ROCKINGHAM — Athletes can get a feeling that when everything comes together in unison, the result will be memorable.
Lumberton’s Jace Ward joined that club Wednesday night.
With the contest tied and just 1:24 left in regulation, Ward sent a free kick into the net just under the crossbar and out of the reach of Richmond goalkeeper Joseph Griffith for the game-winning goal.
Ward’s tally lifted the Pirates to a 3-2 Southeastern Conference victory over the Raiders at Raider Stadium.
“I knew it after it left my foot,” Ward said. “I knew where the goalie was positioned and I knew it was going to go in after it left my foot. I was aiming for the upper right 90.”
Richmond coach Bennie Howard didn’t believe Griffith get the chance to make the save until it was too late.
“It was a heck of a shot,” Howard said. “Joseph evidently didn’t see it.”
Howard’s counterpart Lumberton coach Kenny Simmons added it was perfect placement from Ward.
“The ball was knuckling, like a Phil Niekro knuckleball,” Simmons said. “It was right under the upper right 90.”
Ward’s goal ended a back-and-forth contest between the two teams in the final 40 minutes of play.
Lumberton led 2-1 at halftime, but Richmond’s Juan Onesto tied the game in the opening moments of the second half off a feed from Johhny Juarez.
“There was no midfield in the second half,” Simmons said. “It was wide open, both teams running at each other.”
The Raiders had two opportunities to take the lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game, but was turned away by Christian Valladarez. Simmons credited Valladarez for keeping the Pirates in the game.
“Our keep made a couple of spectacular saves,” Simmons said. “He made one of a spectacular bicycle kick. I don’t know how he got it.”
Howard felt it was more of the same for his team this year — missed chances.
“The guys played hard, the only thing that was missing was the ‘W,’” Howard said. “But things are starting to come together.”
Richmond (1-4-1, 1-2) will return to action 7 p.m. Monday at SEC leader Pinecrest.
In the junior varsity contest, Richmond held on for a 3-2 win. Manuel Zapata scored two goals for the Raiders and Jory Smith netted the other. Jamie Collazo recorded both goals for the Pirates.
Raiders fall to Warriors in 4
ROCKINGHAM — West Montgomery dropped the first set with Richmond Senior before storming back to win the next three to sweep the season series between the two schools.
The Warriors won the match 15-25, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-23 Wednesday night at Raider Gymnasium. Earlier this season, West Montgomery downed Richmond in five sets.
“We were really on the first game,” Richmond coach Shellie Wimpey said. “Everything comes back to consistency.”
The loss was the fourth straight for the Raiders and the sixth in seven contests to drop to 2-9 on the season.
Richmond will close out the first leg of Southeastern Conference play by visiting Scotland at 6 p.m. today.
South View blanks Richmond
HOPE MILLS — Coming off its first victories of the season against Hoke County, Richmond Senior was unable to maintain the momentum as South View posted a 9-0 win Wednesday afternoon.
McKenzie Ransom took four games off her opponent in the No. 2 singles match and Kristen Morrison won three in her contest at No. 5.
South View shut out Richmond in all three of the doubles matches.
The Raiders will return to action 4 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to Southeastern Conference rival Purnell Swett.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.