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Robert Morris men battle back to draw Howard

WPIAL alums Matt Cillo (foreground) and Mike Zolnierczyk were key Sunday. (Jason Cohn/RMU)

FINAL:  Robert Morris 1, Howard 1

From Robert University athletic department report 

For the second time this season, Robert Morris’ men’s soccer team came from behind to get a result, drawing with perennial foe Howard, 1-1, Sunday afternoon at the North Athletic Complex.


Taking a flick on from Christian Coridon in the right side of the Howard penalty area, junior winger Matt Cillo cashed in a volley less than a minute after the Colonials (1-6-1) fell behind in the 40th. 

Cillo’s first goal in his 22nd game for RMU seemed to be a pivotal point, as the Colonials outshot Howard 13-2 after halftime, putting a season-best 12 drives on target for the game.  

“Super excited about my first goal,” said Cillo, a McDonald native and South Fayette alum. “We got numbers forward and we got up in the attack. We just got more chances because guys were working harder. It was a better effort offensively.”

But the home side was unable to convert another chance through regulation and the 20-minute overtime period, settling for its first draw of 2019. RMU is now 5-0-2 against Howard all-time, in a series dating back to 2013. 

While the Colonials limited the Bison (1-4-1) fairly well throughout the day, freshman goalie Mike Zolnierczyk was called upon to make two outstanding saves from close range. The Springdale grad stopped three in all to earn his first collegiate result.  

The Colonials will now enter the Northeast Conference portion of the schedule, starting with a two-game home weekend against Mount St. Mary’s (Friday) and Fairleigh Dickinson (Sunday).

They’ll hope to replicate their trajectory from two years ago, when they won just once out of conference but collected three victories in the NEC to make the league’s postseason tournament. On the bright side, Sunday’s performance contained several key elements of winning soccer, so there’s a chance to build off that.

“I thought we fought pretty hard,” Cillo said. “We were pretty organized throughout the game. It was a tough game and it was hot out, so we had to really grind. I thought we put a good shift together. It’s not exactly what we wanted, but we’ll be ready for conference.”  


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