ROCKINGHAM — Two first-half goals from Alex Alvarado and Patrick Hamilton helped the Richmond Senior boys soccer team put another tally in the win column, as the Raiders defeated St. Pauls 3-0 on Wednesday.
“We needed that to get back on the right path,” coach Bennie Howard said. “We came out tonight with some energy.”
After starting the season with three straight wins, Richmond (5-2) lost two of its last three games prior to Wednesday. With more than a week to practice, the Raiders emphasized the importance of getting possession and hitting their targets.
Howard believes it paid off.
“We had some good practices and we started off in the right direction,” Howard added. “It was nice to see everybody get some playing time. Nice to see some people come off the bench and score a goal like Patrick Hamilton — that was a strike.”
Hamilton’s goal came with 13:09 left in the opening half.
Max Diaz almost scored the first goal of the night in the 5th minute, but a save by St. Pauls’ Eric Baltazar spoiled the Raider celebration. Alvarado got one past Baltazar two minutes later, however, giving Richmond an early 1-0 lead.
Alvarado would score his second goal of the night — fourth of the season — early in the second half, putting the Raiders ahead 3-0.
The visiting Bulldogs had a few opportunities to put points on the board, but couldn’t catch a break.
Victor Garcia missed wide right after having Corey Smith, Richmond’s goalkeeper, in a one-on-one situation with 23:23 to go in the first half.
St. Pauls (2-6) had another chance to score when junior goalkeeper Marco Acosta was caught outside of the box in the 60th minute, but Zane Ritter saved the day by sliding in front of the shot.
With 10:25 to go in the game, St. Pauls senior captain Anthony Espinosa was unable to capitalize on a clean look.
“I thought they played better the first time we played them than tonight,” Howard said. “But they had a game last night, so their legs were a little tired. Hopefully that won’t affect us tomorrow night. That’s why I was trying to get a lot of people some playing time.”
Richmond travels to Hope Mills on Thursday to take on South View at 7 p.m.
“It’s going to be a game,” Howard added. “We’re going to have to bring our A-game to continue what we’re doing now.”
JUNIOR VARSITY GRABS WIN
Prior to the varsity match, the Richmond Senior junior varsity team defeated St. Pauls by a score of 3-1. Austin Cowick, Noah Jordan and Kyle Goodwin each socred a goal for the Raiders in their third win of the season.
The JV team will kick things off Thursday at South View at 5:30 p.m.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.