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Robert Morris women look to take step forward; add four local recruits

Robert Morris women’s soccer program has finished .500 or better in the Northeast Conference (NEC) in the past three consecutive seasons.

This year, they’re hoping to take another step forward.

When asked earlier this year about the biggest challenge coaching at RMU, current head coach John Kowalski, who one time coached the United States Men’s National team, the Riverhounds and in MLS among others, provided one simple explanation.

“Recruiting,” Kowalski replied. “People still say Robert Morris who? Our facilities are still going through some upgrades. We were a little bit not up to date with facilities — and everyone thinks of Robert Morris as a business school, but now more women are getting more into majors like accounting and engineering and that’s helping with recruiting better players.”

This year they added four new recruits from the local area, and a total of six new faces.

“We’re excited to add these players to the team,” Kowalski said. “They all are very talented and do well in the classroom. We’ve brought in defenders who will strengthen our line in the back, midfielders that will retain possession and push the ball forward, and forwards that will assist in our attack.”

RELATED: PGH SOCCER STORIES – From Poland to Pittsburgh, coaching legend Kowalski lives out the ‘American Dream’ 

Here’s a look at RMU’s new recruits:

  • Allie Ball (Bridgeville, Pa. / Chartiers Valley)
  • Bailey Farabaugh (Bethel Park, Pa. / Bethel Park)
  • Courtney Hurey (Imperial, Pa. / West Allegheny)
  • Chelsea Kingston (Wantagh, N.Y. / Wantagh)
  • Hannah Schmidt (Brechen, Germany / Marienschule Limberg)
  • Jaiden Williams (Canonsburg, Pa. / Canon McMillian)

Ball is a defender who was named All-Section three times, All-WPIAL twice, and both Almanac Elite 11 and Avonsworth Tournament Elite 11 at Chariters Valley. In her senior campaign, she tallied 11 goals and eight assists while leading the Colts to a 13-5-1 record. With her club team Century United, Ball has won numerous SAC Colombia Invitational and Nike Challenge Cup championships.

Farabaugh also captured All-Section and All-WPIAL honors, in addition to Big 56 Conference accolades, as a midfielder and forward at Bethel Park. She collected 20 goals and 20 assists and lettered all four seasons for the Black Hawks. In club soccer between the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC academy and Beadling SC, Farabaugh captured the 2016 Region 1 Champions League and 2017 Nike Cup, and qualified for the ECNL National Playoffs.

Hurey played central defender and midfielder at West Allegheny, earning an All-Section Team nod. She also played club soccer for the Riverhounds academy and will join sisters Ashley and Brittany in playing collegiately, as they played for West Virginia Wesleyan and Edinboro, respectively.

Kingston will be the team’s lone player from the Empire State. A midfielder at Wantagh, she garnered Defensive Player of the Year plaudits and was named All-Class. She played club soccer for FC Fury DA, and like Hurey, joins her sisters Kaitlin (LIU Post) and Shannon (Georgian Court) in playing collegiately.

Schmidt is the second player from Germany on the roster, joining junior goalkeeper Julia Schmid. She will add to the Colonial attack up top as a forward after playing the position with her club team, MSG Altendiez.

Williams is the third Pittsburgh-area defender of the class as she hails from Canon McMillan. She helped lead the Big Macs to a state title in 2016, assisting on the game-winning goal. Williams was named to the All-Section and Big 56 Conference Teams, and suited up for Beadling SC in the club circuit.

Despite a strong finish in 2017, which included a three-game win streak to conclude the season, the Colonials just finished short of a berth in the NEC playoff tournament (only top four teams are selected).

With return of two proven scorers, junior Krissy Kelley and senior Jane Schleicher, the Colonials are primed to bring an explosive attack.

Schleicher, a former Montour standout, earned All-NEC Second Team honors in 2017, after finishing second on the team in goals (8), assists (3), and points (17). Kelly was an All-NEC First Team selection, as the Colonials leader in most offensive categories, including tallying nine goals.

The Colonials played their first scrimmage of the season on Thursday, losing 4-1 to Bucknell, as Kelley scored the lone goal for RMU with a rocket free kick that evened the contest late in the first half.

RMU begin the 2018 regular season on Friday, Aug. 17 at UMBC and commence their home slate on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 1:00 p.m. against Ohio.

(Also taken from RMU Athletic Department reports)

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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