RICHMOND — Troy Kendrick’s Richmond High School girls soccer team has faced a few growing pains this season.

When stepping outside of the East/West Conference, the Bobcats have found the going tough, with a loss to Traip Academy and a deadlock with North Yarmouth Academy on Monday.

On Thursday against Class C St. Dominic Academy, Richmond received a spark right out of the gate, with Ashley Brown slipping a shot past Saints goaltender Hannah Kenney just 34 seconds in, and the Bobcats played strong defense for a 2-0 victory.

Despite being a young squad, the Bobcats sit at 6-1-1, with a home date with Rangeley set for Saturday at noon. The Saints fell to 5-4-0.

Of the early goal, Kendrick was pleased to see his team start strong.

“(Assistant) Coach (Patrick Gollogoly) joked that wouldn’t it be nice to play from ahead instead of having to battle back a lot,” said Kendrick. “When you get against a good team and get that lead, it is nice. We wanted to be smart, but we needed to possess and press on the other side of the field.”

“That goal was very important, and as soon as we got that in, we knew that we could do it and go hard, pressure the ball,” added Brown.

Eight minutes later, the Richmond lead doubled. Bry Shea was tackled inside the penalty area and the Bobcats were awarded a penalty kick. Caitlin Kendrick stepped up and powered a low shot into the left-hand corner of the net.

From there, the Bobcats played a lot of defense, with St. Dom’s out-possessing the hosts, led by striker Avery Lutrzykowski.

“We planned on not allowing anything to happen,” said Brown. “They center their whole offense on getting the ball to Lutrzykowski, and we called it the ‘Lutrzykowski effect.’ We had to keep the ball away from her.”

The Saints worked hard to find the scoreboard, earning 10 corner kicks in the contest. However, the Richmond defense of Emma Carbone, Lindsie Irish, Kristy Sullivan and Marybeth Sloat stepped up, working around the loss of a key Bobcat defender.

“I am really proud, especially with our starting stopper Bryanne Lancaster out in concussion protocol, and we shuffled the defense,” said Coach Kendrick. “We didn’t allow a lot of looks.”

“They defended well, and they defended with five or six, which made it difficult for us,” second year St. Dom’s coach Patrick Keary said. “It was frustrating. We played well. Hopefully, we will learn from these losses. We did well last year, into the semis, and hopefully we push forward from here.”

St. Dom’s best chance came late in the first half. Emma Theriault served a corner kick in front of Richmond goaltender Liz Johnson. The ball bounced toward the cage, with Sullivan making a defensive save to send the Bobcats to the break leading by two.

In the second half, Theriault sent a long free kick that Johnson bobbled before jumping on, one of her eight saves.

Of the tough schedule, Troy Kendrick feels the challenges his team has faced will benefit them come postseason time.

“You shudder a little bit when you see those teams on our schedule, but we talk to the girls that those games will pay dividends at the end,” said Kendrick. “This team (St. Dom’s) was the real deal. Traip is great. That schedule will work to our advantage, even though we may take our licks.”

Both teams put nine shots on goal. Kenney made seven saves in the setback.

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