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Robert Morris digs in deep to top Bucknell, 3-2

Photo courtesy Robert Morris Athletics

File Photo Courtesy Robert Morris Athletics

Robert Morris men’s soccer team picked up a victory in their first road contest of the season, beating Bucknell, 3-2. The Colonials are now 2-0-1 to start the season and the Bison are now 1-2.

“We are delighted with the result and the start of our season. Bucknell gave us all we could handle in the second half,” Head Coach Jonathan Potter said.

“Our team dug deep to get the result.”


Early on in the match, both teams shared chances. It was back and forth action as it mainly stayed that way through the whole game.

The Colonials first best chance came in the 7th minute, as RMU had the ball in their own end. Gabe Norris made a wonderful backheel pass to Victor Koah, starting the breakout play. Koah carried the ball ahead and found Anass Hadran into space but the Moroccan was unfortunately called offsides.

Just a minute later, Bucknell came the other way down the right side. They recorded their first shot on goal with a low strike from outside the 18-yard box. Freshman goalkeeper Kieran Gorgenyi then made his first stop of the game.

Similar to the play RMU made in the 7th minute, this time it was onside as Anass Hadran found Kai McLoughlin in open space. The Australian made his chance count, hammering home the ball into the bottom left corner, giving the Colonials a 1-0 lead on the road, in the 17th minute.

Shortly after, in the 25th minute, a ball was crossed into Bucknell’s box. The Bison’s goalie Freddie Lapworth looked to have control of the ball as he jumped in the air to catch it, but as he fell to the ground the ball was loose. Gabe Norris followed through on the play, took a touch after Lapworth let it go, and tapped it in to extend RMU’s lead.

After two goals were scored in their first 25 minutes, both sides made four substitutions each. RMU kept up the pressure as they earned three corner kicks over the next four minutes. Once the ball got back into RMU’s end, an opposing player was fouled by Evan LaMarca in RMU’s box, awarding Bucknell with a penalty kick. On the PK, Kieran Gorgenyi guessed the correct side of Charlie Holmes’ shot, but Holmes’ strike was well placed, bringing Bucknell within one.

The Colonials knew two goals wouldn’t be enough, so senior forward Chase Gilley took care of that just five minutes later. Nolan Hutter coming down the right side whipped in a cross, finding Gilley in the six-yard box. Gilley headed the ball in, and RMU got back up 3-1.

With time winding down in the first half, Bucknell earned a corner kick with just about 10 seconds left. Cade McGrath hurried to take the corner kick and crossed one in. The ball bounced around and found its way to the goal line. The Bison would’ve added a goal at the buzzer if it weren’t for sophomore William Dodzi Afawubo making a terrific, athletic play to bicycle kick the ball away from the net.

In the second half, Bucknell really brought all they had. In the 52nd minute, they scored a crucial goal off a set piece. Ben Sheffield scored off a diving header, similar to Gilley’s goal that happened late in the first half.

Over the next 38 minutes, it was clear Bucknell was pushing numbers forward to try and tie the game, and RMU’s number one objective was to not let another chance occur to preserve the victory.

In the 66th minute, Hugo Kadima subbed in for his first game of the season. The tall French forward almost scored, as he was falling over in the box he peppered a shot towards the top left corner that just went a few inches wide.

RMU held strong defensively to finish out the game and earn a result. Bucknell took three more shots but couldn’t get any open looks and hit one towards Gorgenyi. The freshman keeper didn’t have to make another save, and the Colonials pulled away, winning 3-2.

17′ – Goal: Kai McLoughlin (1), Assisted by: Anass Hadran (1)
25′ – Goal: Gabe Norris (2)

32′ – Goal: Charlie Holmes (2, PK)
37′ – Goal: Chase Gilley (1), Assisted by: Nolan Hutter (1)
52′ – Goal: Ben Sheffield (1), Assisted by: MJ Kuczura (1), Marco Valentic (1)

It’s no surprise that Chase Gilley scored his first goal of the season at such an important time. The senior forward scored his third career game-winning goal for RMU, as he did so twice in the 2022 season. Out of Denver, N.C., Chase has now scored eight goals as a Colonial. He’s produced 18 points so far at RMU.

Both teams didn’t get too many shots on goal but RMU took advantage of their chances. With three shots on goal, RMU scored on all of them. Bucknell recorded three shots on goal and Gorgenyi made one save. The Bison got more attention from the refs as they made 18 fouls, compared to the Colonials 12. Therefore, Bucknell received three yellow cards and only one was issued to RMU. In the offensive zones, RMU earned six corner kicks and Bucknell had eight.

The Bison are led by Head Coach Dave Brandt, who coached the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in 2016 and 2017.

Hounds make stunning coaching change; Lilley replaces ineligible Brandt

Brandt resigned following the 2017 season, and moved on to coach at Hope College in Michigan from 2018-21, where Brandt took over a winless club mid-season and then helped the Riverhounds win six games over the remainder of the campaign. The following season, the side finished 8-12-12 for 36 points, a 44 percent improvement over the previous year.

Brandt returned to his Division III roots in 2018, when he was appointed head coach at Hope College. He inherited a team that had been 22-32-4 over the previous three seasons, and during his four-year tenure the Flying Dutchmen posted a 44-14-6 (.734) record. The team made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019 and won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title in the spring of 2021.

The Bison finished 3-12-1 in Brandt’s first season at the helm in Lewisburg.

In 23 seasons as a college head coach, including previous stints at Messiah and Navy, Brandt has compiled a career coaching record of 357-98-42 (.761).

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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