Thursday, 10 October 2019 00:19

Raiders net all 5 PKs, hold off Jack Britt in shootout to stay in third place

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The Raiders celebrate after defeating Jack Britt 5-3 in penalty kicks on Wednesday. The Raiders celebrate after defeating Jack Britt 5-3 in penalty kicks on Wednesday. Michelle Parrish — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Eighty minutes of regulation soccer, plus 10 minutes of overtime, wasn’t enough for the Richmond Senior and Jack Britt soccer teams on Wednesday. 


The pair of Sandhills Athletic Conference foes would play 90 minutes of scoreless soccer before seeing the Raiders complete the regular-season sweep of the Buccaneers in penalty kicks. 

Head coach Chris Larsen’s Raiders would go a perfect 5-for-5 in shootout round, and capitalized on a Jack Britt error to earn the 1-0 (5-3 PK) win. Larsen sent two lefties, sophomore Alex Medina and senior Noah Jordan, and three righties, Luke Hawks, Noah Aiken and Drew Davis to the line to help edge the team from Fayetteville.

“It was a great game between two really good teams,” Larsen said. “I don’t think we could have asked for a more evenly-matched game. We had a few more chances than they did, but we were both physical to the ball and split possession and control.

“Our guys really left it out there and played a full 80 minutes, and we got unlucky when their keeper made some outstanding saves in regulation,” he added. “We’ve been in overtime before and tonight that prior experience let us stay focused the extra 10 minutes and we fortunately got all five of our shots in on PKs.”

With the game scoreless in the 55th minute, Jordan ripped a shot on frame that was stopped by Jack Britt’s Jordan McMillan. Junior Bradford Pittman nearly broke the tie when his left-footer was punched away by a sprawling McMillan in the 65th minute.

Other scoring chances for the Raiders late came from Davis on a 25-yard free kick that was deflected wide, and junior Bryan Stanback sent a ball high and wide through a lane of traffic off the ensuing corner kick following Davis’ attempt. Richmond’s last chance in regulation came when Hawks blasted a shot just inside the 18-yard box that was stopped and the rebound just missed the foot of a charging Aiken.

After a scoreless first five-minute overtime period, senior Justyn Leviner had an opportunity inside the six-yard box, but his redirect was just off the mark and trickled wide right. Junior Raider goalkeeper Jay Ammons, who is in his first year at the varsity level, made a collection of saves late to keep the game knotted at zero, coming off his line to make sliding saves against Ryan Coon, Joseph Knoel and Amin Hasan.

“I was trying to give all of my effort tonight to keep the ball out of the net,” Ammons said after his first experience with a shootout. “My defense came in big tonight and cleared a lot of balls to help me out. I made a couple of runs to make saves, and my team really helped me make my decisions.”

Following the two overtime periods, Richmond was awarded the first kick. Medina stepped in to give Richmond a 1-0 lead when he blasted his shot to the right side of the net. Jack Britt’s Justin Benson beat Ammons to tie it, and Hawks followed up with a strong grounder to the left post to give the home team a 2-1 advantage.

Ammons was able to get his hands on Jay-Anthony Service’s shot in the second round, but it, too, trickled into the net. Aiken gave the Raiders the lead again when he made a similar shot to Hawks’, beating McMillan to the lower left corner.

The difference maker came on Jack Britt’s third shot when Ryan Hebl lifted his shot high over the crossbar. Jordan came in and delivered a left-footed blast to the lower left corner, but was answered by Knoel putting one past Ammons.

With the Raiders leading 4-3, Davis stepped to the line. The senior center back toed a ball that went middle to the right side and past McMillan, sparking a celebration from the Raider bench.

“Larsen told me to pick a side, so I just walked up knowing I was going to commit to the middle right side,” Davis explained. “And that’s what I did. But if it wasn’t for my teammates, I wouldn’t have been in that situation.

CLICK HERE TO SEE DAVIS’ GAME-WINNING PENALTY KICK

“Tonight is a very big win,” he added. “Jack Britt is a quality team, and so are we. We did a good job tonight to stay in third place, which could help us with the playoffs.”

The shootout victory saw Richmond (6-8-2, 6-4 SAC) stay locked into the No. 3 spot in the conference standings, now one full game ahead of Jack Britt (6-6, 5-4 SAC) and Lumberton High School (10-7, 5-4 SAC).

“I’m really happy for the guys,” Larsen said. “It’s a big win and hopefully will be a big confidence booster for us as we continue to try and fight our way back up in the standings. 

“I chose those five guys tonight because in practice they’re the most consistent ones who get the ball on frame,” he closed. “I used two lefties and three righties to not let their keeper get too accustomed to the same approach. I think that helped us out and get the win.”

Richmond will take the rest of the week off before two SAC matches next week against conference leader Hoke County High School (14-2, 9-0 SAC) and Lumberton. The Raiders will host the Bucks Monday at 7 p.m. 

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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