RMU earns first win of the season in comeback win versus Howard


Photo credit: Katey Ladika

Logan Carney

Robert Morris University men’s soccer defeated Howard University Sunday after scoring two goals within the last 10 minutes to pull away with a 2-1 victory and finishing their non-conference slate with a 1-7-2 record.

The first half was uneventful, as both teams failed to score and only tallied three shots each.

It was the second half that featured all of the action.

At the 50:28 mark, Marcus Johnson for the Howard Bison scored the first goal of the game. That goal was also the first of the season for Johnson. Howard, however, would not get another shot off for the rest of the game.

The game continued with Robert Morris having a lot of great scoring chances, but it wasn’t until the 80:20 mark that the Colonials would score to tie it up. That goal was scored by Zac Sherman.

“It’s nice to turn around and do well at the end of the game instead of coming out on fire and not being able to keep that pressure up,” Sherman said. “It’s great to finish the game strong like that and get a win.”

With the score now tied 1-1 late in the game, it appeared as the Colonials were set for their fourth overtime game of the season. That was until Robert Morris’ leading scorer Bayley Winkel scored his seventh goal of the season at the 86:47 mark.

“One of the things we had to work on was not hanging our heads and keep going at it. That’s what we did today, you know fifteen minutes left and we’re still losing,” Winkel said. “To score two goals in the last ten minutes of the game, it’s exactly what we need to change and it’s great to do that before conference.”

The Colonials held that lead to the end and pulled away with their first win of the year. Coach Bill Denniston talked about the psychological tool a stretch and a game like this can have on players.

“We needed it,” Denniston said. “I mean when we were losing and there was twenty minutes to play and they only had four shots. I’ve been doing this my whole life, I’m starting to think, not again. I’m believing that. Then the guys found some energy and scored twice. I think we really needed that psychologically.”

A stretch like that can be a tough thing to come out of, but no matter when that first win of the season comes, it can be a relieving feeling for the team.

“It’s a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. Everybody loves winning and everybody hates losing, and we haven’t experienced a win yet. It’s kind of new to us this season and we’re just going to enjoy it and hopefully keep going,” said Winkel about getting their first win.

The team will enjoy their first win of the season but now turns their focus to the start of conference play.

“Right now, I think this win was huge,” Sherman said. “I think it’s very important that we got this win before conference play, and I think our heads are up and we’re ready to start next weekend.”

Sherman isn’t the only one who is excited for the start of conference games. Winkel is also ready and is already thinking about their first conference game against Central Connecticut on Friday, Sept. 6 on the road.

“Now that we have the win, we have momentum. We want to win every game. Central Connecticut is our first game and the only one that matters right now. We think we’re a better team. We’re hoping to win that game and keep going,” said Winkel.

Even though they currently sit with a 1-7-2 record, there are some things that the Colonials have done better this season as opposed to last. That includes a significant increase in offense, as they still have yet to be shutout on the season.

“Part of (the increase) is experience,” Denniston said. “Last year was Bayley’s first year. Keane (McIvor) is a senior now. We’re playing a little differently, not through our center forward. We haven’t gotten a ton of goals from that position although Sherman scored today up front. I just think that it’s the way we’re playing. We’re trying to press the ball forward a little bit, and we didn’t do that last year.”

The team ended their non-conference slate of games with a 1-7-2 record. That being said, they still have a positive mindset and enter conference play at 0-0 in the NEC. That’s where the games truly matter.

“I think we’re going to be alright,” said Denniston. “Now, the goal is to be in the top four. I don’t think we’re the top team, but I certainly think we can be one of the top four. That’s for sure.”