From RMU Athletic Department Report
It was a familiar scoreline for the Robert Morris University women’s soccer team once again as it came away from a physical 90-minute battle with a 1-0 victory over Wagner College on Friday from the North Athletic Complex.
After starting Northeast Conference play with three losses, the Colonials have won four in a row, and put themselves in line for a playoff spot after beating a Wagner. The Colonials will play second-place Central Connecticut on Sunday to close out the regular season, but it appears that the top four spots in the conference have already been secured as St. Francis (PA) secured the spot with 15 points (RMU has 12 and SFU beat them in only head-to-head match up this year).
Robert Morris (6-11-0, 4-3-0 NEC) picked up an early goal in the seventh minute and held serve over the final 83 ticks.
The Colonials owned a 13-11 edge in shot attempts over Wagner (3-14-0, 2-5-0 NEC) and earned seven corner kicks to the visitors’ three.
RMU put the pressure on early, using its press to gain possession for an early shot attempt. That strike was taken by Jane Schleicher (Montour) in the second minute, which was gloved then bobbled out-of-bounds for a corner kick.
Maybe sensing some nerves in between the sticks, Kristina Kelley tried her luck at goal in the seventh minute from about 25 yards out. Kelley’s strike had some power behind it and found its target, sailing just over the fingertips of Seahawks goalkeeper Katelyn Murphy for an early score.
After another corner kick cleared away by Wagner, the visitors began its pursuit of an equalizer in the 14th minute when Jessica Mouradian‘s header was caught by Makenzie Shearson. The Colonials regained momentum after the save, securing a pair of set pieces that generated two dangerous shot attempts from the Kelley sisters. Kristina’s second crack at goal was blocked by a Seahawk defender, while Kayla ripped a shot just wide of the netting.
The physicality increased after Kayla Kelley‘s shot, with seven of the game’s 25 fouls and three yellow cards were handed out over the course of nine minutes. The last foul gave Wagner a free kick from just outside the box, which was taken by Megan Fritz. Fritz fired a shot that bent around the wall, but right into the hands of Shearson.
After some back-and-forth possession to begin the second half, RMU gained a pair of corner kicks in the 65th minute. The second attempt almost netted the hosts their second goal as Kristina Kelley found her older sister in the box, but the redirection was cleared off the line by a Seahawks defender.
Wagner earned another free kick in a dangerous area 10 minutes later and had Autumn Clark standing over the ball. Clark curled in a cross that evaded everyone and carried towards the far post; however, Shearson was quick enough with her initial reaction to haul it in.
In the 82nd minute, some build-up between Shannon Reagan and Antonia Grese about doubled the Colonial advantage, but the latter’s shot was stopped at the near post. RMU conceded one last corner kick four minutes later as Mouradian’s cross found the head of Rorie St. Lawrence. However, the redirection carried well over the crossbar for a goal kick.
Shearson made five saves on the afternoon, collecting her fifth clean sheet of the season in the process.
Kristina Kelley‘s goal was the first of her career.
The Colonials’ current four-game winning streak is the ir longest since the 2009 season, when they rattled off a quartet of victories from Sept. 27 to Oct. 9.
REGULAR SEASON FINALE ON SUNDAY HONORS THREE LOCAL SENIORS
RMU will recognize the careers of its senior class (Antonia Grese, (Moon) Erin Ritzer (Bentworth), Makenzie Shearson (Belle Vernon), who have been a part of 25 victories and helped lead the program to its first NEC Tournament a season ago.