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RMU men’s soccer has clinched its first postseason berth since 2017. Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

Men’s soccer clinches first postseason berth since 2017

Robert Morris men's soccer has clinched its first postseason berth since 2017.

November 3, 2021

Robert Morris men’s soccer has done it.

Following a season where they played off-campus, scored just one goal and won one game, Robert Morris men’s soccer has clinched a spot in the 2021 Horizon League playoffs–– sneaking in as the sixth seed following their win at IUPUI today.

The path wasn’t easy for them to do it. To make it, they needed to win at IUPUI and have both Purdue Fort Wayne and Northern Kentucky lose, all of which happened.

Bryan Akongo‘s goal in the 60th minute over the Jaguars sealed a 1-0 victory in Indy this afternoon.

Things were looking bleak for the team for another year, losing three of its first four Horizon League contests, but a late-season surge aided by the strong play of Akongo punched the team’s ticket to the postseason.

“We’re obviously very excited about making the playoffs, especially the manner of how we did it, leaving it with one game to go,” Akongo told Colonial Sports Network. “We played a close game with Milwaukee earlier in the season and felt we could’ve got more in the game especially towards the end of the game when they were getting tired. We have also improved massively since that game so we’re going to enter Sunday with a lot of confidence believing we can win and cause a major upset.”

Head coach Jason O’Keefe saw his team improve from one win last season to five total this season and four in-conference, playing to a 5-10-1 overall record and 4-5-1 in-conference.

It’s almost shocking they came this far in one season, improving their shot attempts from 57 to 127 and goals from 1 to 17 in the span of a few months, a 122-percent and 1,600-percent increase, respectively.

They scored on 1.3% of their shots last season, increasing that total to a solid 13.3% this year.

Akongo led the team with five goals and five assists this season with freshman Gal ben Dayan coming in second with three goals.

This will be RMU’s first postseason action in Horizon League history and their first appearance in the league postseason since 2017 when they lost to Saint Francis Brooklyn in the opening round of the NEC playoffs.

It will also be Jason O’Keefe’s first postseason appearance with the club since joining Robert Morris last season.

The team has earned a date with no. 3 seed Milwaukee this Sunday in Milwaukee. Here are how the seeds stack up:

  1. Oakland
  2. Cleveland State
  3. Milwaukee
  4. UIC
  5. Detroit Mercy
  6. Robert Morris

Men’s soccer, barring an insane stretch for the football team, will be the only fall sport on campus to play in postseason action.

They lost 2-1 to Milwaukee at home back on September 18.

Not bad for a team in its second year in the league that was placed tenth in the preseason poll.

The playoff game will be Sunday in Milwaukee at 1 p.m. CDT/2 p.m. ET. It’s going to be tough sledding in the first round for RMU, but they’ve proved the doubters wrong before.