Colonials prepare for road trip, upcoming conference matches

For any student athlete, the ability to balance both athletics and schoolwork is essential, especially when the players are constantly traveling. Take the Robert Morris women’s soccer team for example, who play nine of its first 11 regular season matches on the road.

“It’s all about balancing athletics and schoolwork,” explained senior midfielder Lauren Thomas. “This is my fourth year so I know how to balance both, but it’s especially hard for the freshmen because they are new to everything. It’s a difficult but rewarding experience.”

After winning three of its first five matches, the Colonials split a recent road trip to Washington D.C., defeating American University but falling to George Washington 5-1. RMU continues their current seven game road trip, traveling to Saint Francis University before returning home on October 2 to play host to the Sacred Heart Pioneers.

The September 25 contest against the Saint Francis Red Flash marks the start of Northeast Conference play for Robert Morris.

“Our main focus is on conference play,” explained Thomas.  “Syracuse is a huge team and those games are important for our record but conference games are what we work for.”

Despite a 6-11-2 record in 2010, RMU was picked to finish eighth in the NEC coaches’ preseason poll this year.

“Getting picked eighth in the preseason poll is motivation because we are known as the underdogs and what better way to come out and do things people are not expecting us to do,” forward Ayana Davis stated. “We have a surprise for those who don’t believe we can get to the playoffs this year.”

Davis also believes that the colonials are a more talented team this season. “I feel the team’s strength is the fact that we are able to put the ball in the back of the net because we had a lot of trouble with that last year.”

One thing that Thomas believes is different from her previous years playing at Robert Morris is the fact that the Colonials are never in a bind if a player gets hurt. “If there are injuries we have a deep bench. Everyone can play everywhere and it’s never been like that before on this team,” commented the Wheeling, West Virginia native. “Defenders can play forward and forwards can play defense. Everyone’s offensively and defensively minded. This year is the first year that that has ever happened.”

Although the ultimate goal of the Robert Morris women’s soccer program is to win the conference tournament, according to Thomas, this is not their only goal. “Overall the goal for us is just to be a good team and to have respect for each other and to get along. Have fun with it because once a college sport becomes a job it’s no fun anymore.”