ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior boys soccer team faces a must-win game against Scotland County tonight, while the volleyball team is looking to breakthrough and pick up its initial conference victory.
In the latest Southeastern Conference soccer standings, the Raiders are currently in fifth place, with the top four finishers earning a trip to the postseason. Pinecrest is atop the SEC with a 4-0 mark heading into its contest today against second place Hoke County (3-0-1).
Lumberton is now in third with a 2-2 record after pulling out a last-minute win Monday against Scotland County. The loss dropped the Fighting Scots to fourth place with a 1-2-1 mark. Purnell Swett is in the conference cellar at 0-4.
A victory against Scotland County tonight would vault Richmond into fourth. A loss would send the team reeling and could force coach Bennie Howard and the Raiders to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
“We have the potential to turn it around. We could if we get it together and play like we can,” Howard said. “If we beat Scotland, beat Hoke, beat Lumberton and Purnell Swett, we could end up being 6-4. That should at least give us third place.”
Howard said he told his players what is in front of them following Tuesday’s practice and hopes it will result in a turnaround. Howard added the task will be more daunting after learning starting midfielder Ryan Collins will be out for the rest of the season after breaking his femur in the 9-0 loss to Pinecrest Monday night.
“It’s not up to me, it’s up to the guys,” Howard said. “We need a break. We haven’t had one all year. We need a ball to bounce the right way for us.”
While Howard and his team know it faces a must-win against Scotland, Richmond volleyball coach Lynsey VanSweden is a bit more reserved as her Raiders head into the second half of the conference schedule.
The Richmond volleyball team is 0-5 in league play and 1-6 overall on the season. The Raiders will battle Anson County in a non-conference match at 6 p.m. today before returning to SEC play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Hoke.
Scotland County continues to prove it is the class of the conference with a 5-0 record. Pinecrest is right behind Scotland with a 4-1 mark, while Purnell Swett is 3-2 and sits in third. The Bucks are fourth at 2-3, with Lumberton in fifth at 1-4. The Pirates’ lone victory came against the Raiders in four sets.
VanSweden has told her team to treat the second pass through their SEC rivals as a chance to get a fresh start and wipe the slate clean.
“We just need to go out and play like we can win every game,” VanSweden said. “We need to think we are 0-0.”
VanSweden hopes the contest with the Bearcats will get her team jump-started.
“We need to get our confidence back, I’m not sure we will until we get a ‘W,’” VanSweden said. “The season is winding down quickly. We aren’t thinking about Scotland or Pinecrest, we are thinking about tomorrow against Anson.
“We need to play well against Anson and then play well against Hoke. We need to focus at the task at hand. And right now that is Anson.”
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