Robert Morris finishes non-conference slate unbeaten after defeating UMBC


Ellie Whittington

Kayla Veloso-Lima’s lone goal was the difference in the 1-0 win over the Retrievers

Nathan Breisinger

MOON TOWNSHIP– With an opportunity to end its non-conference slate unbeaten, the Robert Morris women’s soccer team did just that Sunday afternoon as the Colonials edged UMBC in a defensive battle, 1-0.

Robert Morris (5-0-2) continued its best start in program history as one goal would be enough over UMBC (4-2-2).

Head coach Chris Shaw knows the non-conference schedule has been favorable for the Colonials, especially with all seven games being played at the North Athletic Complex. Still, he is satisfied with the improvement from this time last year.

“Some of it is good scheduling and being at home, but it’s a schedule very similar to last year where we were nowhere near undefeated going into conference play,” Shaw said.

While Robert Morris has impressed offensively over the past few weeks as the Colonials have scored a combined 12 goals in their last two contests, Sunday was a much more defensive-minded game.

The lone goal for the Colonials came from senior Kayla Veloso-Lima at the 30-minute mark of the first half. A crosser through the box sent from freshman Paloma Swankler set an excellent finish from Veloso-Lima.

“I saw the ball come in from Paloma, and I just tried to get a foot on it,” Veloso-Lima said.

Velosa-Lima’s goal was her second goal coming off the bench in her season.

“She has done a great job at understanding her role,” Shaw said. “We need someone that’s going to come in and change the game. For players coming off the bench, I always tell them that it doesn’t matter how much time you get,t whether you get 90 minutes or nine, try to fit 90 minutes into that nine.”

Although the first half goal was all that the Colonials needed, UMBC made a push in the second half, but the Colonials were resilient and kept the Retrievers only two shots on goal all game long.

“That’s one thing this team has started to get better at is digging in and grinding out a result, whereas, in years past, we had a tendency to buckle,” Shaw said. “Credit to UMBC, they came out that second half with more pressure and tried to force the issue and the team did well standing up to that pressure. At that point, it has nothing to do with soccer. It has to do with character and grit.”

As UMBC tried to push for a goal, the Colonials continued to be stout, including impressive defensive play from freshman Cali Laymon. The Las Vegas, Nev. native,e played shutdown defense on her side of the file,d allowing little room for UMBC attackers and forcing one turnover after another.

“Cali is an absolute warrior,” Shaw said. “She plays with so much heart and desire. She doesn’t shy away from any physicality,y and she works for 90 minutes.”

RMU will now turn its attention to Horizon League play and Green Bay as the Colonials aim to continue their impressive start to the 2022 campaign.

“Green Bay is a good team, and we just want a win and to keep going with the undefeated streak,” Veloso-Lima said.

The Colonials will host the Phoenix on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. at the North Athletic Complex.