Photo by Ethan Morrison
Duquesne’s Rooney Field: A ‘House of Horrors’ for Robert Morris Sports
Robert Morris Athletics has had its fair share of struggles at Duquesne's Rooney Field over the years.
September 7, 2021
When Duquesne’s Ryan Goodhew found the back of the net to seal a 3-2 double-overtime victory for Duquesne men’s soccer over Robert Morris last Sunday, it only extended an adverse streak for RMU soccer at Arthur J. Rooney Field.
Dating back to 1995, when Duquesne first introduced its men’s soccer program, RMU has lost 14 consecutive times at Arthur Rooney Field, extending since 1996 when the two teams played the first installation of their city rivalry game.
Not only was it their 14th consecutive loss at the unfriendly confines of Rooney, but it was the first time they had ever scored more than one goal at the field with Gal Ben Dayan and Owen Jowett each scoring to give RMU a brief lead in the first half hoping to end that thirteen-game streak.
For whatever reason, RMU just could not run away with the win at Duquesne, and this curse has not only applied to men’s soccer. The two other teams who have played at that field, women’s soccer and football, both have had their fair share of haplessness at Rooney.
Since the first-ever matchup between the two schools, a women’s soccer game in 1995, the three RMU sports have combined for a 5-28-2 (.142) record when they play at Duquesne. The only worse location for RMU soccer alone is Bryant– neither soccer team has ever won against them– but no field that RMU has commonly played at sees both football and soccer perform on the same playing surface.
Women’s Soccer (3-5-2 at Rooney)
Women’s soccer played the first-ever Duquesne campus meeting between the two squads in 1995. Keeping with the theme, they opened this chapter in RMU Athletics history with a 9-1 shellacking at the hands of the Dukes. As if they were seeing the future for every RMU program in this field, an eight-goal loss, something they have not had to happen to them since 2000, is a perfect representative of the RMU outlook at Rooney as a whole. RMU has not allowed nine goals against since when had a 9-0 loss to St. John’s in 2000.
The women’s team has fared far better than the men’s side at Rooney overall, notching three wins, all of them close games. While the women’s team has not played the Dukes since 2015, a 3-2 loss at Rooney, they still have gone 1-2-1 in their last four meetings there dating back to 2008. Women’s soccer is the most successful RMU program at Rooney field with three total wins.
Men’s Soccer (0-14-0 at Rooney)
The bulk of the losses in the record come from the men’s soccer program, which is the equivalent of the Hue Jackson-era Cleveland Browns at Rooney. In their 14 meetings in Pittsburgh, which have occurred every year since 1996 (outside of 2020), the Colonials have never won a game. For some reason, no matter what happens or how good the team is, Robert Morris men’s soccer’s kryptonite is Rooney Field.
RMU had scored one goal or less in all 13 of its games at the complex until this season when they scored two, including a few overtime losses and a 4-0 loss in 1998. It is really a shame they have never won at Rooney since they have played Duquesne pretty tough at the North Athletic Complex, winning all four of its historic wins against the Dukes.
Football (2-9 at Rooney)
Joe Walton’s early teams were good at Rooney, winning the first two meetings in 1995 and 1996. Unfortunately, they have not won there since. The two teams shared the Northeast Conference for several years until RMU moved to the Big South in 2020 and played some epic games in both stadiums. RMU has lost nine consecutive times at Duquesne no matter how close the games have been.
Perhaps the biggest dagger of a loss came in 1998. Jeff Carlo kicked a lengthy 50-yard field goal to give the Colonials a 22-21 lead with 43 seconds remaining. All they had to do was come up with a stop, but they did not, allowing a 43-yard field goal from Brian Vautier with time winding down to seal a buzzer-beater victory for Duquesne. They have not won at Rooney in 25 years. Call it the ‘Brian Vautier Curse’.
RMU is 4-4 in their last eight matchups with the Dukes at Joe Walton Field, including a 48-21 win in 2019 during their final season in the NEC. However, their last game at Rooney to date was a 41-21 loss in 2018.
Recently, men’s soccer was so close to ending their streak and picking up their first-ever win at Duquesne and first win for any Robert Morris team there since 2009. However, the college athletics gods had to continue to torment RMU, this time in the form of a Ryan Goodhew double-overtime stunner. It has been a long 26 years of games at Rooney, a stadium that serves as the official ‘house of horrors’ for RMU sports.