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Tough start for Robert Morris men

Photo by Jason Cohn/RMU Athletics

Tough start for Robert Morris men

From RMU Athletics report

It was a tough start to the season this weekend for Robert Morris University men’s soccer team. 

However, they certainly performed better in a 2-0 loss to Bowling Green on Sunday at the North Athletic Complex, even if the result mimicked that of a forgettable season opener two days prior.

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Unlike in Friday’s 5-1 defeat to Oakland, the Colonials (0-2) had their feet firmly planted in their home turf against the visiting Falcons, who had tied Duquesne earlier this weekend. But there’s still much to do to get up to speed, as RMU struggled to generate a steady flow of offensive chances.

“A little better,” assessed Colonials head coach Bill Denniston. “I knew coming in that these (first) two games would probably be the hardest two games of the year. We’ve got a ways to go, but it’s good that we’re moving in the right direction after Friday.”

Per Denniston’s words, RMU mustered eight shots Sunday after just six in the opener, but the coach wants to see at least double digits in that category. Moreover, only one of the Colonials’ attempts was on frame against Bowling Green, a header by senior back Christopher Coridon off a first-half corner kick. 

That one was cleared out of the six-yard box by a defender, so Falcons keeper Anthony Mwembia didn’t have a make a save in recording the clean sheet. There were a couple of near-misses in the second half, with senior back Oeyvind Skjesol guiding a corner-kick header just wide of the right post, followed quickly by freshman midfielder Ethan Romito lining a promising 25-yard effort inches over the crossbar.

“We got some big opportunities today,” Skjesol said in the aftermath. “Overall, we were more in possession than against Oakland. Better today, but we still have a ways to go.”

Like Friday, the Colonials had to play uphill for most of the match. Bowling Green back Colin Iverson cracked home a volley in the penalty area just seven minutes after the opening kick, giving the Falcons (1-0-1) all the offense they’d require.

RMU sophomore transfer Grant Glorioso got the start at goalkeeper; the Wexford native and North Allegheny grad stopped five shots in his Moon Township debut. He stuffed a pair of Falcons opportunities just past the 40-minute mark, but his turnover in the middle of the field led directly to Bowling Green co-captain Chris Brennan’s long-range strike in the 44th. 

 

Denniston said none of his three keepers have stood above the rest, so he’s going with a rotation for the time being. Freshman Mike Zolnierczyk started Friday’s opener, and senior Christian Snatchko is expected to see action in Wednesday’s match at Cleveland State. 

 

“Hopefully somebody will step up,” Denniston said. “We can’t go all year with three goalies. We need a voice back there, and it needs to be the same one every game. (A rotation) has happened a couple of times in the past. It works itself out.”

The Colonials will have to be proactive with their overall game, though. While they enjoyed longer stretches of possession and developed some good ideas, there wasn’t enough connection in the final third, and not as many promising moves up the pitch as they hope to create.

“We have to get more accurate,” Skjesol said. “We’re not passing the ball too well at the moment. We can find those run-throughs and connect better as a team. Also, we can eliminate some of those mistakes in the back.”

The Colonials’ next two matches are on the road, their only two scheduled non-conference games as the visitors. Kickoff against the Vikings is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, with a journey across Pennsylvania to face LaSalle on tap for Saturday.

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