LAURINBURG — It didn’t matter who Richmond Senior put into the game as goalkeeper because they were going to get peppered with shot after shot.
The Patriots fired 11 shots on goal in the first half en route to 17 in the contest as the regular season Southeastern Conference champions routed the Raiders 7-0 in a tournament semifinal matchup Tuesday afternoon at Scotland’s soccer complex.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half,” Richmond coach Bennie Howard said. “We have to mark-up better than we did in the midfield. We let them go right through us.”
Pinecrest (13-2-2) opened the scoring five minutes into the contest when Jake Harbeck converted a pass from Gerardo Peraza. Six minutes later Hayden Little booted a rebound past Richmond goalkeeper Chris McDonald after he turned back Harbeck’s shot from the right wing.
The Patriots continued their offensive pressure adding another two tallies over the next 10 minutes to extend the lead to 4-0. The Raiders were whistled for a foul inside the penalty box, giving Pinecrest a penalty kick with 11:50 remaining in the opening half.
Pinecrest coach Evan Saleeby called on Garrett Melia, his starting goalkeeper, to take the shot. Melia sent a shot past a diving McDonald to take a five-goal lead into halftime. It was the first of two penalty kick converted into goals, both by Patriot goalkeepers.
“I thought it was Bush League,” Howard said about Saleeby allowing his goalkeepers to take the penalty shots.
Howard played three goalkeepers in the contest. McDonald started before giving way to Logan Deese, who was replaced in the second half by Tyler Dove.
Pinecrest will advance to Thursday’s final against Hoke County. The Bucks defeated Lumberton 3-1 to face the Patriots for the SEC tourney title.
Richmond will open the 4A state playoffs against the No. 2 seed from the CAP-8 conference. Currently, Heritage is second in the CAP-8 standings with a 14-6 overall record and 10-4 mark in league play.
“We are just going to push this game under the bridge and get ready for the state tournament,” Howard said. “Whether it be Heritage or whoever it is when the brackets come out.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.