Colonials blanked again, Northern Kentucky wins sixth straight

Bryan+Akongo+attempts+to+break+into+the+box+against+Northern+Kentucky.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

Bryan Akongo attempts to break into the box against Northern Kentucky. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

CANONSBURG, Pa.– Despite heavy rain outside, things were plenty dry inside the Southpointe Fieldhouse as men’s soccer took on Northern Kentucky in search of their second win overall and second consecutive win at home.

Unfortunately for Robert Morris, a strong defensive first half did not translate to the second half as the Colonials (1-4-1, 1-4-1 Horizon) fell to the Norse (6-1, 6-1) who won their sixth straight on the strength of two second-half goals.

Head coach Jason O’Keefe was not disappointed in the loss and didn’t see a change from the first half to the second half, but mentioned the little things that cost them the game.

“I didn’t see much go wrong [in the second half], but [Northern Kentucky] is a great team,” O’Keefe said. “Everyone will look at the score and think there was a difference in the second half, but I didn’t see a difference. I did see [Northern Kentucky] be more aggressive, I think they thought they could cruise against us, but we played tough and had a good effort.”

RMU had a quick start, imposing much of the pressure through the early minutes and receiving a corner kick at 2′. Unfortunately, the subsequent shot attempt by Jon Faynik was blocked by Northern Kentucky.

Bryan Akongo had an open chance at 9′, breaking into the zone. He set it up for Gustaf Moberg, who fanned on his bicycle kick attempt.

NKU had its best chance early on around 14′ as Stian Jørgensen had a wide-open opportunity in front, but a huge save by Mike Zolnierczyk kept the game scoreless and drew loud cheers from RMU’s bench.

The Colonials had two moments of extended pressure in the box at 25′ and 31′, respectively, not converting on two cross chances. Northern Kentucky spent some time in the box at 32′, also not cashing in on their chance.

Quickly after, Robert Morris once again came tantalizingly close to scoring but did not. Riccardo Rota had a fast break, and after a cut-back, fired the ball wide of the net. A cross chance followed with both Akongo and Tom Akinola nearly burying the ball but Norse goaltender Daniel Bermingham made the save as the teams played the rest of the half scoreless.

The second half was a bit different for the Colonials. An embattled first 15 minutes of the half passed before NKU had a chance in the box at 59′. Deryn Armstrong fired two consecutive shots, and after a third shot that went wide, Zolnierczyk emerged with two saves.

The Colonials rushed back down the pitch, and had a chance when the ball came to an open Bryan Akongo outside the box at 63′. He drilled a shot that hit an RMU player and went wide.

Deryn Armstrong hit the post before converting five minutes after he did so on a cross by Sam Robinson. Armstrong headed it in and NKU broke the scoreless deadlock, making it 1-0 Norse.

Armstrong once again was involved in a Norse goal as he blasted a shot off the post at 81′ that came directly to Dylan Bufton, who only had to tap it in as the Norse doubled their lead, leading 2-0.

Despite one more chance to score, the Colonials were blanked once again this season, having a scoreless rest of the second half. Mike Zolnierczyk did all he could against the 19 shots NKU attempted, making seven saves on nine shots on goal as the Colonials fell 2-0. David Bermingham stopped all three shots on goal for the Colonials.

Robert Morris will play again in two weeks at the Southpointe Fieldhouse against Wright State at 10:00 a.m. after their trip to Detroit Mercy for next week was canceled.