The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

Late First-Half Goal Sees Women’s Soccer Fall to Northern Kentucky

The Colonials’ four-game unbeaten streak has snapped after the loss Sunday afternoon. Photo credit: Samantha Dutch

MOON TOWNSHIP— It was a difficult afternoon for the Robert Morris women’s soccer as the 2nd place team in the Horizon League fell 1-0 to Northern Kentucky.

Northern Kentucky entered this match tied for 6th in the Horizon League with a record of 2-2-3 in league play but riding on a two-game win streak. And they didn’t slow down.

It was a fairly even first half of play. The Colonials came out hot, pressing high and winning possession off a few loose balls from the Norse defense, but no real chances came from it. Then, it was NKU’s turn. The Norse started pressing high and held their defensive line almost in the Colonials’ half.

“I thought NKU left a lot of space in behind their back four, and we didn’t really do a good job at exploiting that space.” Coach Chris Shaw commented.

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Robert Morris found it hard to counter, with Northern Kentucky’s high line jumping every ball played up.

“I thought that first half, today, was the worst half of soccer that we’ve played all year,” Coach Shaw said. “The effort and the intensity, it just wasn’t there. And NKU, you know, they always bring that intensity.”

And the Norse intensity showed. Robert Morris squeaked out a chance with a beautiful build-up but fluffed the shot after a cut back from Lidia Nduka. But that would be the end of chances for the Colonials in the 1st, as the game continued to be filled with sloppy turnovers and fouls.

“I hate giving away silly fouls,” Coach Shaw said. “I mean we want our players to be aggressive, but they’ve gotta temper that aggressiveness with being intelligent.”

A lapse in player judgment cost the Colonials dearly, as another giveaway gave Northern Kentucky space forward and a beautiful through ball found the feet of sophomore forward Shannon Crogan, who beat outrushing Colonial keeper Brenna Murray and slotted the ball into the empty net.

The Colonials saw the rest of the half out and went into halftime in familiar territory, 1-0 down.

“We talked about that [NKU’s intensity] at halftime… I thought the second half was a completely different game.”

It starkly contrasted the Colonials we saw in the first half. In the first 30 seconds of the 2nd half, RMU won a freekick, which forward Renae Mohrbacher flicked off a defender for a corner, which was cleared out of play—just a sign of things to come.

Robert Morris tallied 12 total shots, eight of which came in the second half. NKU shot-stopper Mckayla Kowalski had six saves. Robert Morris did press, but couldn’t find a way through. The Norse didn’t go away though. Robert Morris continued to give away fouls and the Norse came close on a couple.

Coach Shaw recognized NKU’s threat.

“I think NKU is very much a team that lives on set pieces, free kicks, and corners, they have a long throw. They got some big kids! So the more set pieces you give them the more opportunities they have.”

Northern Kentucky almost capitalized off one of those opportunities as a flick off a defender on a free kick landed just outside the eighteen-yard box, and landed to the foot of Lilly Yordy, a junior defender, who smashed it past Murray but was called offside.

The Colonials persevered, with a chance coming off a nice 1-2 between forwards Mohrbacher and Paloma Swankler.

“We made a change with Paloma [up top], because Paloma’s very athletic and we felt like she could get behind more,” Coach Shaw explained.

Their chance came from the movement of the sophomore forward. Unfortunately, Mohrbacher’s shot was stuffed by a defender, the story of the game for the Colonials.

The Colonials couldn’t generate any late drama and saw their four-game unbeaten run come to a close.

“I told them we’re not good enough to show up for 45 minutes and expect good results. We have to play for 90, and today we put in 45 and fully expect that to change against IUPUI on Saturday,” Shaw said.

You can watch the Colonials try to rebound and celebrate their seniors against IUPUI this Saturday, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. at the North Athletic Complex or on ESPN+.

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