Monday, 07 October 2019 23:24

Raiders' loss to Pinecrest to serve as 'driving force' behind strong close to season

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Goalkeeper Jaden Wilson and Evan Baxley (11) clear a ball away from Pinecrest's Johnny Grgurevic during Monday's match. Goalkeeper Jaden Wilson and Evan Baxley (11) clear a ball away from Pinecrest's Johnny Grgurevic during Monday's match. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

SOUTHERN PINES — The Richmond Senior High School boys’ soccer team knew heading into Pinecrest High School Monday that it would have to play its best soccer of the season to defeat the Patriots.

Despite a solid effort, the Raiders dropped the Sandhills Athletic Conference match 5-0, and saw their four-game SAC winning streak come to an end. It was also the seventh-straight match the Raiders have lost to the Patriots.

Richmond also fell by the same score on its home pitch to Pinecrest on Sept. 9.

Pinecrest would use three first-half goals to take the lead, and added two more insurance goals in the closing 40 minutes. Notching goals in the 5th, 15th and 25th minutes against goalkeeper Jay Ammons were Jair Ballesteros, William Smith and Nick Vences.

The slow start defensively for the Raiders is what head coach Chris Larsen noted as the turning point in not being able to bounce back.

“They scored early when we couldn’t mark up and he put a nice header in,” Larsen explained. “And we just dug ourselves a hole early and never really got out. We knew it was going to be a battle and the guys kept after it, but we just couldn’t withstand them when they went up three goals in the first half.”

Although they didn’t find the back of the next, just the third time they’ve been shutout this season, the Raiders had some second-half opportunities to break the zero on the score sheet. 

Senior Justyn Leviner had back-to-back shots inside the box that were stopped in the 45th minute, and senior Blaise Steadman laced a shot just wide right of the back post a couple minutes later.

Junior Cale Luckey also worked his way into the box a handful of times to attempt a shot on net, and sophomore Alex Medina banged a ball off the crossbar for Richmond’s last scoring chance.

The Patriots outshot Richmond 12-6 in the game, as Vences added his second goal of the night in the 48th minute. Capping the scoring was Ryan Stein, who beat goalkeeper Jaden Wilson off a corner kick in  the 63rd minute.

“We had some opportunities to score tonight, but the back of the net just wasn’t there,” Larsen said. “Pinecrest’s pace of play and decision making were a little bit faster than ours, which put us on our heels from the get-go.

“I told the guys after the game we need to use tonight as our driving force to want to get to playing that level of soccer,” he closed. “Now we’ll focus back in and try to start a new streak when we play Jack Britt.”


The Raiders (5-8-2, 5-4 SAC) slipped to fifth place and will close their two-match week with the series finale at home against third-place Jack Britt High School (5-5, 4-3 SAC) on Wednesday. Kickoff will get underway at 7 p.m.


Kyle Pillar

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

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