CAMERON — In Bennie Howard’s last first game, the Richmond girls soccer team did something that it hadn’t been able to do since its series with Union Pines began: come away with a win.
Jessi Graham, Avy Lucero and Jayana Nicholson all scored a goal in the second half and helped Howard kick off his 24th and final season as the Lady Raiders’ head coach with a 4-1 victory on the road.
“Going into this (game), I wanted it to be a memorable one. They did a great job tonight of getting the win and getting the season started off on the right foot,” Howard said.
Union Pines was able to score the game’s first goal with about 18 minutes left in the first half, but knocked the ball into its own net nearly eight minutes later following a corner from Richmond sophomore Emily Buie — which tied the game 1-1.
No more goals were scored in the last 10 minutes and the teams went into halftime locked in a tie.
Howard says assistant coach Chris Larsen, who coaches the junior varsity team that won its game 4-0, made an adjustment on defense during the break that “shut their midfield down (in the second half) to a certain degree.” The Lady Vikings had been causing problems for Richmond by running a “little diamond” with their midfielders in the first 40 minutes of play.
Lucero, a sophomore, put the Lady Raiders ahead with a made penalty kick following a handball in the box. Graham, a junior, received a corner about five minutes later and scored her only goal in order to give her team a 3-1 advantage. Nicholson, a junior, fought off pressure from two of Union Pines’ center backs and placed one in the far corner of the net for the last score of the night.
“Everyone got to play tonight,” Howard said. “We probably had three times the number of chances to score than they did and we were on point by putting the balls in the back of the net.”
Richmond (1-0) will host Jay M. Robinson in its home opener on Friday.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.