ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond girls soccer team survived a “chippy” matchup Wednesday evening, scoring a goal in each half in order to escape with a 2-1 win over Jack Britt at on its home field.
Head coach Bennie Howard joked that he almost lost his voice and should’ve been thrown out of the game “about 10 minutes in” due to the amount of yelling he was doing from the sideline. It was a physical game that, Howard believes, officials lost control of early on — which resulted in both teams receiving multiple cards throughout the night.
“Had he (the head official) got it under control in the first half, maybe a card or two then, I don’t think we would’ve had the cards like we did in the second half,” Howard said. “It got chippy, especially after we scored the second goal.”
Richmond (10-3, 7-3 SAC) got on the scoreboard first after junior Chloe Wiggins was fouled inside the box in the 37th minute. Sophomore Avy Lucero lined up in front of the goal for a penalty kick and zipped the ball into the bottom left corner of the net in order to give the home team a 1-0 lead with 3:01 left in the first half.
It didn’t take Jack Britt (8-4, 8-2 SAC) too long to answer, as the Lady Buccaneers got an opportunity at a penalty kick of their own less than two minutes later — which they converted, tying the game at 1-1.
“I told the girls that all the pressure was on Jack Britt because they’re in second place (in the conference). Now, instead of being a (full) game ahead of us, they’re only half a game,” Howard said. “And they’ve still got to play Pinecrest.”
Wiggins had a couple of looks at the goal in the second half that could’ve broke the tie in favor of the Lady Raiders, but both of her shots from the right side of the field sailed just a little bit over the goal post. Her second shot attempt was set up by junior Morgan Hooks, who had made a few crowd-pleasing dribble moves before sending the ball through.
Nearly five minutes later, it would be Hooks who scored the game-winning goal. She fought through the defense following a free kick from Lucero, gained control of the ball and punched it into the back of the net in with 17:11 left in the game.
Jack Britt threatened to tie the game again in the 75th minute, but sophomore goalie Allexis Swiney deflected the free kick in order to preserve the win.
“The first time we played them, they shut us down on the outside. So yesterday at practice, we worked on diagonal balls — (getting the ball) from one point to that point,” Howard said as he directing his attention to the corner. “That’s what we did and it worked all night long. It made me look like I knew what I was talking about.”
Richmond, currently the No. 3 seed in the SAC standings, will take a break from conference play and host Central Academy of Technology and Arts on Friday at 6 p.m.
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.