RICHMOND — The Richmond girls soccer team may have graduated two key players, but the Bobcats retain enough depth and experience to make a run at a third straight state title this season.

Tuesday, they dispatched East-West Conference rival Greenville 5-0 with a dominating performance that highlighted the team’s overall skill and bench strength.

Sophomore Amber Loon scored a pair of goals for Richmond (4-0-0) while Emily Leavitt, Kelsea Anair and Noell Acord scored one each. Senior Sadie Gosse dished out three assists. The Bobcats outshot the Lakers (2-1-0) 21-2.

Richmond coach Troy Kendrick expressed some concern in preseason over replacing Danica Hurley, who scored a school record 104 goals in her career, and goalkeeper Lindsy Hoopingarner, also a four-year starter. So far, no problem. The Bobcats have outscored their opponents 23-1 and junior keeper Kelsie Obi has risen to the challenge on those rare occasions she’s been tested.

“I think the team’s different this year because we have to work together more,” Gosse said.

The Bobcats, led by Gosse, controlled the middle of the field, and consequently the ball. They led just 1-0 in the first half on a goal from Leavitt, who lofted a high shot that clipped the crossbar on the way down as it slipped behind Greenville keeper Molly Foley. Foley, who finished with 14 saves, kept the Lakers in the game in the first 40 minutes, robbing Acord on a point blank shot seven minutes in.

The Lakers didn’t get their first shot on goal until late in the half and spent almost the entire game playing defense.

“They outplayed us, they won the middle of the field, they dominated us,” Greenvile coach Chris Fenn said. “They’re just so much more experienced with that number of seniors.”

The Bobcats carry 10 seniors on a roster that includes 27 players, most of whom played Tuesday. The Lakers carried just 14 and wore down in the second half.

“The good thing is they’re not just warm bodies, they’re kids who can play,” Kendrick said. “Two of the goals (Leavitt and Anair) were from kids off the bench.”

Loon scored her goals off passes from Gosse and Taylor Clapp, both on right to left shots from about 15 yards out.

“I’ve played with Sadie a couple of times,” Loon said. “We were on a Clippers team together.”

On the first goal, Loon settled a high pass from Gosse and one-timed a shot to the left corner. Anair, a freshman, made it 3-0 when she knocked in her own rebound. Acord took a Gosse pass out of the air before Loon scored her fifth goal of the season with less than a minute left to play.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.