Friday, 12 April 2019 22:19

Buck's first career goal caps Lady Raiders' 4-0 win over Lumberton

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Freshman Ellie Buck (19) celebrates with teammates following her first career varsity goal. Freshman Ellie Buck (19) celebrates with teammates following her first career varsity goal. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Momentum carried over from Thursday’s game is what Richmond Senior High School head soccer coach Chris Larsen noted as the difference maker in Friday’s soggy contest against Lumberton High School.

The second-place Lady Raiders hosted the Lady Pirates in a Sandhills Athletic Conference game that saw Richmond net four first-half goals to seal a 4-0 win.

Senior forward Jessi Graham kept her scoring foot hot, netting two goals a night after scoring one against Hoke County. Fellow senior midfielder Chloe Wiggins also scored for the second straight game, while freshman forward Ellie Buck recorded her first varsity score.

Sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Hoffman and senior keeper Abbey Coward played the first and second half, respectively, to combine for the shutout. It marked the Lady Raiders’ fifth shutout of the spring in 14 games.

“The girls carried over the momentum from the second half of last night’s game,” Larsen said following the win. “Being able to play in back-to-back nights and coming out with that focus allowed us to put the ball in the back of the net early.

“We moved the ball around really well and maintained possession, which allowed us to take several quality shots,” he added.

Graham opened the game’s scoring with her eighth goal of the season in the eighth minute. Junior teammate Carley Lambeth took a shot on frame that was deflected to Graham in the box, who booted it past goalkeeper Naw Lay from 10 yards out.

Just six minutes later in the 14th minute, Graham scored again, this time on an assist from senior Morgan Hooks. After winning possession near midfield, Hooks laced a pass through traffic to Graham, who turned and put it past Lay to make it 2-0.

That served as Graham’s ninth goal of the season, which put her ahead of freshman teammate Kaitlyn Huff for the team lead.

“Jessi has scored three times in the last two games, and she’s goal hungry,” Larsen said. “She’s enjoying what that feels that and it’s a good feeling for her to have.”

Wiggins would be the next Lady Raider to find the back of the net, starting a run in front of the Richmond bench. She cut inside from the right sideline and weaved her way around several defenders and sent a 20-yard laser into the far corner of the net to Lay’s right.

Her goal in the 28th minute was her seventh of the campaign, which is second on the team.

Buck, who was one of four players moved up from junior varsity last month after a string of injuries, was rewarded with her first career goal in the 34th minute.

A bouncing ball inside the 18-yard box was corralled by Buck along the right side, and she flipped a shot past a defender and over Lay’s head for the final score.

Both teams would play a scoreless second half of soccer, but Larsen used the four-goal advantage to work on improving his team’s quality of play.

“In the second half, I was more focused on getting the girls some more playing experience than quote unquote ‘scoring,’” Larsen explained. “But we still had several chances -- Jayla (McDougald) had two or three opportunities and Kaitlyn hit the keeper in the box.

“The success we had in the second half were things that don’t show up on the scoreboard,” he added. “It was another quality win and I’m glad everyone got to play. We also were able to limit the risk of injury on such a wet field.”

The Lady Raiders (12-3, 10-2 SAC) will return to the pitch Monday when they welcome in non-conference Porter Ridge High School (9-5). In last season’s first round of the playoffs, Porter Ridge upset Richmond 3-2.

Larsen closed by saying he hopes his team “doesn’t forget” that meeting, and noted Porter Ridge’s “record doesn’t indicate the team they’re going to be.” Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

JV Lady Raiders also blank Lady Pirates

In junior varsity action prior to the varsity game, Tad Hamilton’s team rolled to a 4-0 victory. Sophomore Alma Lopez scored two goals, and Richmond used goals from freshman Paxlee Faircloth and sophomore Shelly Hoffman to improve to 10-1 overall and 8-1 against SAC opponents. It was the team’s 10th shutout.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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