Year In Review: 2020 Robert Morris Sports

Credit%3A+Nathan+Breisinger

Credit: Nathan Breisinger

By Nathan Breisinger, Social Media Director

2020 was a year like no other. The United States has dealt with an ongoing global pandemic, which shut down the country in March, tensions in the streets were heightened to a new level, and a bitter presidential election took place, just to name a few of the hardships Americans faced.

It was undoubtedly a tough and draining year for everyone, and these 12 infamous months will go down in history.

As people looked for hope in a dim time period, many turned to sports to ease their nerves. Professional sports made a comeback in late July, while collegiate athletics made a return at the beginning of September.

Robert Morris athletics were impacted heavily by COVID-19 forcing them, like many others, to halt all sporting activities for the time being.

It was just days before Pennsylvania’s shutdown where the Robert Morris men’s basketball team punched their ticket to the big dance in March Madness, as they defeated Saint Francis University in the NEC Championship Game. A 77-67 victory over the Red Flash in front of a sold-out UPMC Events Center crowd, with the student section rushing the court at the final buzzer, made for a marvelous ending to a shortened 2019-20 season.

While the men’s basketball team clinched their ninth NCAA Tournament berth, the women’s basketball team was working towards its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance.

The women’s basketball team added a piece of hardware before the season abruptly ended as the Colonials were crowned NEC regular-season champions for the eighth time following a nearly perfect 17-1 record.

In the NEC postseason tournament, the Colonials took down Wagner in the opening round before their semifinal game against Sacred Heart was canceled.

As the basketball team’s battled in their postseason tournaments, both hockey teams were competing in their respective tournaments.

The men’s hockey team finished their regular season as the seventh seed in Atlantic Hockey play. The Colonials took down Holy Cross in three games to advance to the semifinals for the seventh year in a row, however, their matchup with Sacred Heart was also shelved due to COVID-19.

Although many teams failed to complete their seasons in 2020, the RMU women’s hockey team achieved that goal, which in hindsight is a great feat, but it ended on a low.

Following a semifinal victory against Syracuse, women’s hockey heartbreakingly lost to Mercyhurst as they fell 2-1 in overtime.

Similar to the other athletic programs, both lacrosse teams saw their seasons cut short just weeks after it began. The women’s lacrosse team commenced another strong start to a season with a 5-2 record, while the men’s lacrosse team was in search of their third straight conference championship with a 4-2 record to begin their short schedule.

The track and field squad completed their indoor season as they finished ninth out of 11 teams at the NEC Conference Championships in February. Just a month later the team saw its outdoor season get canned due to the global pandemic.

Softball competed in its tournament season in late winter as they traveled to four different invitationals while putting together an 8-11 record. As they aimed to open up home play against Niagara, their season was also eliminated.

The Robert Morris golf team managed to squeeze in one tournament in 2020 before disaster struck in mid-March, as they participated in the Lonnie Barton Invitational in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida. The Colonials finished seventh out of 13 participants, while Kyle Grube placed second amongst the individuals.

As the student-athletes and RMU faithful awaited the return of sports, Robert Morris Athletics made a major announcement in June in hopes to grow the program and allow their teams to reach new heights.

Robert Morris joined the Horizon League with eight of its teams competing within the conference including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and softball.

Football joined the Big South Conference and women’s lacrosse joined the Mid-American Conference as affiliate teams.

Before the Horizon League tenure could begin for RMU, men’s hockey marked the first Colonials team to return to action as they did so on November 21st against Alabama-Huntsville, which took place 258 days after their last contest. Since then, the men’s hockey team has gone on to a 6-3 start to its season.

Women’s hockey has also returned to the ice looking to avenge their loss from the CHA finals from earlier in 2020 as they begin 4-0 on the season.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams finally returned to the hardwood after weeks of setbacks due to COVID-19 protocols. The men’s team started its Horizon League era with a win over Purdue-Fort Wayne where they notched 102 points. The women’s team has yet to record a win in Horizon League play as they sit at 0-4 on the young season.

While both basketball teams began their time in the Horizon League, the remainder of the RMU teams who compete in the Horizon League saw their fall seasons get postponed, along with football being postponed until the spring in the Big South.

Although it has been an unforgiving year, sports have continued to be normal for fans, even with a long hiatus in between games. From the bright-shining championship moments to the return of athletic action, 2020 has been a long ride that has finally come to a wrap.