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Robert Morris women open season vs VMI eager to keep making progress

Photo courtesy Robert Morris University athletics

Robert Morris University women’s soccer team kicks off the 2022 fall campaign with a pair of non-conference matchups at the North Athletic Complex beginning Thursday vs VMI and Sunday vs Saint Francis.

In fact, the Colonials will remain at home for the first four games of the season, as they’ll also face Mt. Saint Mary’s and UMass at North Athletic Complex next week.

The Colonials are coming off their second season as members of the Horizon League after finishing 6-10-3 overall behind a 2-6-3 record in conference play during the 2021 campaign.  This was a drastic improvement from Head Coach Chris Shaw’s first, abbreviated season, in 2020 (actually they played that season officially in Spring of 2021 due to COVID-19).

Shaw now enters his third season with Robert Morris as he will feature 10 players in their first year with the program.

The Colonials traveled to Akron last weekend for a pre-season exhibition matchup that ended in a 1-1 tie at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Robert Morris will feature a veteran group this season, led by junior Haleigh Finale. Finale paced the Colonials with 18 points last season with six goals and six assists, while being only one of four players to start all 19 games. Redshirt senior Kaoru Hayashi finished second on the team with 10 points a season ago, earning her All-League Second Team honors for the second consecutive season.

Seniors Kayla Veloso-Lima and Gabriella Lecuona combined for 14 points last season, while sophomore Emily Rocco earned Horizon League All-Freshman Team accolades after recording two goals and started in all 19 games.

The Colonials welcome ten newcomers to the squad for the 2022 fall campaign as freshmen Emerson JohngarloCali LaymonMalia KearnsTaylor DayElisa CorvalanNicola MosionekPaloma SwanklerRenae Mohrbacher, and Kaitlyn Nguyen all arrive in Moon Township for their freshman seasons, as does junior Miyu Kojima who joins the team after spending time at Northwestern Ohio.

It’ll be the first meeting between the Colonials and Keydets come this Thursday as they’ll square off at the North Athletic Complex. VMI, who competes in the Southern Conference (SoCon) is coming off of a 3-16-1 overall record last season as it fell to The Citadel in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament in 2021.

The Keydets feature a young but experienced group led by sophomore forward Riley Flanagan. Flanagan was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team in 2021 after leading the team with 21 points. She tallied eight goals, which tied for fourth most in the conference, while collecting five assists. Flanagan also started in 16 of 19 games during her freshman campaign.

Saint Francis was selected to finish eighth overall in the 2022 Northern Conference (NEC) Preseason Coaches Poll after finishing 4-12-1 overall behind a 2-7-1 record in conference play a season ago. The Red Flash will feature a new head coach in 2022 led by Sara Yunez, who was hired this past January. Yunez comes from Saint Bonaventure where she coached an Atlantic-10 First-Team performer, a Second-Team honoree and two All-Rookie team selections.

Saint Francis holds a 12-2-1 record against RMU as it has won four of the past six meetings against the Colonials. In the most recent matchup, Saint Francis earned a 3-1 victory over RMU with two goals late in the second half. Midfielder Chelsea Kingston scored the lone goal for the Colonials in the 65′.

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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