RICHMOND — As their 6.2 goals-per-game average during the regular season would indicate, the Richmond girls soccer team tend to find its rhythm once they score their first goal.

The top-seeded Bobcats needed a little time to find the back of the net in Friday’s Class D South semifinal against No. 4 Searsport, but once they did they had enough rhythm to give the Vikings the blues.

Meranda Martin’s goal got Richmond on the board with 1:22 left in the first half, then the Bobcats dominated the second half and piled on three more goals in a 4-0 victory.

Richmond (14-1-0) will be gunning for its sixth consecutive regional championship when it hosts No. 2 Rangeley (9-3) in the final on Wednesday.

Kelsea Anair tallied two goals and an assist for the Bobcats, while Autumn Acord chipped in with a goal and an assist.

“We definitely didn’t start out as quickly as we thought we could have or should have,” Anair said. “But once we get our first goal, we’re kind of on a roll from there and there’s no stopping us.”

The two goals give Anair 102 for her career, two away from tying the school record by Danica Hurley. She’d have been closer if Searsport sophomore goalie Brooklynn Alberts (15 saves) hadn’t made a terrific diving save to her right to deny her on a penalty kick with 23:13 left in the first half.

“Brooklynn has improved dramatically,” Searsport coach R.J. Robertson said. “Our goalie graduated and we had no goalie. She was a middle school goalie and very raw, but she wanted to be the goalie. She’s 5-foot-4 on a good day.”

Alberts took some punishment on Anair’s first goal. She rushed out of the net to challenge Acord on a Richmond counter and took a shot off the face, crumbling to the ground. Acord appeared to tip the loose ball again and Anair followed it into a wide open net to make it 2-0 6:37 into the second half.

Alberts left the game briefly, replaced by Hannah Nadeau, but returned with about 28 minutes left.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Bobcats had the wind at their back and dominated possession for the second half.

“(The key was) playing the feet, keeping your head up the entire game, always knowing where you’ve got to be,” freshman midfielder Caitlin Kendrick said.

“They always play us pretty tough because they’ve got a bunch of fast players and they keep their heads up, too,” she added.

The Bobcats out-shot the Vikings 20-7, but Searsport (11-5-0) nearly cut the lead in half when the ball took a big bounce after Richmond goalie Sydney Tilton (seven saves) knocked down a Melinda Ogden shot. The ball got behind the sophomore keeper, who reacted quickly enough to step back and bat it away before it reached the goal line.

Anair gave Richmond more breathing room by heading in a corner kick from younger sister Destiny Anair with 12:49 to go. She had yet another goal taken away by an unfriendly post later in the half, but she set up Acord for her goal with 22 seconds remaining. That gave the game the same final score as the two regular-season meetings between the teams.

The Bobcats hadn’t played a game that counted since Oct. 20, when they beat Buckfield 6-0. The Vikings hoped to take advantage of that rust and put Richmond in the unfamiliar position of playing from behind, which was a concern of Richmond coach Troy Kendrick.

“You have that almost two weeks off, it’s tough,” Kendrick said. “We set up a scrimmage with St. Dom’s. You do the best you can, because the kids can get flat. I try to guard against that.”

The Bobcats still doubled the Vikings’ shot output in the first half (8-4) but couldn’t get anything past Alberts. Senior back Lilah Chaar also did a good job of marking Anair and keeping her from getting her usual fill of good opportunities aside from the penalty kick.

Martin finally got Richmond on the board when she took a centering pass from Kendrick at about the 18 and booted it to the upper-left corner.

Randy Whitehouse – 621-5638

[email protected]

twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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