For all intents and purposes, Monday night’s 4-A conference tournament game between the varsity soccer Fighting Scots and Richmond appeared to be heading into overtime. It would’ve echoed Oct. 17’s season-ending game which finished in a 1-1 stalemate that left both teams disappointed by the outcome.
But with just two minutes left in the game, a free kick from 25 yards out would signal the end of Scotland’s season. The goal scored by Richmond midfielder Sergio Charparo gave the Raiders a 3-2 advantage in a game between two teams looking to end their 2012 on a high note. It was a lead that would remain as the final seconds ticked away.
“I don’t mean to sound cliche, but this team definitely saved the best for last,” said Scotland coach Colin McDavid after the loss. “Where was this performance all season? Some games we played as intense as we did tonight, others we came out flat. We just weren’t consistent enough, and I feel bad for our seniors that it had to end this way.”
Richmond set the tone early, when sophomore forward Jalen Almond capitalized on a short-range scoring opportunity with a goal which sailed over goalkeeper Robert McMillian’s head in the fifth minute.
But midway through the first half, it would be Dakota Chavis that tied the game in spectacular fashion. Chavis would send a free kick from more than 30 yards out sailing towards the top of the post, which bent in at the last minute for one of Scotland’s best goals of the season.
The Scotland score would spark a rapid fire exchange of goals.
Less than a minute after Chavis’ score, Richmond’s Juan O’Nesto answered right back with a header just outside the goal box. The Raiders’ lead wouldn’t last, however, as Scotland’s speedy do-it-all junior Victor Still found himself in a breakaway to create a one-on-one situation with Richmond goalkeeper Chris McDonald. After nearly losing possession of the ball, Still would compose himself and fire a strike that sailed just past the outstretched grasp of McDonald to tie the game once again at 2-2, which would be the score entering halftime.
When both teams returned to action in the second half, Still was moved to goalkeeper by McDavid. The decision would pay dividends defensively, as Still halted a barrage of Richmond attacks to the tune of seven saves.
But offensively, the Scots lost something in the eyes of McDavid.
“They were pounding shots right at us, but we were defending great in that second half,” McDavid said. “However, when we had Victor in-goal, it became apparent that we simply didn’t have enough power up front to get anything going, which is something that’s haunted us for the entire season.”
The Scotland defense held true despite Richmond collecting 12 of their 21 combined shots on goal in the second half. And even after Charparo’s goal in the 78th minute, Scotland had one last chance with just seconds left, as a perfectly-placed cross from junior Jonathan Covington bounced in front of Afiz Lateef. Covington’s pass would force the Richmond goalkeeper out of the box to secure the ball, and it became a foot race between McDonald and Lateef. McDonald would reach the ball a mere second before Lateef could strike, and the game ended shortly afterwards.
With the win, Richmond advances to the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament to take on Pinecrest at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.