Richards helps lift Wildcats

Central's Bailey Gale collides with Warren County's goalkeeper Hannah Pack during first half action Tuesday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County’s Nina Richards capped off senior night in strong fashion Tuesday night.

The senior scored two goals, including the game-winner, to help Warren County rally for a 3-2 victory over Central in Bull Run District girls soccer action.

“It was exciting,” Richards said. “I don’t score that often, so it’s exciting to do it, especially two in one game and on senior night. I’m just really happy to be able to do that at the end of the season like that.”

The game was tied at 2-2 for a good chunk of the second half. With about five minutes left in the game, Richards took a pass from Lisette Moya and drilled it past Central goalkeeper Kendall Herbaugh to put the Wildcats on top for the first time in the game.

“We were just passing and it came back out of the box to me, and I took the shot and it went in,” Richards said.

Warren County's Nina Petitt, left, gets a kick off as Central's Ciara Philpott, right, defends during first half soccer action Tuesday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Wildcats (6-4-3) trailed 2-0 in the first half, and Richards said passing was the key that helped turn the game around.

Central (6-7-1) scored the first goal of the game with about 27 minutes left in the first half as Sydney Crosser scored on an assist from Karla Rodriguez.

Just two minutes later, the Falcons extended the lead to 2-0 on an unassisted goal by Ciara Philpott.

Richards scored her first goal with about three minutes left in the opening half on an assist from Savanah Falls to cut the lead to 2-1.

“We wanted to get that goal, get close,” Warren County coach Mike Carpenter said. “I knew once we had the momentum going, and they got that confidence that would help.”

Central's Jasmine Cardoso passes with a knee kick as Warren County's Lisette Moya Machuca defends during first half soccer Tuesday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Central controlled possession for most of the first half, but that completely changed in the second half as the Wildcats dominated play.

Moya tied the game with about 27 minutes left on an assist from Alex Roth.

“In the first half we weren’t connecting our passes and we all knew it, and we came to halftime and our coaches we’re like build the pressure,” Warren County’s Katelyn Thompson said. “We came out in the second half, and we brought the pressure, and we stayed on the ball and we didn’t let them get past us.”

The Falcons had some opportunities to score but couldn’t convert, including a couple missed opportunities on offsides calls.

“I think the second half we just broke down. We couldn’t get anything finished off,” Central coach Kim Dellinger said. “We had plenty of opportunities in the first half, obviously they were fewer in the second half, but the opportunities we had we couldn’t capitalize on. We had our chances to win the game, we just gave it up.”

Warren County's Courtney L'Amoreaux and Central's Ciara Philpott go up to head the ball during first half soccer action Tuesday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Despite the loss, Dellinger said he’s still happy with where his team is at entering the final stretch of the regular season.

“I think as a team we’re doing well. We’ve had some close games with some really good teams. We can’t be upset with that at all,” Dellinger said. “We’re growing as a team, and we’re getting better each season. So hopefully next season, we’re only losing three seniors, we can come back stronger.”

Central and Warren County tied, 1-1, earlier this season, so Carpenter said he was happy to be able to pull out the win, especially on senior night.

“This senior group – I’ve coached them for quite a few years,” Carpenter said. “They’ve really been a core of the program. It’s good that they won on their night.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com