Robert Morris Men’s Lacrosse in Precarious Position With Four Games Remaining


Cameron Macariola

The Colonials sit 1-4 in ASUN play, eighth in standings

Nathan Breisinger

With four games remaining, the Robert Morris men’s lacrosse team is in a very precarious position.

Defending the ASUN crown has not gone the way the Colonials envisioned as they sit 1-4 in conference play after losing to conference-leading Utah 26-16 at Joe Walton Stadium on Saturday.

The loss dropped the Colonials to eighth in the ASUN standings as they are on the outside looking in with the six-team postseason field.

It certainly has been a struggle lately for the Colonials as they are amidst a three-game losing skid, which includes losses to Detroit Mercy and Mercer – both games in which RMU was considered the favorite.

While the two unexpected road losses are concerning for Robert Morris, in its three quarters against Utah, the Colonials seemed as if they could play with anyone. Although defense was out of the window with 42 total goals in the game, the Colonials’ offense kept pace with a powerful Utes’ offensive attack for the majority of the contest.

Around this time last year, I wrote about the Colonials’ record not being a true indicator of what they were capable of, which turned out to be true as they claimed their first-ever ASUN championship. For portions of the game against Utah, the same could be said. Despite a ten-goal loss, the Colonials showed a lot of promise and the final score did not tell the full story.

Now, a lot needs to be cleaned up. Penalties plagued the Colonials in the fourth quarter against Utah and ultimately led to an eventual lopsided outcome.

In goal, the Colonials have been left with some questions. Nate Randall was outstanding last year as a freshman and was a massive factor in the Colonials’ title run. This year, he has shown similar signs as one of the best goalkeepers in the conference at times but struggled against Detroit Mercy. Mount Union transfer Kyle Reihner was given the nod to start for RMU in the past two contests. In the losing effort against Mercer, Reihner made 20 saves in his first Division I start.

After things unraveled in Reihner’s second start against Utah, Randall stepped in for RMU and then Liam Rosenthal was brought in as the third option for the Colonials, making a game-high eight saves for the Colonials in just 10 minutes of work.

Moving forward, it is unclear who will receive starting time in net. Each goalkeeper that stepped in against Utah showed some positives, but of course, at times were picked apart.

Prior to the game against Utah, Robert Morris had struggled to find the back of the net in comparison to its usual scoring punch. Outside of one game last season, the Colonials surpassed the 10-goal plateau in each contest. In three of the team’s first four conference games this year, the Colonials failed to score over eight goals.

Against Utah, the Colonials reached their highest offensive output of the season. The Colonials displayed their scoring depth with 11 different players recording a goal. Will Johansen recorded his first career hat trick. Team leader Taggart Clark added two goals, bringing his total to 21 on the year. Elliot Holden and Liam Keane also notched two goals for the Colonials.

After the conclusion of the Utah loss, Head Coach Craig McDonald left nothing off the table in terms of what the Colonials needed to work on.

“We are looking to get better in every aspect,” he said.

Four games remain on the 2023 schedule. If you want, you can say the Colonials are experiencing a championship hangover, and now each game ahead becomes their most important game of the season with other ASUN teams making some noise in the standings over the weekend.

Detroit Mercy entered this past weekend tied with the Colonials in the standings, but the Titans made a leap after grabbing a one-goal win against Lindenwood. Also tied with the Titans are the Cleveland State Vikings after picking up a victory over Mercer.

On Wednesday, the Colonials have the opportunity to end their current losing streak as Bellarmine comes to Joe Walton Stadium. The Knights are 3-2 in the conference after snagging a pair of wins over Lindenwood and a solid Air Force team, respectively.

The Knights are scoring at a clip of 14.60 goals per conference game, so the Colonials will have their hands full. Recent history has been on the Colonials’ side in this matchup as they have not suffered a loss to the Knights since 2016. Despite what the storylines might be heading into the matchup, the Colonials have to take care of business starting with Bellarmine.

Following the Knights, the Colonials have two very winnable games. The first stop on Apr. 15 comes against the Queens Royals who are in their first season of Division I competition. Then, the Colonials host Lindenwood for senior day on Apr. 22. Both the Royals and Lions have two wins, respectively.

Along with the impending contest with Bellarmine, the matchups against the Royals and Lions give Robert Morris the opportunity to sneak back into the postseason picture before the Colonials finish the season with a tough test against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.

What is even more important about this stretch is the Colonials are in jeopardy of not playing in the postseason tournament that they are hosting in May.

Anything can happen in the playoffs, especially with a chance to do some home cooking at Joe Walton Stadium, but first thing’s first, the Colonials need to string together some wins in order to punch their ticket back into the postseason.