RICHMOND — Matt Rines is being unleashed on the opposition to help the Richmond boys soccer team solve its scoring woes. So far, so good.

Rines scored a pair of goals Thursday afternoon to lead the No. 1 Bobcats to a 6-0 thumping of No. 5 Islesboro in the Class D South regional semifinals at Coughlin Field.

The effect the junior Rines — who spent the better part of the last two seasons as a center back — has on the Richmond attack is palpable.

“Tons of speed. Tons of speed, one of the fastest kids I know,” said senior midfielder Brendan Emmons, who scored twice in the first half to help the Bobcats out to a 4-0 advantage through 40 minutes. “You can just send him up and he’ll run onto it, and it creates so many chances for other people.”

Rines scored in the 16th minute against the Eagles, just two minutes after Emmons had opened the scoring for the Bobcats (15-1-0). His speed was on display as he got in behind Islesboro goalkeeper Devin Small following Small’s save on a Justin Vachon bid from within 10 yards.

In the 42nd minute, Rines collected a pass from Zach Marseglia inside the 18-yard box, settled the ball at his feet and finished expertly for a 5-0 lead.

Marseglia finished his afternoon with three assists.

“It’s a lot different. I have to have a completely different mentality (up top),” Rines said. “Whatever coach thinks is best for the team, I’m willing to work my hardest at it.”

“It’s where he started, and he got so frustrated at not being able to score goals (as a sophomore) that there was no sense in keeping him there, so we moved him to the back,” Richmond head coach Pete Gardner said. “We moved him to the back, and he’s very good there, too. .. We got into this season and we figured out that we had to find some way to score more goals than we were. He’s better at it this year than he was last year. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, but he’s got quick feet. It’s made a big difference.”

Matt Holt (29th minute) and Nick Adams (70th minute) also scored goals for the Bobcats, whose efficient ball movement into spaces out wide gave Islesboro defenders fits all day long.

“We’re passing the ball a lot better now,” Emmons said. “We’ve had some changes to the lineup, and we’re shaping up for the playoffs. We’re going steady. We’ve improved a lot.”

Richmond will next play the winner of a matchup on the other side of the bracket featuring No. 6 Greenville against No. 10 Rangeley in the regional finals on Wednesday.

“The kids are pretty positive in terms of what they’re doing,” Gardner said. “I think they have a good understanding of what they need to do, but I also think they also understand the game of soccer as a game… They’re going to play, play as hard as they can, and we’ll take the result.”

Gardner should like his team’s form as currently constituted. Richmond has scored a total of 10 goals through its first two playoff games.

“We knew coming into it that we had to work insanely hard, because what we were struggling with was scoring in the regular season.” Rines said. “We’ve had that mentality and pushed a lot harder than we were, and it’s working really well.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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