Strong showing throughout lineup in another 1-1 tie with UMass

The+Colonials+play+in+a+1-1+draw+for+second+consecutive+game+against+UMass+on+Sunday+afternoon+Photo+credit%3A+Bailey+Noel

The Colonials play in a 1-1 draw for second consecutive game against UMass on Sunday afternoon Photo credit: Bailey Noel

By Evan Basista, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP– Robert Morris (2-0-2) notched their second consecutive 1-1 draw against the UMass Minutewomen (1-2-1) at the North Athletic Complex on a hot Sunday afternoon.

The Colonials came into this game after playing a 1-1 tie against Mount St. Mary’s. Meanwhile, their opponent was fresh off a 6-1 loss to Pitt.

That was a bit of an outlier, as they only gave up two goals while scoring two of their own across the other two games. The Minutewomen were going to be hungry for a win, and that intensity showed throughout the game.

Robert Morris head coach Chris Shaw felt that RMU could match that intensity against a strong opponent.

“I felt that UMass was going to be our toughest non-conference opponent,” he said. “They made the A-10 final last year. They’re a really good team. Talented and well-coached. For us, it was just having a game plan and executing it. For the first ten to fifteen minutes, we were under the gun a little bit, but we figured some things out and sorted it. Kudos to the players for showing their passion to grind out a result.”

Junior midfielder Haleigh Finale echoed Shaw’s sentiments, saying, “We had a game plan. We went over the scout [film] and studied it. We executed the strategy how we wanted to, and that’s how we were able to come away with a tie.”

RMU did manage to get the first good opportunity, but a cross in the 10th minute from freshman Renae Mohrbacher just missed Finale and went out of play. Immediately following that, the Minutemen began to take control, having a pair of good chances in the 13th minute and requiring redshirt senior goalie Isabella Bohlen to make a great save in the 15th minute.

The Colonials had another close call off of a Mohrbacher to Finale cross in the 25th minute, this time connecting with Finale, but she was unable to capitalize before the two teams headed off for a water break shortly after.

UMass wouldn’t be able to keep Finale off the scoresheet for much longer, as she sent a laser past goalie Megan Olszewski in the 37th minute after a quick play in transition by freshman forward Paloma Swankler to tally her second goal of the young season and put RMU up 1-0.

It was the morale boost the opportunistic Colonials needed, and Finale quickly credited her teammates.

“I couldn’t have done it without Paloma and everyone else. Every time anyone scores, it’s always a boost to the team’s confidence and it really gets us going. It just wants to make us keep scoring more.”

The boost didn’t last long though, as the Minutemen struck right back. Junior midfielder Ella Curry tied the game at one in the 39th minute, and it would remain that way heading into the half. The shots on goal were 6-2 in favor of UMass, reflecting their overall control of the game’s flow.

Although the Minutemen continued to control play for most of the second half, there weren’t many chances for both teams, with only one shot on goal between them. There were times when it looked like RMU could break through.

“I think it was because we made a lot more substitutions in the second half, and the subs that came on brought that energy and effort. Our starters got a little fatigued, so those players coming off the bench helped,” Coach Shaw said

Those substitutions also helped considering the hot conditions outside.

“We’re both playing under the same temperature, so maybe both teams would’ve been able to play their starters for a little bit longer if it’s not quite as hot. For us, our bench really made a solid contribution. They really brought a lot to the table. It shows we’ve got a lot more depth than in years past.”

The Colonials will head to Howard for their next match on Thursday at 7 p.m. Finale shared what she thinks the team can do to grab their third win.

“I think we can definitely look to get forward [in the play] more. A lot of times, we left Renae out there by herself. She does a really good job of holding the ball for us, so I think if we are able to get forward more and create more opportunities, we can put up a win.”

Shaw feels that they’ve finally found that style of play they’ve been looking for this season heading into their next matchup.

“For the first three games, I feel like we played some good soccer but we just didn’t quite have the intensity for all ninety minutes,” he said. “If we would’ve let off, they would have exposed us. Hopefully, we can understand that that’s the level we have to play at in terms of energy and effort. We need to take care of the ball a little better and play our style, not quite as direct.”

The Colonials will play their first away game of the season in our nation’s capital at Howard on Thursday at 7 p.m.