LORETTO, PA– After a 0-1-1 homestand, the Robert Morris women’s soccer team (4-8-2, 2-3-1 NEC) looks to improve in the Northeast Conference standings as they travel to Loretto, Pennsylvania, to take on in-state rivals Saint Francis (4-8-1, 3-3 NEC).
The Colonials aim to rebound after going 0-1-1 in the last homestand which saw them take on two of the top teams in the conference. They fell 1-0 to Sacred Heart (7-5-2, 4-1-1 NEC) while playing an impressive game that ended in a 0-0 draw against conference-leading Fairleigh Dickinson (6-5-4, 5-0-1 NEC).
The Colonials have struggled on the offensive end; they’ve only scored more than one goal in two matches this season. Despite this, they have done a solid job of keeping games close and limiting the chances of their opposition, as they have never allowed more than two goals against in any match this year.
Scouting Saint Francis
The Red Flash come into this match just ahead of the Colonials in the NEC standings at 3-3-0. They are also coming off of playing both Sacred Heart and FDU, just like RMU, but they went 0-2-0 and lost by one goal in both of them. The Red Flash also have the dubious statistic of having not won a game at home this season, they are 0-6-0 which includes their last two matches.
Saint Francis looks to change that before they head on a two-game road trip. SFU’s weakness is definitely their defensive end, as they have only held their opponents to one goal or less three times this season. On the flip side, they have only been held scoreless twice this season and have played some tough opponents, including Buffalo (6-6-1, 3-3-0 MAC), VCU (7-5-2, 1-4-1 Atlantic 10) and won a game against Air Force (8-4-1, 3-3-0 Mountain West).
Players to Watch
Courtney Hurey (RMU)
As stated earlier, the Colonials’ defense has easily been the strongest part of the team this year and a lot of that credit goes to Hurey. A sophomore, Hurey plays a staunch and solid defensive game and has become a leader for RMU on the back end. She has started every game for the Colonials this season and has played 90 minutes or more in 10 of those. Hurey played a very strong game against Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday, breaking up two grade A opportunities to keep it a scoreless affair.
Kristina Kelly (RMU)
While the points haven’t come this season for Kristina Kelly, she has had a big impact in nearly every match this season from the midfield for the Colonials. Kelly, now a senior, has struggled to get back to her sophomore year form where she exploded for nine goals and 25 points in 2017, as she only has two goals for four points this year. Still, she has stepped into a solid defensive role and is one of the strongest ball-movers in midfield. Kelly has also been a force in driving and creating opportunities; she has attempted at least one shot in every game this season and has gotten at least one shot on goal in her past five matches. Kelly has also played nearly every minute in the Colonials’ season, only missing four minutes of action this season.
Alyssa McGhee (SFU)
While many teams have relied on freshman or sophomore scorers this season, the senior, Alyssa McGhee, has taken over as the Red Flash’s most potent scorer. McGhee entered NEC play with one goal and one assist. She has since increased those totals to eight goals and two assists. McGhee has particularly exploded recently, potting an incredible six goals in her last four matches. The Colonials will have their hands full trying to put an end to McGhee’s current goal-scoring streak, though it’s essential for them to do so if they want to be victorious.
It’s getting close to crunch time in the NEC standings for this season. Both teams really need a victory to help their chances of reaching the NEC Tournament, so I expect both teams to really put their all into this one. It’s the hot Saint Francis offense facing the tight RMU defense in what will likely be a close game. I’ll take RMU 1-0 in an entertaining affair.