Robert Morris and Duquesne men’s teams will begin their respective seasons on Friday and Sunday as part of the Duquesne/Robert Morris Tournament — each taking turns facing Oakland (MI) and Bowling Green (OH).
The tournament will kick off the 36th season for the Colonials and the 25th campaign for the Dukes.
Pittsburgh Soccer Now‘s Zac Weiss will be at Rooney Field on Friday to cover the Duquense-Bowling Green match-up. Follow along with Zac on Twitter @ZacharyMWeiss.
Duquesne/Robert Morris Tournament schedule
Friday, August 30
Robert Morris (Men) vs Oakland – 4 p.m. (Moon Township)
Duquesne (Men) vs Bowling Green – 7 p.m. (Rooney Field)
Sunday, September 1
Robert Morris (Men) vs Bowling Green – 1 p.m. (Moon Township)
Duquesne (Men) vs Oakland – 3 p.m. (Rooney Field)
More on Duquesne men
Duquesne is 12-10-2 all-time in season openers, including a 7-3-0 mark when opening at home. DU is 4-1-1 in opening games under sixth-year head coach Chase Brooks (2-0 at home). The BGSU game is the first of five in a row at home to open the season for DU.
THE SERIES VS. BOWLING GREEN
- The is the sixth game in the series which is tied at 2-2-1.
- The past four meetings between the two have all been decided in double overtime.
- In games played in Pittsburgh, Duquesne leads 1-0-1.
- BGSU took the last meeting between, 1-0 in double overtime at Bowling Green on Sept. 27, 2017.
- DU won the last meeting on Rooney Field, 3-2 in 2OT on Sept. 7, 2014.
THE SERIES VS. OAKLAND
- The is the fourth game in the series which Duquesne leads 2-1-0.
- Last year, the Golden Grizzlies defeated the Dukes 2-0 in Rochester, Mich.
- In games played in Pittsburgh, Duquesne leads 1-0 (a 1-0 win on Sept. 1, 2013).
- Duquesne is in its seventh season under head coach Chase Brooks. Brooks has led the Dukes to three Atlantic 10 Conference tournament appearances (2013, 2015 & 2016).
- The Dukes return eight players who started 10 or more games last season in seniors D Zach Hall(15/12) & D/M Ryan Landry (14/14), along with sophomores D Mortiz Kappelsberger (16/16), D/M Nathan Dossantos (16/16), D/M Rob Dymond (13/11), F Manel Busquets (15/15), D Eric Zech (16/16) and Kendall Newman (15/15). In addition, senior goalkeeper Robbie McKelvey started 12 of the 13 matches he played last season (1151 minutes). Landry was lost for the season due to a preseason foot injury.
- Busquets (11 points, 4 goals) and Dymond (7 points, 3 goals) are DU’s top returning point-getters and goal scorers from last season. Hall and Kappelsberger (both 5 points, 2 goals) are next. Dossantos is the only other returnee with a point last year (2 points on one goal).
- Hall leads all returnees in career games (50) and starts (46). Landry, who is out for the season (foot injury) was next at 45 and 39. No other returning field player has seen action in more than 16 games (Dossantos, Kappelsberger & Zech at 16 each).
- The Dukes have 11 first-year players on the 2019 roster including nine freshmen (including one redshirt) and a pair of transfers in junior F Jack Shearer (St. John’s) and junior F Waleed Charif (West Liberty). Shearer, a native of Aliquippa, Pa., played in 35 matches with 26 starts in two seasons at SJU.
- McKelvey has played in 28 career games with 27 starts. He begins the season seventh on DU’s all-time saves list with 107 (he needs 59 to pass No. 6 Jarrod Duffy).
More on Robert Morris men
Robert Morris went 4-4-0 in Northeast Conference play in 2018, winning its final two games to barely miss out on its third NEC Tournament trip in four seasons. RMU also collected non-conference victories against LaSalle and Howard, plus a draw with St. Bonaventure, in posting a 6-10-1 overall record.
