Men’s soccer stays in the playoff chase after victory over Saint Francis


Photo Credit: David Auth

Spencer Witt, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris Colonials (6-10-1, 4-4 NEC) defeated the Saint Francis Red Flash (9-4-3, 5-1-2 NEC) by a score of 1-0. The lone goal came from Owen Pearce, which kept their NEC Tournament chances alive for the Colonials.

The Colonials came into the game in a must-win situation to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. Saint Francis was already guaranteed a spot in the tournament but a win would give them a possibility of being the number one seed and hosting the tournament.

Both sides played the first half without scoring a goal. The Red Flash had six shots in the first half, with three being saved by Robert Morris goalkeeper Winter Fondi. Saint Francis goalkeeper Alex Morgret had one save.

Five minutes into the second half Robert Morris was able to strike with a goal from Senior Owen Pearce. After the long throw-in from Winter Fondi, midfielder Lorenzo Guanelli was able to lift the ball over to an unmarked Pearce, who stayed onside and beat Morgret in a 1-on-1 situation to give him his 4th goal.

The Colonials then had to hold off a Saint Francis offense that leads the NEC in goals scored during the season.

Saint Francis had six shots in the second half, with two of them being saved by Fondi. Robert Morris had eight shots themselves, including a long-range shot from Riccardo Rota that bounced off the crossbar.

Tensions flared in the final minutes of play when a foul was called on Saint Francis. Several players from both sides started pushing each other, but play soon resumed and no one was ejected.

Robert Morris earned their 4th victory to guarantee them a .500 record in NEC play, improving to 4-4 in the conference. The victory also snapped a three-game win streak for Saint Francis, who lost their first NEC conference game in their final regular season game of the year.

The game was also the final regular-season victory for five seniors for Robert Morris, who were honored prior to the game. Along with Fondi and Pearce, Kai Olguin, Mason George, and Zac Sherman were all honored before the match.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to score in my last game,” said Pearce, who scored his 4th goal of the season to give the Colonials the victory.

The pitch played a major factor in the game as well. Rain earlier in the week and weeks of play made the North Athletic Complex difficult to play on.

“With the conditions of the field today we played smart and did our best not to concede,” said Pearce.

With the victory today, Robert Morris still needed help from other teams in order to get into the NEC Tournament. The Colonials needed St. Francis Brooklyn to either lose one match or tie their final two remaining matches. The Terriers were defeated by Sacred Heart 2-1 in overtime.

Robert Morris will still need a loss from either Bryant or Farleigh Dickinson in order to make the tournament. Bryant plays LIU Brooklyn on November 2nd while Farleigh Dickinson plays Central Connecticut on November 3rd.