ROCKINGHAM — After the opening 13 minutes, it appeared as if Hoke County was going to pull away from Richmond Senior for an easy Southeastern Conference victory.
The Bucks scored two goals in less than 90 seconds, before the momentum slowly shifted.
The Raiders responded with two tallies of their own, both by Cherie Ellerbe, in the final 16 minutes of the first half to force a 2-all tie Wednesday night.
“We probably dominated play for 90 minutes tonight,” Richmond coach Bennie Howard said. “This is one of the those games were you look back and don’t want to tie because you are equal or better than the other team.”
Hoke’s Alayna Lewis opened the scoring with a blast over the left shoulder of Richmond goalkeeper Brittni Faurot at the 28:30 mark of the first half. Laura Deihl added the Bucks’ second goal 83 seconds later.
“The girls worked out their missed assignments after that,” Howard said.
Then Ellerbe took over for the Raiders (3-2-1, 0-1-1). Ellerbe notched her first goal of the contest on a pass from Alexie Coble with just under 17 minutes remaining in the first half. Ellerbe scored her second of the night on a rebound. Her first shot was blocked by a Hoke defender, then fired her second attempt past a diving Hailey Johnson.
Each team had opportunities to take the lead in the second half, but neither could score.
Hoke’s best chance came with seven minutes remaining on a counterattack as Amanda Priest’s shot went wide of the goal. Moments later, Coble had an opportunity to give Richmond the lead, but like Priest, her shot sailed wide of the mark.
“We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net at the end,” Howard said. “Their keeper did make some good saves.”
Hoke is now 1-3-1 overall and 0-1-1 in conference action.
Richmond will return to action 7 p.m. Monday when it travels to Pembroke to face SEC rival Purnell Swett.
In the junior varsity contest, Richmond blanked Hoke 4-0 as Kalaysia Fisher scored three goals and Holli Hayes added one.
Raiders sweep Rams
PEMBROKE — The Richmond Senior boys tennis team didn’t lose a set en route to an 8-0 Southeastern Conference victory over Purnell Swett Wednesday afternoon.
Colt Auman defeated Dylan Brooks in the No. 1 singles contest, 6-1, 6-1. Andrew Balzer downed Ranier Harding, 6-0, 6-1, and Brandon Ingram stopped Joshua Oxendine, 6-2, 6-0. John Pittman knocked off Kendrick Locklear, 6-1, 6-2, and Gary Boyette rolled past Joshua Rogers, 6-1, 6-1. Logan Deese beat James Hunt, 6-2, 6-0.
In doubles, Balzer and Ingram blanked Harding and Oxendine, 8-0, and Auman and Pittman shut out Brooks and Locklear, 8-0.
Richmond (3-1, 2-0) will return to action 4 p.m. today when it travels to face SEC foe Lumberton.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.