Preview: Colonials look to bounce back from tough loss

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Preview: Colonials look to bounce back from tough loss

Nathan Galderisi, Contributor

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MOON TOWNSHIP– Robert Morris University’s men’s soccer (3-8-2, 2-2-1 NEC) suffered a tough loss last Friday in overtime against Bryant (6-5, 3-0). After two hard-fought halves, only one shot was registered in overtime. That was all that was needed as Bryant’s Alex Dacosta scored the game-winning goal. They look to come back from this in their match against St. Francis Brooklyn (6-4-1, 2-3 NEC), set to start at 1:00 p.m.

Recapping RMU

The Colonials have faced many tough opponents this year, however, they have finally started getting in stride once conference play hit. Unfortunately, the Colonials hit a roadblock last game, losing in overtime by a final score of 2-1. Riccardo Rota lead the charge for RMU in the first half, scoring their only goal in the 14th-minute. After this, however, their offense fell apart, only putting two other shots on net all game. Michael Zolnierczyk played a great game in net for RMU, saving six of eight shots on goal. While his play was great, the rest of the team looked flat after Rota’s goal. Despite taking the loss last game, they are currently fifth in the NEC with seven conference points, one point ahead of St. Francis Brooklyn.

Scouting St. Francis Brooklyn

While the Colonials hit a hot streak once conference play hit, one could argue the Terriers did the opposite. The Terriers came out hot at the start of the season, going 4-1-1 in non-conference play. However, they started off slow in NEC play, dropping three of their five games so far. The Terriers are coming off a convincing win 3-0 against Bryant, scoring two of their three goals in the first half of the game. El Mahdi Youssoufi, Rahmi Shawki, and Vicente Gallardo each scored this game, with it being Rahmi’s and Vincente’s first goals of the year. The Terriers currently sit in seventh in the NEC with six conference points.

Players to Watch

Riccardo Rota (RMU)

Riccardo has been a hot player for the Colonials this season, scoring four of the teams 10 goals this season, the most of any player on the team. He also has the second-highest shot total for the Colonials, only emphasizing their reliance on him for offense. If he gets going this game, he can lead the offense to an impressive performance, which might make all the difference this game.

Michael Zolnierczyk (RMU)

If nothing else, the key to any game is great goalkeeping. Zolnierczyk put up an impressive performance last game, despite the high volume of shots he stared down. Even though the Colonials are not ones to shy away from shaking things up in net, Zolnierczyk has been their go-to man this year, seeing over double the minutes the rest of the Colonials goaltenders have seen combined. If the Colonials are going to win this game, it will be because of an impressive performance in net.

Kieran Young (SFB)

Senior Kieran Young has been a leader for this team all season. While his impact might not register in the stats like other members of the team, one stat that does shine is his playtime. He has the highest minutes played all season for the Terriers, playing 74 minutes more than the next highest player. As a senior, he is an experienced player whom his teammates will look to for guidance in this tough matchup.

Callum James (SFB)

This freshman hasn’t hesitated one bit this season, coming on and making an immediate impact for his team. In his seven games, he has faced twenty-four shots and only allowed three of those to find the back of the net. For his team to be successful, it all has to start with him. If he starts off strong, the Colonials might never have a chance to catch back up.

Prediction

These two teams are going to make for a well-matched NEC game. With conference play already halfway through, the outcome of the game has large implications on where each of these teams will finish the season. Despite the Colonials snapping a 3-game losing streak to the Terriers last year, I think Callum James’ goaltending will make the difference for the Terriers. With all that said, the Terriers will come out on top 2-1 in a tough fought game against the Colonials which will very likely see overtime.

 

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