While Friday will mark the first meeting between RMU and Oakland on the men’s soccer pitch, the Colonials and Bowling Green have gotten together once before. In September 2015 on the campus of Marshall in Huntington, W.Va., RMU pulled off the upset of the 24th-ranked Falcons, 1-0, on a first-half goal by program great Neco Brett. Goalkeeper Brenden Alfery picked up the shutout, stopping nine Falcons shots.
Oakland is coming off a 9-7-3 season, including a 5-3 mark in the Horizon League. Led by 11th-year head coach Eric Pogue, the Golden Grizzlies have made their conference tournament in eight of nine years this decade, including a pair of Horizon tourney titles and NCAA appearances in 2014 and 2015. Sophomores Napoleon Outlaw III and Luke Morrell combined for seven goals and two assists as freshmen.
Bowling Green finished 6-7-4 overall in 2018, but a 2-1-1 mark in MAC play earned them a trip to the conference tournament. The Falcons lost their top two scorers to graduation, but junior midfielder Chris Sullivan racked up two goals and three assists to rank third on the team in scoring. Eleventh-year bench boss Eric Nichols was named MAC coach of the year in 2016 after leading BG to a second-place finish.
KNOW BOBBY MO
• All-NEC Rookie Team pick Lorenzo Guagneli returns for his sophomore season after starting all 17 matches in 2018. The third Colonial ever to be so honored, Guagneli saw 1,490 minutes in the defensive midfield and went the distance in 10 fixtures. On the attack, the native of Cesenatico, Italy, earned an assist and fired 19 total shots toward goal in his freshman year.
• Since RMU returns just three goals and three assists from last year’s team, new attackers will need to assist sophomore midfielder Cristian Palermo (17 starts in 2018) up front. On the other hand, the Colonials’ defensive group figures to be improved, with Guagneli playing in front of returning center backs Oeyvind Skjesol (17 starts in 2018) and Christopher Coridon (12 appearances, six starts).
• The goalie position will be in flux to start the season, with two newcomers augmenting the presence of senior Canon-McMillan product Christian Snatchko, who has seen action in two NCAA games. Sophomore transfer Grant Glorioso comes to Moon Township by way of Gardner-Webb and North Allegheny High School, while freshman Mike Zolnierczyk was the 2018 WPIAL Class A player of the year at Springdale.
• The Colonials welcome seven newcomers — three of those from western Pennsylvania. Sophomores Nick Williams and Glorioso both transfer in after matriculating from North Allegheny two years ago, with freshman Zolnierczyk further raising the Yinzer quotient. As usual, there’s an international flair to the new group, too, with Michael Petitti (Canada) and Said Samara Hernandez(Costa Rica) joining fellow attackers Ethan Romito of Maryland and Jon Faynik from Minnesota.
• For the first time in program history, the Colonials will play 11 home games at the North Athletic Complex, including six in a row from Sept. 12-19. That homestand matches one from 1991 for the longest in team annals. The friendly schedule comes to the forefront the most in non-conference play, as RMU will play just two of seven on the road before facing NEC opponents.
• Two WPIAL products figure to patrol the midfield for the Colonials, with senior Noah Elamin and junior Matt Cillo providing valuable varsity experience. Elamin, a graduate of Shaler Area, started 12 games last season and appeared in 14 overall; Cillo, out of South Fayette, started 15 times in 2018, seeing the finish line in 10 of those.
• According to a preseason coaches poll, the Colonials were picked to finish sixth of nine teams in the NEC. RMU has finished fifth or higher in the NEC in four of the past five seasons, posting a 14-18-4 record against league foes since the 2014 campaign.
THE DENNISTON FILE
Returning for his 23rd season in charge of the Colonials, Bill Denniston is the longest-tenured varsity head coach on campus. RMU has made seven NEC tournaments under the Bethany College grad, winning the 2005 edition and making the NCAA tournament. Denniston also led RMU to a regular-season NEC title in 2001, taking league Coach of the Year honors in the process.
Twenty-three players have made All-NEC teams under his tutelage, with several of those going on to sign pro contracts. The Jamaican attacking duo of Neco Brett and Devon ‘Speedy’ Williams headline that group, as both currently star in the second-tier USL Championship here in the States. Denniston is joined on staff by sixth-year assistant Brandon Regan, who focuses on goalkeepers.