PREVIEW: Men’s soccer closes season in the Cream City

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Men’s soccer ventures to Milwaukee. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Jonathan Hanna, Editor-in-Chief

MILWAUKEE– After losing at home to Wright State last Tuesday, the Robert Morris men’s soccer team heads to Milwaukee to face off against the Panthers.

This matchup will mark the final match in the Colonials’ first season in Horizon League play. The Colonials finished 1-5-1 in conference play with their lone win a 1-0 victory over Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday, March 6 at Southpointe Fieldhouse in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

This will mark the Colonials’ third-ever game against a team from Wisconsin, but the first game to actually take place in the Badger State. The Colonials are 0-1-1 all-time against Green Bay; the first matchup a 2-0 loss at home in 2009 and most recently, a 0-0 draw in Loves Park, Illinois on February 22, 2020.

Recapping RMU

In last week’s game against Wright State, the Colonials were held scoreless for the sixth time in seven games this season. Ludwig Conrad scored in the 29th minute for the Raiders, the lone goal in the contest. Grant Glorioso made eight saves in the contest.

This season, the Colonials have seemingly been allergic to the back of the net; only scoring once this season. The Colonials’ lone goal was scored by Miller Masson against Purdue Fort Wayne. Defensively, the Colonials have allowed 14 goals on the season, the lowlight of which being a 4-0 thumping by the UIC Flames on March 12.

Previewing Milwaukee

The Panthers come into this matchup currently riding a two-game winning streak. The streak started after a 4-0 shellacking of IUPUI and was continued last weekend after beating Green Bay 2-1. Paolo Gratton scored his eighth of the year in the 52nd minute, and David Cox netted the game-winner right before the final whistle blew.

Unlike the Colonials, the Panthers have no problem finding the back of the net as they are averaging 1.78 goals/contest compared to the Colonials’ piddling 0.14 goals/contest. The Panthers are also more-than-doubling the Colonials in terms of shots per game, with the Panthers averaging 15.2 and Robert Morris only averaging 7.71 shots towards the net.

Players to Watch:

Offense (RMU) – In their final game of the season, the Colonials should look to anyone on the offensive side of the pitch to try and put the ball in the net. If the Colonials score against Milwaukee, they will have doubled their goal output for the season.

Mike Zolnierczyk (RMU) – One of the few bright spots for the Colonials this season has been the six-foot-four-inch sophomore from Springdale, Pennsylvania. In five appearances between the sticks this season for RMU, Zolnierczyk has posted a 1.10 goals-against-average and a .800 save percentage; both of which are top-4 in the Horizon League.

Paolo Gratton (UWM) – Gratton, a sophomore from Madison, Wisconsin has been an offensive weapon for the Panthers in 2021. The midfielder has netted eight goals on the year, leading both the Panthers and the entirety of the Horizon League. His eight goals also put him in a tie for fourth in the entire NCAA.

Logan Farrington (UWM) – In his first season in collegiate play, Farrington has done well for Milwaukee. Farrington is second on the team with 12 points (5g, 2a) on the season, and tied for third among all NCAA freshmen.

Prediction

Unfortunately for the Colonials, they do not end their season on a strong suit, as they are put on a clean sheet by the Panthers. Paolo Gratton nets two goals as the Panthers come out on top 3-0.