ROCKINGHAM — As it did in its win at Scotland last month, the Richmond girls’ soccer team got at least one goal from Hanna Millen and Jayana Nicholson in a shutout win against its conference rival.
Millen scored only once in the first meeting but netted two goals Wednesday — knocking in a header inside the eighth minute to start the game and then scoring another, using her feet, inside the 31st minute.
Nearly two minutes after Millen’s second score, sophomore Valery Standridge had a clear shot on goal, but the ball sailed a bit too high and ripped off the top of the goal post. The same thing happened to junior Emily Parsons when she took a shot from the left side of the field in the 28th minute, and to Millen on her third attempt of the night a minute later.
Nicholson would break the 33-minute scoring drought with 16:43 left in the second half, scoring the Lady Raiders’ final goal in a 3-0 victory on their home field.
“I thought the girls played well,” said head coach Bennie Howard. “We just couldn’t seem to finish, which is frustrating not only for them but for me because we had multiple opportunities to put more goals in the back of the net.
“But the bottom line is, we won on Senior Night, and I’ve always said that’s something you’ll remember for a long, long time.”
Millen, Shelby Matheson, Kathleen Pittman and Alannah Yannone were the four seniors presented with gifts before Wednesday night’s match. They have made up a “special little group” that has helped Richmond secure a top-three seed in next week’s conference tournament.
“Hanna, with her speed, and KP, with her silliness, always getting my blood boiling — I think she just does it to see what kind of reaction she’s going to get,” Howard said. “Shelby is quiet and smart, and Alannah is just a sweet girl.
“It’s just nice to have four good seniors like that.”
At halftime, principal Jim Butler took over the microphone to honor Howard’s 30-year coaching career, 24th as the girls’ coach, which will come to an end once the 2018 season wraps up. Howard was presented with a custom art piece — courtesy of Shawn Weigman Designs — and a plaque commemorating his time at Richmond.
“It’s always a humbling experience to be honored,” Howard said. “I don’t mind being in the public eye, but when they’re presenting gifts, you get kind of tongue tied and a little emotional. So I tried to keep my mouth shut — which is hard to do.”
The Lady Raiders (14-4, 10-3 SAC) will finish the regular season at Seventy-First today.
“Hopefully, our legs won’t be too tired,” Howard said. “We’ve got to win that one to still be in the hunt.”
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.