Thursday, 24 October 2019 00:49

Jordan, Hayden lead Raiders in senior night shut out win over Scotland

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Senior Noah Jordan (16) watches as his second goal of the night enters the net in the second half of Richmond's senior night win over Scotland. Senior Noah Jordan (16) watches as his second goal of the night enters the net in the second half of Richmond's senior night win over Scotland. Michelle Parrish — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — It may have taken until the 46th minute of Wednesday’s regular-season finale to knot the eventual game-winning goal, but Richmond Senior High School’s 13 seniors walked off the pitch with a senior night victory.


Wrapping up their final match ahead of the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament and a hopeful North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoff berth, the Raiders welcomed in Scotland High School. 

Richmond would score four second-half goals, three coming from seniors, to etch a 4-0 shutout win.

Ahead of kickoff, the team’s seniors were recognized in front of the largest crowd of the season, and were escorted by family members onto the field. This year’s senior class made up exactly half of the roster. Those honored were: Omar AlDreek, Evan Baxley, Cole Deane, Drew Davis, Luke Hawks, Lee Hayden, Noah Jordan, Justyn and Kevyn Leviner, Michael McLaurin, Joey Nicholson, Chandler Sinclair and Blaise Steadman. 

Seniors standing, left to right: AlDreek, Davis, Sinclair, Jordan, Hayden, Hawks, McLaurin, Deane, Baxley, Steadman and Nicholson. Kneeling: Kevyn and Justin Leviner.

Head coach Chris Larsen has only been at the helm of the varsity program the past two seasons, but he’s watched nearly every one of the 13 seniors make his respective journey through the Richmond soccer program as the junior varsity coach prior to taking over in 2018.

“Most of the seniors have been starters the majority of the year, which is something they’ve worked on their whole lives up until this point,” Larsen said of his seniors. “I’ve tried to let all of them play as much as possible this season because they’ve earned their spots to be here.

“I’m happy we were able to come out tonight when we were celebrating them and pick up the victory,” he added. “They’re a great group of guys and they’ve been fun to coach the past couple of years.”

Larsen would see two of his seniors account for three of the Raiders’ goals, with Jordan netting a game-high two scores, just 2:02 apart in the second half. The other goal was a late insurance knock, coming off the foot of Hayden in the final two minutes of the game.

The opening goal was scored by junior Hector Castro in the 46th minute, on an assist from Hayden inside the box. Hawks started the scoring play when he sent the ball from the near corner to Hayden, who turned and found Castro from 10 yards out.

In the first half, both teams went scoreless, but the Raiders (9-9-2, 9-5 SAC) outshot the Fighting Scots (3-15-1, 1-13 SAC) 9-0. The win also completed the regular-season series sweep of Scotland, and was Richmond’s 15th straight victory over the team from Laurinburg dating back to Oct. 22, 2012.

“The first half was the story of our season where we were all around the net, but couldn’t put it in,” Larsen grinned. “We hit the left post, the right post, the crossbar and the keeper. But I told them at halftime that once we got the first one and broke the ice, others would fall, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Jordan extended Richmond’s lead to two goals in the 57th minute, sending a beeline header 10 yards between the back post and Scotland’s goalkeeper Blake Wood. He was assisted by Steadman, who laid in a nice ball off a corner kick. 

Just over two minutes later, Jordan found twine again, this one a laser from the top of the 18-yard box that sailed into the upper left ninety. Deane was credited with the assist, and it was Jordan’s third goal in two games against Scotland this season.

“It was a good win tonight, and it’s really not about the goals,” Jordan said. “To me, it was about the team picking up the win. We played a lot better in every aspect of the game tonight and putting up four goals on senior night gives us momentum going into the conference tournament.

“Blaise and I always talk about his set pieces, and his corner kicks are godly,” he added of his header. “We made eye contact and he hit it near the back post and I was just in the right spot to put it in. Cole played a nice all in on my second goal, and I managed to use my left foot to put in the net.”

Deane nearly had a goal himself in the 63rd minute, charging into the box on a rush but saw Wood swipe the ball away at the last second. Although he didn’t score, his assist on Jordan’s goal and the team’s win was good enough on senior night.

“We were all hyped up because we had such a huge home crowd tonight to honor all the seniors,” Deane explained. “All of us wanted to play hard and the crowd helped us out a lot.

“Knowing Scotland is one of our rivals in a lot of sports, it was important to beat them tonight to end the regular season,” he added. “We handled the game the way were supposed to.”

With the clock winding down and the Raiders up by three goals, Hayden took advantage of a Scotland defensive miscue in the 78th minute. A bouncing ball squirted through box and through the hands of Wood, finding Hayden along the far post. He took a touch and ripped it on frame from 10 yards out into an empty goal past a sprawling Wood. It was his second goal against Scotland in two matches.

“It’s cool that we had Noah and Lee score on senior night,” Larsen said. “It doesn’t matter who scores in games, as long as we’re doing it, but I’m happy for them. That’s the biggest thing to me -- the guys aren’t selfish. They’re willing to pass the ball to one another and help each other score.”

Defensively, the Raiders’ back row and junior goalkeeper Jay Ammons “did a really good job” limiting Scotland’s scoring chances. Larsen credited the five seniors who have played heavy minutes in the back, noting they’re among the “most experienced players on the team” and give the Raiders a chance to win every night.

Richmond and the rest of the SAC will get a short break before starting the SAC tournament on Monday. The Raiders secured the No. 3 spot in the conference standings and will tentatively host No. 6 Purnell Swett High School on Monday. 

Kyle Pillar

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

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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