Colonials struggle to find back of the net, drop first two games


Photo Credit: Katey Ladika

Sam Goldberg and Zachary Somma

MOON TOWNSHIP– RMU opened the tournament against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (1-1) out of the Horizon League. Unfortunately for the Colonials, what high hopes they had for the start of this season were quickly dashed after Oakland jumped on them early on in the first half. Freshman goalkeeper Mike Zolnierczyk got the start for the Colonials and faced a ton of pressure in his first-ever game for the club.

Coach Bill Denniston was not happy with the team’s effort out of the gate saying, “The bottom line is, [Oakland] played and worked way harder than we did.”

It only took the Grizzlies 17 minutes to get on the board, midfielder Dylan Borzak fed a nice through ball to sophomore Cameron Wilde, who put Oakland up 1-0.

The game quickly became one-sided as Oakland dominated the ball and made quick work of any RMU possessions. The Grizzlies made it 2-0 when Charlie Braithwaite scored, with Wilde getting his second point of the afternoon on the assist.

The Colonials got their first shot on net twenty-seven minutes in, but that wasn’t enough to slow down the Grizzlies offense, who continued pushing the RMU defense. Oakland forward Mikey Ketteman scored the first goal of his collegiate career after a beautiful cross by Dylan Borzak, making it 3-0 Oakland at the end of a miserable first half for the Colonials. With RMU putting up only two shots while allowing 13, changes needed to be made at halftime.

The start of the second half went better for the Colonials, as they finally picked up some momentum and had a few decent chances. However, it only took one decent possession for the Grizzlies to make it 4-0 when Borzak put up a goal, capping off an impressive three point performance. Another late goal by Oakland made the score 5-0. A late penalty shot was given to senior forward Christian Coridon, which he converted to break the shutout and score RMU’s first goal of the season.

Other than Coridon’s lone goal, goaltender Mike Zolnierczyk was a bright spot with 19 saves on 24 shots. Despite his performance, Zolnierczyk said that this game was, “a real wake up call for all of us.” On prepping for the next game, Coach Denniston said that the team’s “Work rate needs to be the biggest improvement. College soccer is a war, whoever fights the hardest wins.”

Day two of the tournament offered a pretty enticing matchup for RMU as they faced Bowling Green. Bowling Green came into the match 0-0-1, drawing to Duquesne by a final score of 1-1. For RMU, they were coming off of a loss to Oakland with a final score of 5-1. RMU also made a change at goalkeeper in this game as well, as they started Grant Grorioso.

The first half of the game started off with Bowling Green dominating the possession game, as they got off to a quick start with an early goal from Colin Iverson in the eighth minute. It was a great strike that he buried into the back of the net from close range. That goal put Bowling green up 1-0 in the contest. Then it was a back and forth matchup in the first half, with chances coming from both sides early. As the first half moved on, there was a constant possession battle, as chances from both sides occurred. These chances were handled well by both keepers. Lightning did strike twice in the first half, as with one minute to go, Chris Brennan scored off of a mistake from goalkeeper Grant Glorioso. Glorioso missed his teammate on a pass that fell right to the feet of Brennan.

The second half was better for RMU, as they had chances to score, but just could not convert on their chances. RMU in the second half came out with a fire inside of them, and it led to some early chances. They just could not put the ball into the back of the net. Robert Morris was putting on the pressure, as they had four shots early but could put them into the back of the net. As the second half moved along, it was more of the same from both teams. Both had chances that were not capitalized on. All in all, it was a better second half for RMU. The Colonials definitely won the second half in terms of chances but just could not finish them.

After the game, Captain Oeyvind Skjesol shared his thoughts on the new squad and what they need to do in order to prepare for Cleveland state. He said, “I think every one of them [freshman] are able to make an impact on the team, and that they have been sharp in practice, and so far so good with everyone.” In regards to being the captain, he stated, “that it comes natural to me and I like to take on responsibility.” Finally, Coach Bill Denniston shared his thoughts on the game, “A little better, second half was acceptable, we didn’t lose the second half”. He also added, “We have to get behind the opposition more and take more shots on goal.”