ROCKINGHAM — Wednesday’s match ended much differently, and much earlier, than any other game the Richmond girls soccer team has played so far this season.
The Lady Raiders (3-1, 1-1 SAC) had no answer for an aggressive-from-the-start Pinecrest team that netted two goals in the first eight minutes of play and then used that momentum to grab a 9-0 win by mercy rule on the road. Caitlin Stevens’ score with just under 10 minutes left on the clock was the goal that brought the game to a close.
“When you play a quality team, you’ve got to come out aggressive. You cannot be passive, and we were passive,” head coach Bennie Howard said. “We gave up a couple of goals and our heads dropped, the air was let out.”
Pinecrest (3-0-2, 1-0 SAC) got its first goal of the night courtesy of sophomore Lauren Landry and senior Chloe Brown, who found themselves in a two-on-one situation with Richmond sophomore goalie Allexis Swiney in the third minute. Landry got Swiney to commit just enough before dumping the ball off to Brown, who poked it into the back of the net.
A little more than five minutes later, sophomore Kate Casey scored on a free kick from the left corner — placing the ball just above the outstretched hands of Swiney and giving the Lady Patriots a 2-0 lead at the 32:23 mark.
Swiney would redeem herself with two impressive saves within a minute of one another and then deflect another shot on goal in the 20th minute to keep the away team off the scoreboard for the time being. Pinecrest, however, netted another goal six minutes later and headed into the half with a 3-0 advantage.
Things didn’t get any better in the second half.
Once Pinecrest senior Molly Niewald scored back-to-back goals and then junior Olivia Longfellow put one in the bottom-right side of the net to give the away team a 6-0 lead, Howard decided to clear the bench and rest his starters’ legs since the team has another game to play Thursday night.
Longfellow’s score, which happened in the 61st minute, was followed by goals from junior Danielle Richmond (13:29), senior Natalie Sabiston (10:26) and Stevens (9:45).
Wednesday’s loss was the Lady Raiders’ first of the season and the first time they had been beaten by the mercy rule since their loss to Grimsley in the first round of the 2016 state playoffs.
“Hats off to Pinecrest, they’re a quality team,” Howard said. “We’ll regroup at practice and put out a better product on the field than we did tonight, that’s for sure.”
The Lady Raiders will travel to Pine Forest for a non-conference matchup on Thursday.
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.