The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

Woodman: What Chris Shaw’s Departure Means for Women’s Soccer

With Shaw at the helm of the most successful season in program history, where does the program go after accepting the Temple job? Photo credit: Payton Hostetler

A little over three weeks ago, Robert Morris announced that head coach women’s soccer coach Chris Shaw resigned to take a job at Temple University. Shaw, head coach for four years at RMU, had just led the team to a historic and successful season. Where does the team go with no head coach and some key players leaving?

Shaw leaves the team in a state of the question, with the team picking up a win in their first Horizon League Tournament appearance, a feat that seemed unimaginable when Shaw first took over.

With Kaoru Hayashi and Kristi Kania, two long-term starters and graduates, leaving with Shaw, the team is losing three integral pieces. Despite the losses, there may be some hope for the Colonials.

Robert Morris’ attack and mentality were a large part of their success last season. The squad has a great base and foundation to build on.

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Melina Kearns and Elisa Corvalan returning, along with freshman Shauna Gamble entering her sophomore year, will keep the midfield solid. Haleigh Finale and Renae Mohrbacher will also be returning and providing the goals. Lidia Nduka will not be back. However, it was an up-top loss for the colonial forces.

So, while Robert Morris, on paper, has what it takes to be back to their best, the question is, will the mentality be back with them?

When previewing the women’s historic matchup against Wright State in their first Horizon League postseason appearance, a prominent talking point was the attitude walking into such a huge match. Haleigh Finale spoke to the meaning of making the postseason with Coach Shaw, having been there throughout his tenure.

Defender Kristi Kania discussed the importance of trusting the culture installed: “I think that’s been our biggest obstacle, getting behind that mentality and grittiness that comes with every game and every team.”

Another crucial part of Shaw’s tenure was his recruitment. Shaw brought in the likes of Kearns, Mohrbacher, Finale, Gamble, Kania, Corvalan, Taylor Day, Jillian Marvin, Emily Rocco, and more as freshmen, making them all regular starters in his run.

Shaw has also navigated the transfer portal well. Kaoru Hayashi was brought in as a redshirt senior and left as team captain. Brenna Murray, starting keeper for the Colonials, played every game in her debut season for RMU after being brought in from UNC Charlotte. In her only season at RMU, Lidia Nduka provided a hot streak, scoring six goals in her first five games.

So, with having an excellent recruitment program, Robert Morris hasn’t been afraid and has often been great at filling holes in the portal. While Shaw has provided one more class for the Colonials, those new players will join under a new rule.

On paper, Robert Morris’s women’s soccer program has a great base and solid foundation that almost any coach would love to begin with.

While RMU has yet to name a successor to Shaw, it’s safe to say he’ll need to come in with a championship background, ready to lead this further than they’ve already achieved.

Any candidate needs to instill a new, strong mentality in these players, a “never give up” feeling that many players credited to their success last year. But also being able to recruit and bring in important players, ready to go straight into the starting eleven, also needs to be a part of any potential candidate’s background if they want to continue building off of the success Chris Shaw leaves behind.

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