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RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

New Coaches, Important Returnees: Previewing 2024 Women’s Lacrosse Season

Photo credit: Cam Wickline

It is looking to be a fresh and exciting season for Robert Morris women’s lacrosse, as after long-term head coach Katrina Silva stepped down, the Colonials quickly named Courtney Grove as her successor.

Grove spent the last ten years coaching Seton Hill’s women’s lacrosse program.

“It was an opportunity to stay in the area. I’ve always followed RMU, I played at Duquesne in college and of course being at Seton Hill the last ten years, I’ve always been in the area. So RMU, I’ve always had interest in,” Grove said about taking the job.

“In regards to their program, they’re always challenging every team they play, so when the opportunity was there it was a no brainer.”

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Following Grove will be newly dubbed associate coach Emma Simmers, a Pittsburgh native. She has assisted Grove for the last five years at Seton Hill and will continue her role here.

“[Simmers] brings a ton of knowledge, defensively, offensively, in the midfield. Her and I have been together for ten plus years as well,” Grove praised. “Emma is a competitor and she brings that to this staff and to the team.”

A key part of Coach Grove’s past teams has been their success in division play, appearing in two of the last three PSAC West conference championships and gaining entry into the NCAA Division II Tournaments. Now Grove moves to Division I, where she has a solid base to build off of and lead.

Key returnees include top scorers and point leaders Colleen Tifft and Chelsea Coleman. Tifft scored 40 goals last season, finishing just three behind Coleman with 43. The midfield duo started every game together.

Photo credit: Cam Wickline

Coleman and Tifft this season will have a new coach, but that does not appear to shake the duo.

“For us we strive to be a family, and [the coaches] have been really focused on that,” Coleman said. “Really honing in on our culture and who we are as a team, Coach Grove and Coach Emma have really done a good job on doing that for us.”

“They came in right off the bat and shifted our mindsets of it’s wins and learns,” Tifft added, “Everyday we come out here and learn something new.”

Also returning are attackers Lilli Hadden and Julia Koterwas. The pair combined for 45 goals, and Koterwas led the team in assists with 17.

On the goalkeeping side, Grove will likely turn to junior Sydney Riker. Riker sat behind graduate Jamie Keller last year, who started all 19 games. Riker appeared 10 times in 2023 for RMU and will likely have the starting job when the Colonials travel for a preseason exhibition against Ohio State.

Non-Conference Play

Robert Morris has a similar start to last season, once again taking on both the Buckeyes and Cincinnati in their first two games. The Colonials will also face Boston College for the first time.

Then a series of road games for RMU begins, traveling to Bucknell, St. Francis, George Washington, Queens, and Mount St. Mary’s before returning to Joe Walton Stadium for a matchup against Canisius.

They will wrap up non-conference play against crosstown rivals Pitt and Duquesne, facing Pitt at Highmark Stadium and welcoming the Dukes at the Joe.

Conference Play

The Colonials are slated to begin Mid-American Conference (MAC) play against Akron the day after taking on Canisius on March 17.

“The MAC is going to be challenging,” Grove admitted. “There’s a lot of new coaches, a lot of changes in the MAC, so I think we’ve got to focus on the little things, the process we’re putting into place in regards to taking one game at a time.”

A road game against Kent State will follow the home matchup against the Zips. Then RMU will return home to face Detroit Mercy before traveling to face two-time reigning champion Central Michigan, the team that the Colonials fell to last season in the MAC Championship Game.

After a break in MAC play due to the “under the lights” matchup against Pitt, Robert Morris will return to MAC play against Youngstown State before breaking to face Duquesne, and then wrapping up against Eastern Michigan.

The Colonials hope to continue playing after their matchup against the Eagles on April 27, with the MAC Tournament scheduled to begin in early May.

With an important and solid majority of players returning on top of any recruits brought in by new coach Grove, it is hard to see RMU not getting another shot at a MAC title come early summer, even though the first year coach is not looking that far ahead.

“You’ve got to get through each team first, one game at a time, and every level of your game has to be on,” Grove said.

The beginning of the Colonials’ journey begins as they will take on The Ohio State Buckeyes on Feb. 9 in Columbus at 4 p.m.

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