MOON TOWNSHIP– The Robert Morris women’s soccer team (0-1-1) will look to pick up its first non-conference win of the 2019-20 campaign on Saturday afternoon against the Niagara Purple Eagles (1-0). Before these two teams come together, let’s take a look at who is hot for each team, and what will provide a victory in this opening week of play.
Recapping Robert Morris
The Colonials have gotten off to a rocky start to their season in their first two contests, losing and drawing respectively. Their most recent outing saw them draw 1-1 against Purdue University Fort Wayne last Sunday in double overtime. Morgan Reitano got the go-ahead goal for the Mastodons just after the 15-minute mark, the goal was unassisted. Despite RMU’s best efforts, it took them far into the second half when Sheridan Reid evened the score at one apiece off an assist from Kayla Veloso-Lima. The two teams battled far into the two extra frames but RMU was unable to gain the victory.
The Purple Eagles have gotten off on an even keel footing to start their 2019 campaign with a 1-1 record over their first two games. Their most recent matchup on Thursday night saw them travel to the Buckeye State for a game against the University of Akron Zips.
The Zips struck first at the 17 and a half minute mark as Ashley Amato converted on a penalty kick to give Akron the 1-0 lead. But just after halftime, Niagara evened the game as standout scorer Annie Ibey pounded the ball home, with an assist going to Ida Miceli. But 18 minutes later, the Zips regained the lead for good as Aislinn Meany scored her first of the season, off an assist from Hailey Clere. With that, the Zips stayed in front and handed Niagara their first loss of the year and in non-conference play 2-1.
Players to watch
Sheridan Reid (RMU): Reid has been one of the hot starters for the Colonials despite the setbacks in their early contests. Reid has scored one of the two goals for the team so far and has a good opening shot percentage of .500%. If the Colonials want to get out to a strong offensive start and output, especially when play moves to NEC opponents, Reid will have to keep her shooting touch on point during a majority of the second half of the season.
Annie Ibey (Niagara): As mentioned, Ibey provided a major offensive spark to lift the Purple Eagles despite the loss to Akron and so far leads the team with two goals and an assist. In addition, though her shooting percentage is lower than the aforementioned Reid at .286%, her shots on goal percentage is just under .500 mark at .429%. The Colonials will need to contain the space that Ibey gets on the field and play staunch on defense as she can make RMU pay if she gets wide open in crucial scoring situations.
I feel that Reid and Ibey will be on point for both their sides and will force this game to a stalemate draw, 1-1. While I know that it may not help the Colonials in terms of win percentage, I feel that it will help develop them more to play a hard-fought style of soccer before NEC play opens up, especially if they hope to challenge for a conference title this year.