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Monday, 09 September 2019 23:30

Raiders suffer SAC-opening loss to Pinecrest; ready to reset Wednesday

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Richmond's Noah Aiken (12) clears the ball away from Pinecrest's Nick Vences (18) during the first half of Monday's match. Richmond's Noah Aiken (12) clears the ball away from Pinecrest's Nick Vences (18) during the first half of Monday's match. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School boys’ soccer team opened Sandhills Athletic Conference play Monday and is still searching for its first win of the 2019 campaign.

Second-year head coach Chris Larsen and the Raiders played host to reigning SAC champion Pinecrest High School, but came up on the wrong end of a 5-0 score. The Patriots used four first-half goals to hand Richmond its fourth-straight loss to start the season.

The loss to their Moore County rivals was the sixth-straight the Raiders have suffered to the Patriots dating back to Aug. 30, 2017. It also was Richmond’s second shoutout loss in four matches this fall.

“The biggest thing is we learned tonight is that we’re not outmatched, it’s just that when we make mistakes, other teams are able to capitalize on them,” Larsen said. “Two of their goals came when we couldn’t clear the ball out of our end. 

“When we don’t execute, turn the ball over and force ourselves to scramble, good teams like Pinecrest are going to take advantage,” he added. “One positive thing about tonight was that I was able to get all the guys some playing time, which is important in a week when we have three games.”

The Patriots would score their first goal of the night thanks to a breakaway by junior Johnny Grgurevic in the 10th minute. His spurt down the right sideline saw a one-on-one with junior goalkeeper Jay Ammons, and he placed the ball to the far post on a rolling shot.

One of the goals Larsen mentioned that came as a result of failing to clear the ball came in the 18th minute. Several deflections in front of Ammons saw Pinecrest’s senior Mauricio Martinez collect the ball inside the box and chip it top shelf to give the visiting team a 2-0 lead.

The final two goals in the first half for the Patriots came just 48 seconds apart. Following a hand ball in Richmond’s box, senior Judas Villegas booted a penalty kick to Ammons’ left in the 29th minute. Junior Nick Vences took advantage of another failed clear attempt by Richmond less than a minute later and netted the final goal of the half.

Richmond’s junior Bradford Pittman had near goal in the 32nd minute, one of Richmond’s handful of scoring chances on the night. His shot trickled just right of the goal. Sophomore Alex Medina followed with a shot on frame with a direct kick in the 38th minute, but saw his attempt stopped by Pinecrest’s keeper.

“I told the guys at halftime that I saw some good things from everyone, especially they guys who haven’t played much this year,” Larsen commented. “It showed me they’ve been paying attention at practice and following along during games. 

“It’s important that they’re taking in what we’re doing and it’s just a matter of cleaning up our own mistakes,” he continued. “Right now, we’re our own worst enemy. We need to take care of ourselves so we can be competitive the rest of the year.”

Pinecrest (5-0-1, 2-0 SAC) would add its fifth tally of the night in the 51st minute, seeing senior Jair Ballesteros rip a shot from the top of the 18-yard box on a rush. 

The Raiders (0-4, 0-1 SAC) picked up their offensive attack in the second half, starting with Drew Davis putting a direct kick on frame from 60 yards out. Fellow senior Noah Jordan notched a shot on frame in the 45th minute, and Medina just missed on another direct kick from 25 yards out in the 58th minute.

“The way our schedule was set up was very difficult up front,” Larsen explained. “We’ve played some tougher teams, and I’m not going to say it’s going to get easier. But I think we’ll be a little bit more evenly matched in the games coming up.

“I’m hoping once we get that first victory, we’ll get the ball rolling,” he closed. “I know we’ve started 0-4, but I told the guys it’s very possible we can get on a winning streak and roll off five, six or seven wins in a row.”

Richmond will look to reset Wednesday when it travels to SAC opponent Jack Britt High School (2-1, 1-0 SAC). The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start time.

JV Raiders suffer first loss of season

In junior varsity action, the Raiders also fell to Pinecrest on Monday. The Patriots scored three goals in each half to win 6-0. Head coach Tad Hamilton’s team is now 2-1-1 on the season. The JV Raiders will also travel to Jack Britt on Wednesday and begin play at 5:15 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

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

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