Takeaways from Robert Morris’ Season Opening Win at Bucknell


The Colonials defeated Bucknell 12-9 in Lewisburg on Saturday Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

Nathan Breisinger

Year two of the Craig McDonald era commenced on Saturday for the Robert Morris men’s lacrosse team as the Colonials opened with a key road win against a tough Bucknell Bison squad, 12-9.

Hot Start Sets Tone

Last season, Robert Morris was plagued by poor starts. In its six losses a year ago, the Colonials stared down deficits that were given up in the opening quarter that became too large to overcome. Against Bucknell in 2022, the Colonials trailed 5-1 just over 10 minutes into the game.

One thing that needed to change this season was the Colonials’ start. Robert Morris set the tone against Bucknell with a 5-0 run to begin the contest on Saturday. The Colonials came in waves with strong ball movement to open up lanes, leading to some early execution. For the Bison, they didn’t find the back of the net until 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

Setting the tone early needs to become a commonality for the Colonials and a part of their identity. Saturday was evidence that the Colonials can do that, especially against some of the better teams in college lacrosse.

Dominance on the Dot

RMU jumped out to an early lead because of the play at the face-off dot. The Colonials won six out of seven face-offs in the first quarter, helping them grab possession and ultimately leading to tallies on the scoreboard.

With last year’s leading face-off specialist Bo Columbus not in the lineup, the Colonials turned to Steve DelleMonache as he lined up for every face-off on the afternoon. DelleMonache posted career-high marks with 15 face-off wins and a .625 win percentage.

Pelletier Adds Scoring Touch

With the departure of Corson Kealey, Jake Boudreau and Dan Taddeo, the Colonials needed someone to help fill that void. Enter Nick Pelletier. Last season, the Ottawa, Ont. native only had one goal coming against Canisius. The sophomore registered three goals in just 13 minutes of action in the 2023 campaign.

Pelletier would go on to add another goal in the third quarter. Although it is a small sample size, with it only being the first game, Pelletier has emerged as another goal-scoring threat for the Colonials. His ability to get open and finish with a quick release adds to an already dynamic offense with Taggart Clark, Will Johansen and Elliot Holden, among others, as they all factored in on the scoresheet against the Bison.

No Rust for Randall

If there were a player of the game against Bucknell, it certainly would be goalkeeper Nate Randall. After an impressive freshman campaign, Randall showed no signs of rust as he was exceptional throughout the game against the Bison.

Randall stopped 16 shots with several key saves, including a point-blank denial against C.J. Baroni, who was left alone in front of the Colonial goalkeeper with time ticking down in the third quarter. Randall needed to be sharp as the Colonials were up against a Bucknell team that hung 20 goals on Mercer just a week ago. The sophomore will be the backbone of this Colonials team throughout the season.

A Game of Runs

While there were plenty of positives to takeaway from the road win to kickoff the season, one thing that the Colonials will need to be mindful of is getting into a game of runs. After Robert Morris opened the contest with a five-goal streak, Bucknell responded with seven unanswered of its own.

During that run for Bucknell, the Colonials were lost and struggled to gain any sort of possession which kept RMU scoreless in the second quarter. Finally, the Colonials stopped the bleeding in the third quarter and they would take momentum back on their side as they scored five goals in the span of three minutes. As the Colonials retook the lead, they never looked back.

If the Colonials can limit those scoring droughts and prohibit any big runs, they can find themselves as a very competitive team, not only in the ASUN, but also in the national picture.