Men’s soccer primed for success

The Robert Morris men’s soccer team came into camp this year not expecting such an early exit and possibly a playoff appearance. They ended the season 9-7-2, with a 5-3-2 record in conference play.

The Colonials do have experience on the stat sheet. Miro Cabrilo, sophomore forward, scored four goals last year, which will be tops for the current roster. Sophomore forward Prince Samuels, led the Colonials in assists with four last year; he contributed eight points all of last season.

As offense transitions to defense, both sides of the ball are imperative and two players in particular anchor the defense, which gave up 15 goals last season.

Justin Turnley, a senior defenseman/mid-fielder, is one of eight seniors and is one of only three who play defense. Turnley contributed one point last year, but was an integral part to keeping the Colonials competitive in a tough Northeast Conference.

The next player highlighted is their goaltender, Toba Bolaji. As a junior this year, he hopes to continue his success and become a leader in the proverbial “clubhouse”.

“Last year was definitely a good season concerning my performance, and more importantly, the team’s performance,” said Bolaji. “I’m excited about just being more of a leader on my team and doing what I can do in helping my team succeed.”

Bolaji’s statistics were impressive for any goalie. He sported a .910 goals-against-average, 15 goals against and started all 16 games for the Colonials; six of them being shutouts.

RMU finished fourth in the conference standings last year, but fell short of a playoff spot. Monmouth, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (PA) finished first, second and third respectively. Monmouth and Sacred Heart defeated the Colonials last season, but the Colonials defeated Saint Francis (PA) in the season finale on home turf.

Their non-conference schedule shows signs of difficulty. RMU opens up with two Big East opponents in its first three games before heading to New York for the Mayor’s Cup.

“I believe we will able to compete with every team we play, in and out of conference play, and come up with some big victories,” said Bolaji.

If there is one flaw in RMU’s game, it is there performance on the road. At home, the Colonials posted a 7-1 record, but on the road, they were 0-4-2.

If Bill Denniston, RMU men’s soccer coach, were to have it differently, he would prefer it be balance both home and on the road. “No, I think some of it is you are used to your field,” said Denniston. “You are used to your surface and the size of the field and we know exactly every bounce and where the soft spots are.”

Denniston continued by saying, “We had a lot of difficulty with the turf of other fields. I like our home and away schedule this year, so I feel we will be better on the road this year.”

RMU hosts Monmouth and Sacred Heart, both teams they lost to the previous season, but are on the road against St. Francis (PA). If their schedule has any indication, expect a very competitive Colonials team this season.