RICHMOND — On a day that saw a scarcity of scoring chances, the Richmond girls soccer team did just enough to get over the line.

Richmond earned a 2-1 victory over Buckfield on Friday in a Class D South semifinal showdown. The Bobcats got goals from Alexa Kelsey and Lila Viselli and held on despite a Buckfield goal and a red card in the last 30 minutes to book a place in the regional final.

“We’re not a real prolific team offensively, so we have to work hard for our scores,” said Richmond head coach Troy Kendrick. “We had two pretty goals that we worked really hard to create, and as it turns out, that was enough for us today.”

It was a slow start to the game for both teams as neither could conjure up any real scoring chances over the first 10 minutes. With 28:12 left in the opening half, Kelsey beat an offside trap, collected the ball and fired a powerful shot to the left of goalkeeper Kianna Finnegan to put second-ranked Richmond (12-4-0) in front.

Third-ranked Buckfield (8-6-2) failed to capitalize on a few decent chances late in the first half, and Richmond made the Bucks pay 10 minutes into the second as Viselli tucked in a well-placed cross from Izzy Stewart. The visitors answered quickly as Mya Austin scored 40 seconds later to make it a 2-1 game.

“When we got that second goal, I thought we really put the dagger to them, but then we give up a goal right back,” Kendrick said. “That rally lit their fire, and they came back and started pushing us. They didn’t give up; they really pushed us until the end and made us work for it.”


Matters became worse for the Bobcats with 17 minutes left as Breonna Dufresne was sent off for a second yellow card. Despite using the one-man advantage to keep possession in the Richmond half, the Bucks failed to equalize as a clutch save by Autumn Zane with two minutes to play denied the visitors’ their clearest-cut opportunity.

The 30 minutes after Austin’s goal cut Buckfield’s deficit back to one were excruciating for the Bobcats and their fans. After starting left-back Emma Valley left the game with an injury with just over six minutes to play, Viselli knew the Bucks were going to ramp up the pressure even more.

Richmond’s Lila Viselli, left, walks with teammate Breonna Dufrense after the Bobcats 2-1 victory against Buckfield in a Class D South semifinal girls soccer game Friday in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“With Breonna getting the red card and us only playing with 10 people, it was rough,” Viselli said. “There was 6:45 (left) when Emma got hurt, and I was like, ‘This is going to be the longest six minutes of my life.’ … It was tough, but we stuck with it, and we made it.”

With Richmond and Buckfield not meeting in the regular season, Kendrick was not sure what to expect from the visitors ahead of Friday’s clash. That product was an evenly matched game that saw both teams produce five shots on goal — and one in which the Bobcats just happened to put one more ball over the line.

“That’s probably one of the more athletic teams that we’ve seen this year,” Kendrick said. “They’re kind of a direct team, so they’re coming at you all the time, and you really need to play smart and find a way to make plays. We made the plays we needed to, I guess.”

Richmond will face No. 1 North Yarmouth Academy (16-0-0) in the regional title game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Freeport High School. NYA defeated No. 4 Temple Academy (8-6-2) in Friday’s other D South semifinal.

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