hoffman. The score remained the same for the next 14 minutes, with Hoffman making several saves, including a tip off a corner kick.

Bowbliss notched her first goal of the night in the 16th minute after she beat sophomore defender Avy Lucero down the right sideline. One-on-one with Hoffman, Bowbliss sent a grounder past the keeper.

Just four minutes later, Bowbliss beat Hoffman again after winning the ball at midfield on a clear. She raced into the box and scored on another one-on-one chance.

Standridge ended the scoring run for the Lady Vikings in the 33rd minute when she floated a shot from inside the 18-yard box up and over the hands of a sprawling Olivia Tart in goal.

Both teams would score once more before the halftime buzzer, first by way of junior Alysha Leitschuh in the 38th minute. Her goal was a tight-angled shot from the left side of the field that went over backup goalie Abbey Coward’s right shoulder.

Huff, who has scored in every game except one this season, answered with 27 seconds left. She corralled a loose ball in the middle of the field and lobbed a shot from 25 yards out that hit Tart’s hands and bounced into the net.

Following the intermission, the game’s intensity and physicality picked up for both teams. But it was Bowbliss and Ivey who fed each other on assists to score the final two goals of the night.

Bowbliss’ hat trick goal was a soft grounder to Hoffman, who had returned at the start of the half, that was mis-played and rolled into the net in the 52nd minute. Ivey beat Coward in the 74th minute, sending a cross from Bowbliss into the back side of the goal.

“It’s a different style when we get out of our area and it was a little bit more physical than we’re accustomed to,” Larsen said. “But the official let us play and we lost our cool once or twice and took ourselves out of the game.

“Every game is a learning experience,” he concluded. “We schedule hard non-conference games to get better for conference games. If we can win them, great, but if we can learn something and get better, then we’re moving in the right direction.”

The Lady Raiders (3-2, 2-1 SAC) will return to conference play on Friday when they host Hoke County High School at 7 p.m.

Note: The Richmond junior varsity team won its match against Union Pines 7-0. Richmond (3-0) scored four goals in the first half before adding three more. Sophomores Allyson Leggett and Jayla McDougald each scored twice. Rounding out the goals were freshmen Paxlee Faircloth and Talayeh Covington and sophomore Alena Craddock.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy. Sports guru. Eagle Scout. Motorcycle enthusiast. Pretend golfer. Avid reader. Pennsylvania native. 

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