Robert Morris’ women’s soccer team earned its first conference win of the season against the Purdue Fort-Wayne Mastodons Wednesday afternoon at SouthPointe Fieldhouse, 4-2.
The win moves the Colonials to 2-3 (1-3 Horizon League) on the season. Kayla Veloso-Lima, Ylexus Gilliand, Brittany O’Connell and Sofie Lien Fagereng each scored their first goals of the season in the win.
“We talked about at the half how that game had so many momentum swings especially in the first, and I thought we did great to respond to the early goal and manage that,” head coach Chris Shaw said.
“I felt like after the second goal we kind of settled down and started playing our game more.”
The Colonials and Mastodons came out firing Wednesday at SouthPointe, playing through a wild first half that saw five goals scored and three lead changes in the opening 45 minutes.
An unfortunate bounce for RMU set PFW up with the opening tally when Rylee Vruggink beat Courtney Worstell to a footrace for a loose ball at the top of the box, slipping past the keeper and tapping it home into a wide-open net.
Less than two minutes later, Kayla Veloso-Lima potted her first of the season after a nice pass from Sheridan Reid into the box from near post that Veloso-Lima tapped home after working into the six-yard box.
Ylexus Gilliand gave RMU the lead six minutes later with a hard strike from the edge of the box, however the momentum was short lived. A long shot from almost 30 yards out courtesy of PFW’s Kelsey Gallagher sailed over Worstell and into the back of the net to even it up at 2-2.
Brittany O’Connell restored the lead for RMU once again in the 32′, and Reid nearly added another with time riding down however her effort at a wide open net was nicely blocked away by a Mastodon defender.
“We have a style of play that we want to play, and the players have really bought into that,” Shaw said. “We’re still trying to put 90 minutes of soccer together, but today they really had some great moments.”
A big pushback from the Mastodons tested the Colonials backline at the start of the second half, forcing Worstell into a number of tough saves including one on Eliese Lacourt in close.
After bending but not breaking to the PFW attack, the Colonials countered. Kaoru Hayashi almost made it a two-goal game with a dangerous looking shot off a free kick, but the PFW keeper was in a good spot to make the save.
With time winding down and the Colonials protecting a one-goal lead, Fagereng gave RMU some much-needed breathing room with her first of the season in the 75′ to make it a 4-2 margin and ice away the win for the Colonials.
“We had moments, and now it’s just about us stringing more of those moments together for a full 90 minutes,” Shaw said. “There’s going to be times when we make mistakes, but even when we make mistakes and give the ball up we still want them to be confident.”
— Chris King (@ChrisKingAD) March 3, 2021