ROCKINGHAM — A pair of hat tricks, courtesy of juniors Jessi Graham and Morgan Hooks, highlighted the Richmond girls soccer team’s dominant 10-2 win over conference foe Seventy-First on Thursday.
Graham and Hooks scored the game’s first two goals in the opening four minutes of play and Richmond never looked back. Hooks netted her second score of the night a few minutes later and then witnessed junior Chloe Wiggins and senior Hanna Millen follow with makes of their own.
And with not even 15 minutes gone off the game clock, the Lady Raiders had a 5-0 lead — which allowed head coach Bennie Howard to “mix it up” and substitute a number of players who may not get as much playing time on a regular basis.
“It’s always good to get other players in,” he said. “They spend their time in practice just like everybody else, but you can start 11 at one time. I think everybody was happy.”
No more goals were scored in the first half by either team, but Graham got back to business in the 43rd minute with her second goal. She would complete her hat trick moments later to give Richmond a 7-0 advantage.
Senior Kathleen Pittman added another score for the home team before Seventy-First (0-8, 0-6 SAC) finally put an end to its scoring drought by netting its first goal in the loss. Sophomore Maddisyn Diggs, a midfielder, pushed Richmond ahead 9-1 with the first goal of her varsity career.
Hooks would wrap up her hat trick with less than 10 minutes to go, putting a stamp on the game’s final score. Graham and Wiggins both had an assist in the home victory.
“It was a good win,” Howard added.
Thursday’s match was originally set for Wednesday but was pushed back a day after Lee County — who was scheduled to visit Richmond on Thursday — had to cancel the meeting due to it having to make up a conference game of its own.
Howard agreed that only having to play two games was better than the three-game home stand his team had planned for at the top of the week, as the Lady Raiders hope to get some rest heading into next week.
“I’m such a nice guy I gave them Friday off so they can get rested for this last little push right before Easter Break,” he added.
Richmond (7-2, 4-2 SAC) will visit Scotland and Purnell Swett next Monday and Wednesday, respectively.
“Everybody has to play unselfish ball and as a unit,” Howard said of what he wants to see in the coming weeks. “The ultimate goal is to win as many as, and go as far as, we can and see what happens at the end … It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you finish.”
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.