Robert Morris Completes Comeback in Overtime Thriller, Will Host MAC Tournament


Robert Morris honored its seniors on Saturday prior to its 12-11 thrilling victory. Credit: Jason Cohn/RMU Athletics

Nathan Breisinger

MOON TOWNSHIP – The final day of the Mid-American Conference regular season featured huge playoff implications with Central Michigan and Robert Morris vying for the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

Trailing by as much as six goals, Robert Morris (9-8, 7-1 MAC) fought its way back to force overtime as the Colonials would receive the game-winning goal from senior Colleen to complete a thrilling 12-11 comeback on senior day to secure a share of the regular season MAC title.

Already with two goals on the afternoon, Tifft received a pass from Chelsea Coleman with less than a minute into the overtime frame as she cut through the middle. With two defenders trailing her, Tifft threw a bounce shot on net as it beat a leaning Alexa Martel.

The Colonials have not played an overtime game in over five years and it was the first collegiate overtime game of Tifft’s career. Heading into extra time, the Colonials got together to devise the game-sealing goal.

“Coach Shea [Swartwout] drew that up,” Tifft said. “Chelsea Coleman is a great one-on-one driver, so we set her up in the iso. Then we had our stack going that was working for us all game and it just happened to be my cut on that play.”

It could not have been scripted any better for a senior to cap off an incredible comeback to finish the regular season.

“That was awesome,” Tifft said. “I think it’s amazing, the whole senior class has brought a lot, and I love these guys so much.”

RMU needed some key goals down the stretch as the Colonials played catch up for the entire game as they did not lead once in regulation. After a strong first half that saw Central Michigan (8-8, 6-2 MAC) tally eight goals, the Colonials put together a four-goal run to start the third quarter and then finished the game with a three-goal streak.

The come from behind effort was a testament to the Colonials’ resiliency as they improved to 7-1 in the MAC.

“Before we came to the field today, we talked about how nobody wants to hear a boring story,” head coach Katrina Silva said. “I think they took it too literally, and they went down a little further than I would’ve liked. We kept it light and said we are the better team. In the second half, we turned the tide.”

Throughout the team, the Colonials remained loose as they stared down a tough deficit.

“This team has always had fun, silly energy and I think we kept that even though we were down,” Tifft said.

Central Michigan pushed the pace of play in the first half as they relied on several scorers including Kelly Hoyt who netted three goals in the second quarter.

On top of the offensive production, the Chippewas was backstopped in the first half by Martel as she made stop after stop and looked sharp, tracking each ball. Martel would end the day with 12 saves.

Once the Colonials started to break through against Martel in the second half, the energy started to shift. While Tifft finished with two of the last three goals of the game, she was complemented nicely by fellow senior Julia Koterwas as she notched four goals.

“The best part about this team is when you try to shut off Coleman then somebody else steps up,” Silva said. “We are really balancing our scoring.”

With the win, Robert Morris will now host the MAC Tournament with the Colonials facing the Youngstown State Penguins on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Robert Morris is in a very familiar position as years past as the Colonials look to make another run at the crown.

“We are all more than capable and we can’t slack off,” Tifft said. “We have to show up from the first whistle to the last whistle, but I think we are all ready to play and bring that experience to the tournament.”