ROCKINGHAM — Having an inexperienced team comes with its shares of ups and downs.
Richmond Senior girls soccer coach Bennie Howard just didn’t expect to experience them in the same game.
Richmond scored the game’s first two goals before Forest Hills stormed back to force a 2-all tie Wednesday night at Raider Stadium.
“We’ve got to hold on when we get up by two,” Howard said. “I’m proud of the way they we played, we showed improvement from the first game.”
In the season opener against the Yellow Jackets, the Raiders were held scoreless and Howard was hoping to avenge that 1-0 defeat.
In the rematch, Cherie Ellerbe scored in the game’s 24th minute to notch Richmond’s first goal of the season. Ellerbe was able to get behind the Forest Hills defense and sent a shot past Renelyn Adrales Castillo.
Holli Hayes closed out the scoring for the Raiders 14 minutes into the second half when she scored off a rebound on a shot by Cassie McFayden that Castillo initially turned away. Hayes swooped in and sent the ball into the goal after it was sitting just inches off the goal line.
Then Forest Hills (1-0-1) mounted its comeback behind the foot of Cynthia Sierra. Sierra scored the game’s only goal in the first match and this time she found the net twice.
Moments after Hayes’ goal, Sierra broke free down the right side before making her way to the center of the field and ripping a shot past Meredeth McLean.
Just over 12 minutes later, Sierra netted the tying goal after getting to a loose ball behind Richmond’s defense.
“We have speed on the outside and size in middle,” Howard said. “We have been working on passing the ball back to our goalie and letting her clear it. I’m not sure it would have made a difference there.”
Both teams attempted to take the lead in the final 10 minutes of play. Ellerbe recorded two chances, the first went just wide of the net and the second was sent wide on a save by Castillo. With just under two minutes remaining Sierra sent a shot looking for her third goal of the contest, but McLean notched the save.
“We had some opportunities, but we just missed on them,” Howard said. “We were able to put two in the back of the net.”
Richmond (0-1-1) is scheduled to return to action 7 p.m. Friday against Whiteville.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.