Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

Colonial Sports Network

The womens lacrosse team falls to Maryland 17-1 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Photo credit: Taylor Roberts
"It sets the path for us to be here every year.": Women's Lacrosse closes out promising season against Maryland
Michael DeemerMay 10, 2024

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- After starting the year 0-6, the Robert Morris women's lacrosse team earned their second-ever NCAA Tournament berth as they faced the fourth-ranked Maryland...

A New Era: Men’s Soccer to Kickoff Season with New Coach, Players

Samantha Dutch
With almost an entirely new squad, Coach Potter will turn the page on a new era in the Robert Morris men’s soccer program

As the weather grows colder and school is back in session, the Robert Morris men’s soccer team returns to the pitch for a fresh start in the fall 2023 season. The team faced many changes after the conclusion of last season, including a new coaching staff.

Former Colonials head coach Jason O’Keefe resigned last November after two years at the helm and brought in Jonathan Potter from Presbyterian the following month.

A heavy portion of last year’s team transferred during the offseason, including key midfielder Charlie Lawrence joining the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines and goalkeeper Mike Zolnierczyk heading down south to Jacksonville, to name just a few.

As for last season’s leading goal scorer, Chase Gilley, he and his brother Logan came to Robert Morris last season after being recruited by previous Coach O’Keefe and are part of a shortlist of returning players.

“I don’t look at myself as the full goal scorer,” Gilley said. “I really just make sure the new forwards are getting looks in front of goal and have a lot of confidence.”

Chase and the others love having a new team this year where everyone already seems to be making a difference, while still having fourteen familiar faces meshing well with the newbies.

Logan and Chase Gilley continue to work together in recent Le Moyne exhibition. (Samantha Dutch)

“I grew to really love Pittsburgh,” Gilley said. “And then the guys that have stayed, I felt like I owed it to them to stay here and see how a new coach is going to go and to give it a shot.”

Fifteen new players were brought to the Colonials, from freshmen to transfers at all points of their careers. Having lost Zolnierczyk and the starting goalie last season Friedrich Petrelli, three freshman goalkeepers were added to the squad.

Giancarlo Acosta from Bernardsville, N.J., Josh Lane from Leicester, England and Kieran Gorgenyi from North Reading, Mass.

“It’s an interesting scenario,” said Coach Jonathan Potter. “All three young guys playing in the same role. Each have gotten opportunities in preseason…each one of them will have a role for us to play this season. We’re excited about how those three have worked hard and we’re looking forward to seeing their progress throughout the year.”

The guys have all gotten close and meshed well together, whether it be on the field and in practices or in some off-the-field time with a game of FIFA, cornhole, or bowling.

“All the new guys are great and the team is falling right where it should be,” Chase Gilley said. “I feel like we’re going to pick up right where we left off last season and all the new guys are going to help that and progress us further.”

Eleven freshmen were brought on along with four transfers. Sophomore forward Kosi Udeh came to Robert Morris after a year with the University of South Carolina. Before college, the Birmingham, Ala. native played in the MLS Next League and led his high school team to a state championship and two regional championships. He intends to prove himself as a key player to the Colonials.

Sophomore forward Kosi Udeh came to Robert Morris after a year with the University of South Carolina. Before college, he played in the MLS Next League and led his high school team to a state championship and two regional championships. (Samantha Dutch)

“I want to prove to my new teammates that I can do the job and that they can trust me,” Udeh said.

In the Colonials’ most recent exhibition against Le Moyne, Udeh assisted one of the team’s three goals, proving he can help lead the team on the field.

“It feels great to help out in this new stage,” Udeh said. “I’m proud to be here and I’m happy [Coach Potter] decided to choose me to be one of the leaders on this team. I’m happy to be a part of the new era.”

In addition to Udeh, transfer Kai McLouglin from UMass Lowell has made an immediate impact, scoring all three goals against Le Moyne. Fabian Overkamp transfers from Alliance University adding to the backline, and John Paul Mbuthia joins the team from UNC Charlotte.

Defense was certainly important with the incoming freshmen, with the three goalkeepers and the Colonials gathering five defenders. Three are from around the world with Mats Bramer from Dortmund, Germany, Robert Kolbeins from Garoabaer, Iceland, and Tim Koczulap from Berlin, Germany. Tayshaun Reid from Jacksonville, Fla., and Wil Hornbaker from Columbus, Ohio round out the freshman defenders.

On the attacking end, local Kyler Miller joins from Greensburg Central Catholic, Chase Alexandre adds more size to the midfield, and Yanis Rucquois joins from Brussels, Belgium.

“Immediately our returners really welcomed the new guys in,” Coach Potter said. “Just little funny moments you see in training where guys are trying to support each other…That stuff just builds and builds throughout the year, and we become a more cohesive team the more we play together.”

After offseason practices, three exhibition matchups, and overall bonding, the team enters a bright new era of Robert Morris men’s soccer. Gilley finds much more happiness within the team this season than last.

“I see a lot more smiles on people’s faces,” Gilley said. “They’re not as nervous about the season, because last year all anyone thought about is what we needed to prove. This year is more that we’ve proven what we need to and we just need to progress on what we’ve already done.”

The team can combine a positive attitude with labor, as they continue to strive to put in the tough work to improve and build upon their successes.

“Anyone can respect a team that works extremely hard,” said Coach Potter. “I hope when people watch us play they see a group of guys who are willing to give everything to get results for the program and the university. There’s not many things we can guarantee, but we can guarantee these guys are going to work extremely hard.”

The Colonials will look to prove the fruitfulness of their efforts when they kick off their season against VMI on Aug. 24.

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