RICHMOND — In the top-seeded Richmond Bobcats’ first game in 10 days after a first-round bye, No. 5 Rangeley gave them a run for their money, but it was Richmond that walked away with a 1-0 victory.
“We gave them everything we had, everything they’ve had up until this point I believe,” Lakers coach Chip Smith said.
“I think the kids were a little unhappy, quite honestly,” Bobcats coach Troy Kendrick said. “I think they were a little upset on how we put things together. It wasn’t a work of art, probably wasn’t the prettiest win of the season, but at this point in the year, a win is a win.”
The Bobcats earned the first scoring chance with 34:38 remaining in the first half when Kelsea Anair pushed a give-and-go to Meranda Martin, whose touch soared just over the crossbar and out of play. Thirteen minutes later, Rangeley answered with a shot of its own when Michaela Shorey lifted a corner kick into the box, but Mary-Page Swiney’s header missed wide-right of the net.
At 17:34, the Bobcats set up inside the box for their own corner kick. Anair took Camryn Hurley’s ball from the corner off her head, but after the ball was deflected Destiny Anair put a foot on it, with her blast missed just left of the post.
With 1:19 to play before halftime, the Bobcats had one more opportunity. Kelsea Anair charged in on a loose ball inside the 18, but Lakers goalie Sydney Royce (eight saves) was able to dive on top of it before Anair had a chance to follow through.
“They’ve got a quality goalkeeper,” Kendrick said of Royce. “We were probably not going to beat her from 30 yards so we were probably going to have to take advantage of a restart.”
On top of the Lakers tough goaltending, Kendrick said it wasn’t easy creating scoring opportunities.
“We needed a few more looks,” he said of his offense. “But we generated some pressure, it was just a matter of finishing.”
The pressure paid off in the opening minutes of the second half.
Just 2:05 in, with an indirect kick awarded to the Bobcats 20 yards out, the Lakers set their defense on the 18-yard line. Kelsea Anair chipped the ball up and over the wall and playable for Martin, who took only two touches before burying it into the back of the net to put the Bobcats up 1-0.
“That one goal was just a scrummage in front of the net,” Smith said. “Even after that goal went in I still believe that for the majority of time we were taking chances and we were getting opportunities.”
One of those opportunities came with 13:49 remaining in regulation, when Shorey collected a deflected ball inside the 18, but Shorey’s shot connected with Richmond defender Cassidy Harriman, sending it out of play to keep the Bobcats up 1-0.
“It was a great season,” Smith said. “When we tied Greenville 0-0 and then only lost to Searsport 1-0, and then turn around and beat them 3-0 and go 1-1-1 in that stretch, we definitely believed we could do this.”
With the win, the Bobcats advance to the Western Class D final, facing No. 2 Searsport, which defeated No. 3 Greenville 1-0 on Friday. Only one game separates the Bobcats and a chance at the state title.
“You just focus on the task at hand,” Kendrick said. “You have to take it one step at a time and these girls are pretty good about just taking care of business and not thinking too far ahead.”
The Bobcats will host Searsport on Wednesday at a time to be announced.