Robert Morris Season Ends to Oakland in Penalty Kicks


The Colonials season ends in Rochester Hills, Mich., after falling to Oakland in penalties in the opening round of the Horizon League Tournament Photo credit: Samantha Dutch

Finn Lyons

Coming off their 5-0 win over IUPUI, the Robert Morris Colonials (6-8-2, 4-3-2 Horizon) traveled to Rochester Hills, Mich., to take on the Oakland Golden Grizzles (5-9-4, 4-2-3) in the first round of the Horizon League playoffs.

This was Robert Morris’ second consecutive Horizon League Tournament appearance in many years.

In the 8th minute, Chase Gilley would get the first goal of the playoffs for the Colonials, his tally assisted by Charlie Lawrence.

The goal for Robert Morris shifted the tide, but not in their favor. The Golden Grizzles would gain significant offensive pressure, and the pressure in the 16th minute was too much for the Colonials as William Dodzi Afawubo would receive a straight red card, bringing the Colonials down to 10 men.

Following the red card, the Colonials could not get any real possession in the offensive zone, goaltender Fredrich Petrilli came up big multiple times with multiple diving saves to keep Robert Morris in the lead at the half.

Friedrich Petrelli had 12 saves in the loss to Oakland (Photo by Samantha Dutch)

Coming out of the break, the Colonials looked better, but they still had a difficult time keeping in the offensive zone, but they had an easier time keeping it away from their own net.

Oakland would finally capitalize on the Colonial mistakes with a goal by Gabriel Baylon from Dawsun Schrum. Just like that, in the 66th minute in the second half tied the game.

The Colonials would continue to be bombarded by the Golden Grizzles but key saves by Petrilli and some key blocks by the defense near the net would keep the game tied, forcing overtime.

The first overtime would play out much like regulation time, and in the 95th minute, Charlie Retzer put one behind Petrilli to take a 2-1 lead.

The second overtime featured the Colonials putting the pressure on in the offensive zone. This pressure would lead to a Lucas Shearer goal on a free kick that would tie the game at 2-2.

In the dying seconds, Oakland would get the ball in the back of the net but was deemed offside to force penalty kicks.

Senior goalkeeper Mike Zolnierczyk was subbed in for the Colonials in the penalty shootout.

The Colonials had two opportunities to win the game after the previous Oakland shooter had missed.

But it was in round nine that would turn out to be the final round as Jack Klomparens scored for Oakland, and Jacob Haskins missed for the Colonials for a chance to extend it.

Oakland moves on and will travel to Cleveland State, while the Colonials finish the season in heartbreaking fashion.

Goaltender Friedrich Petrelli talked about team cohesion and how they plan to build on their success this year, heading into next with almost the same core.

“We’ve got such a close group, like a family.” Petrelli said, “I trust my life with every person on that team. Unfortunately losing a few guys, only two, so we’ll stay together and have more guys. The comradery is the best I’ve ever seen on a team. I’m very grateful for this team. Everybody is putting in the work, nobody is slacking off. It’s really impressive.”

Head coach Jason O’Keefe talked about how proud he was of his team for getting this far and pushing Oakland to the penalty shootout.

“Proud of everything getting to back-to-back playoffs after a bit of drought is always nice. We really had the ambition to win our first Horizon League Tournament game. Couldn’t be more proud of the amount of effort they showed, with the amount of adversity they faced to just keep answering the bell, answering the bell, keep executing, keep getting everything we could out of the game.”

The Colonials will be back with a vengeance at the North Athletic Complex in 2023