Weekend Round-Up: 2/28-3/1/2020

Nathan Breisinger, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP — For Robert Morris sports, it was a weekend with many triumphs, but also a few tribulations. One Colonial sports team clinched the number one seed in their conference, whereas another team fell several spots in the standings to finish the regular season.

Men’s basketball clinches number one seed for NEC postseason

Saturday afternoon at the UPMC Events Center was a special one, as not only was it senior day, but the Robert Morris men’s basketball team (17-14, 13-5 NEC) knocked off Saint Francis (PA) (20-9, 13-5 NEC) to earn the number one seed in this year’s NEC Tournament. The Colonials defeated their local rivals, 78-68, to end a nine-game losing skid against the Red Flash.

RMU began the contest red hot as they finished the first half with 45 points. They were up by as much as 14 points at one point in the half. The Colonials shot 53.3% from behind the arc in the first frame, which was led by Josh Williams, who sank three of his own three-pointers in the half.

In the second half, the Colonials extended their lead to as many as 17 points over Saint Francis. In the end, RMU was able to withstand a late rally by the Red Flash as they finished them off 78-68. Josh Williams finished the afternoon with 23 points to lead the Colonials

The team will now take on Saint Francis Brooklyn (13-17, 7-11 NEC) in a quarterfinals matchup at the UPMC Events Center on Wednesday.

Men’s and Women’s hockey struggle in the final weekend of the regular season

The RMU women’s hockey team (19-11-4, 13-5-2 CHA) split their weekend series against Syracuse (13-19-2, 11-7-2) to finish off the regular season.

In the first matchup, the two teams skated to a scoreless first period, but Kyleigh Hanzlik broke the ice for the Colonials to make it 1-0. Michaela Boyle would then make it 2-0 on an empty netter to seal the deal for the team. Raygan Kirk stopped 38 shots on the evening for her fourth shutout of the season.

On Saturday, the Colonials would fall 4-2 in their season finale. Lexi Templeman and Anjelica Diffendal found the back of the net for RMU. However, the Orange got the go-ahead goal with seven minutes left in the game and never looked back.

Although the Colonials went even on the weekend, the team clinched the second seed in the College Hockey America conference.

As for the men’s team (11-18-5, 11-12-5 AHA), they would drop both games this weekend to Niagara (12-18-4, 12-12-4 AHA).

On Friday, RMU was dominated by the Purple Eagles, 5-0. Niagara was able to pile on four goals in the second period en route to their victory. Head Coach Derek Schooley started the game with Reid Cooper in net but removed him after letting in those four-second period goals.

In the second game, Schooley gave Justin Kapelmaster the start in net, however, he would go on to let in four goals himself. The Colonials fell in this one 5-2. RMU received both goals from Nick Prkusic in the losing effort. The Colonials allowed three goals on the penalty kill during the contest.

Men’s and women’s lacrosse both claim victories on the weekend

The men’s lacrosse team (2-2) hosted High Point University (1-5) and defeated them 15-11.

The Colonials and the Panthers traded goals back and forth throughout the first two periods. However, the Colonials pulled ahead by three goals to start the final frame as Austin Popovich added two tallies of his own to make it 10-7 in favor of RMU. After that the game was well-balanced, but the Colonials were able to outlast the Panthers 15-11.

Popovich and Brandon Sulhoff paced the Colonials with four goals each, whereas Jake Boudreau led the team with six total points.

For the women’s team (3-1) they took down the Bucknell Bison (2-4) at Joe Walton Stadium on Saturday by a final score of 11-8.

RMU got off to a slow start, as the Bison outscored the Colonials 7-4 in the first half. On the other hand, Robert Morris would hold Bucknell to just one goal in the second half.

Melanie Gandy led the Colonials with six points, including three goals. She had two goals during their comeback run in the second half. Mackenzie Gandy also helped the team to victory with her own four points and two goals.

RMU softball claims two victories in Seahawk Softball Challenge

Once again, the softball team (6-8) spent a weekend down south, this time in Wilmington, North Carolina, where they went 2-3 on the weekend.

The Colonials took on the University of North Carolina Wilmington (4-14) for two games as they dropped the first game 6-5 on Friday, but bounced back on Sunday to win 6-5. Taryn Miller drove in five runs against the Seahawks including a two-RBI double in their victory.

RMU also played Marist College (6-8) twice this weekend. On Friday, the Colonials took down the Red Foxes 9-4. The team scored eight runs in the third inning as Briana Bunner drove in a run on a double, but later she would hit a home run that would extend the Colonials lead. On Saturday, the Colonials fell 3-1.

Finally, the team played the Toledo Rockets (9-4) on Saturday and were dominated as they lost 13-1. Natalie Higgins drove in the teams only run with a double.

After going 2-3 on the weekend, the team now sits at 6-8 in non-conference play.

Overall, Robert Morris athletics saw some teams claim their season-ending positioning in their standings, whole other teams continue their early season of nonconference action.