Preview: RMU women’s soccer seeks late-season conference win

Photo+credit%3A+Logan+Carney
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Preview: RMU women’s soccer seeks late-season conference win

Photo credit: Logan Carney

Photo credit: Logan Carney

Photo credit: Logan Carney

Photo credit: Logan Carney

Nathan Breisinger, Contributor

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NEW BRITAIN, CT — As the Robert Morris women’s soccer team (4-9-2, 2-4-1 NEC) heads down the final stretch of their season, they will make a stop in Connecticut to take on the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (7-4-4, 5-1-1 NEC). This is the middle game of a three-game road trip for RMU before returning home for the final match of the year in Moon Township.

Recapping RMU

The Colonials look to return to the win column this Friday as they have gone 0-2-1 in their last three games. The Colonials were limited to only one goal within those three games, which displays the offensive struggles that RMU has shown all season long. The team averages a goal per game on the season, that places them ninth in the NEC.

The most recent match the Colonials had was against in-state rivals Saint Francis (5-8-1, 4-3 NEC), where they lost 2-1. Close, one-goal loses have been another headline for Robert Morris this season as they have had eight of them. Brittany O’Connell notched RMU’s only tally of the match, which was unassisted. In the cage for Robert Morris, Sydney Bruckner has done a quality job at keeping her team in the game. Against the Red Flash, she made 11 saves, matching her season-high mark in that category. Her play has allowed her to be a top goalkeeper within the NEC, as she is third with a .835 save percentage and fourth with a 1.21 goals-against average.

Scouting CCSU

The Colonials will have their hands full when facing the Blue Devils, as they have proven to be one of the best squads in the conference. They sit just two points out of the top playoff spot. Also, heading to New Britain will be a tall task as the Blue Devils have not recorded a loss on their home pitch, going 5-0-1. Currently, Central Connecticut is the hottest team in the NEC with a four-game win streak, and they have not let up a goal in that stretch. The Blue Devils lead the conference with 31 goals, while the next closest team has 22.

The Blue Devils are returning home after traveling to Massachusetts to take on Merrimack College (3-11, 1-6 NEC), where they dominated with a 5-0 victory. Roma McLaughlin led the way for CCSU as she opened the scoring early just ten minutes in. Later McLaughlin would add her second of the match along with an assist. The Blue Devils would also receive goals from Allyson O’Rourke, Brianna Williams and Jamie Collimore. Central Connecticut rotated through three keepers in their shutout win.

Players to Watch

Kayla Veloso-Lima (RMU)

The freshman forward has made an impact all season long. She has started in every game this season except one and has become an important piece on this offense. Kayla has tallied three goals on the season while adding two assists. Veloso-Lima’s youthfulness and quickness will be a key factor in maintaining time and possession against CCSU, as they do not want to allow the Blue Devils’ offense from getting many chances.

Kristina Kelley (RMU)

As the seniors are heading into their final games of the season, look for them to be hungrier than ever as they’ll have an upset on their mind when they travel to take on the Blue Devils. Kelley has been a key leader throughout the season and her experience will show this Friday. She comes into the game with two goals on the season along with 14 shots on goal. Her offensive capabilities will be on display against the Blue Devils as they begin to close out their season.

Roma McLaughlin (CCSU)

As mentioned earlier, McLaughlin has been one of the most productive Blue Devil players on the pitch. Roma has registered nine goals one the season and has tallied an additional two assists. In two out of the last three games, McLaughlin has scored two goals as she continues to be pivotal to CCSU’s offensive attack. The Colonials’ defense will have to do a solid job stifling McLaughlin’s offensive chances.

Emily Hogan (CCSU)

The senior for Central Connecticut State has been a significant part of their offensive core. Hogan on the season has tallied two goals along with three assists. Her two goals came earlier this season in one game against Saint Francis Brooklyn (0-14, 0-7 NEC). She has gone on a three-game scoreless drought, so look for her to take plenty of chances against the Colonials.

Prediction

The Colonials have a tall order standing in front of them with Central Connecticut State, however, Robert Morris has done better than imagined against the other top four teams in the conference, as they were only outscored 2-0 in those three games. Scoring will definitely come at a premium in this matchup against the Blue Devils, as they have only let up 13 goals in 15 games this season. Historically, the Colonials have failed to register a goal in their last four games with CCSU. For this game, I predict history to repeat itself as the Blue Devils will shutout the Colonials 2-0 in a defensive battle that will not see any scoring until the second half.

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