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2018 Men’s Lacrosse Year in Review: #14 Robert Morris Colonials

The Colonials made it to their first NCAA Tournament in program history and almost made more history against top-seeded Maryland.

Craig Chase Photography

With the 2018 college lacrosse season complete and fall ball just around the corner, it’s time to start looking back at how all 71 teams did during the season, as well as what to expect from each squad for 2019. These are not end of season rankings, as some people might think.

We’re almost done looking back to 2018 with plenty of team recaps thus far and continued our series this week with Villanova and Richmond.

So with that, let’s continue the recaps!

#14 Robert Morris Colonials

Conference: NEC
2018 Record: 13-5 (4-2 in NEC play)
Postseason: Defeated Bryant and Saint Joseph’s to win NEC championship, defeated Canisius in NCAA Play-In game, lost to Maryland in NCAA First Round
Head coach: Drew McMinn (7th Year)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Matt Schmidt (36)
Assists: Jimmy Perkins (30)
Points: Jimmy Perkins (61)
Faceoffs: Trey Arnold (145-of-335; 43.3%)
Ground balls: Trey Arnold (57)
Caused turnovers: Zach Bryant (37)
Goals against average: Alex Heger (7.50 GAA)
Save percentage: Alex Heger (60.3%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: D Zachary Bryant (36 GBs, 37 CTs, 2 Gs, 3 As), D Zac Christianson (37 GBs, 24 CTs, 1 A), A Adrian Torok-Orban (19 Gs, 2 As, 15 GBs), M Carter Yepsen (10 Gs, 3 As), LSM Mitchell Wales (22 GBs, 9 CTs, 4 Gs, 2 As), SSDM Conner Yepsen (7 GBs, 4 CTs, 2 Gs, 2 As), SSDM Sean Doyle (7 GBs, 11 CTs, 2 Gs, 1 A), A Justin Mayfield (7 Gs, 3 As)
Senior scoring departing: 67 of 332 points (20.2%)
Senior starts lost: 59 of 180 (32.8%)

Season Summary

What a year for Pittsburgh’s lacrosse team! After reaching the NEC Tournament in 2017 and going 9-7, the Colonials went a few steps further and won the conference as well as their first ever NCAA Tournament game.

But the season started with losses in two of the first three games. But those losses against Rutgers and Georgetown showed some people that maybe the Colonials had something in them that could make them a threat in May. And it showed in a trip to Happy Valley where the Nittany Lions got upset by the Robert Morris thanks to a six-goal fourth quarter and a six-point effort by Jimmy Perkins. They took care of High Point and crushed Marquette as they got into NEC play.

The Colonials went by Sacred Heart and Mount St. Mary’s to start undefeated in conference action before hosting Bryant in a Friday night lacrosse showdown at home. The first half was a good showing by Robert Morris, but the Colonials scored only twice in the second half while the Bulldogs piled up five more goals to take a three-goal win. An overtime win over Hobart followed as well as wins against Canisius, Cleveland State, and Wagner, but the Colonials couldn’t get the job done against Saint Joseph’s in a one-goal loss at home. That meant Bobby Mo had to go on the road to Hawk Hill in order to win the conference.

In the semifinals against Bryant, the Colonials used a 3-0 third quarter to get past the Bulldogs to meet in a rematch with the Hawks, a team that also never won the NEC. Down three at the half, Robert Morris stormed out of the gate with five goals in the third quarter before cooling down for the rest of the half. That allowed the Hawks to tie things up at eight with two Kyle Cain goals in the last five minutes, including the tying tally with 15 seconds. But with 10 seconds left in overtime, Tyson Gibson scored the most famous goal in Colonial program history, giving the western PA squad their first conference championship and entrance to the NCAA Tournament. And they didn’t go down quietly.

After doubling up on Canisius in the Play-In game that many thought they should not have been in, the Colonials smelled an upset against top-seeded Maryland. They led 6-3 at halftime and momentum all on their side. But the Terps came back with a strong 6-1 third quarter and a five-goal fourth quarter to take a three-goal win. The Colonials never went away in the entire 60 minutes, which showed the resiliency the squad had.

Perkins, Matt Schmidt, and senior Adrian Torok-Orban started as a unit for most of this season. Perkins finished with 61 points while Schmidt had 51. Torok-Orban put up 19 points in his final season in Moon Township. Freshman Corson Kealey bounced around from attack and midfield but finished with 26 points, while grad student Justin Mayfield had 10 points. At midfield, junior Tyson Gibson led the unit that also included senior Carter Yepsen and sophomore Ryan Smith. Freshman Jake Boudreau, sophomore Brad McCulley, and junior Shane Majewski also got reps and some points as well.

Senior Zach Bryant had a remarkable season on defense, leading the Colonials with 37 caused turnovers and added 36 ground balls with five points. He was an Inside Lacrosse Third Team All-American as well. Bryant was joined by fellow senior Zac Christianson and junior Will Ewing for all 18 games on defense. Junior Jack Toomb was the top LSM for the Colonials with 53 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers with senior Mitchell Wales as the secondary long stick. The shorties consisted of seniors Sean Doyle and Conner Yepsen as well as junior Daniel Smith and sophomore James Scane. Sophomore Trey Arnold took the bulk of the faceoff draws but went only 43.3% from the X, while junior Alex Heger had a phenomenal 7.50 goals against average and a 60.3% save percentage.

Looking Ahead

Along with losing their seniors, the Colonials will also lose Perkins, a redshirt-junior attackman, to Utah for next season. According to an RMU spokesperson, Perkins is working on a Master’s degree in his desired field and that coaches have been aware for quite some time. But adding his production to the departing seniors, the Colonials will lose 122 out of 332 total (36.7%). They also now lose 77 starts out of their 180 (42.8%).

Schmidt is the only returning starting attackman from last year, but he’ll probably be accompanied by Ryan Smith. Smith spent last year at midfield but his natural position is down at attack. Corson Kealey should also see time at attack as well. At midfield, Gibson will be the only returning midfielder if Smith goes back to attack. Boudreau, McCulley, and Majewski are viable options to start as well.

Just like the first two positions, there’s only one returning defenseman in Will Ewing. He could be accompanied by junior Mike Eveland, who played in 16 games as a reserve, and sophomore Ciaron Costello, who appeared in nine. Toomb, Smith, and Scane will return on the “rope” unit, while Arnold gets some company in sophomore transfer Michael Autry, who went 53% last season for Bellarmine. Heger will stay between the pipes for his final season.

Overall, there are some notable holes to fill in Drew McMinn’s team, but the Colonials do have the right pieces to repeat as NEC champs.

Here’s who the Colonials will be adding to their roster for next year.*

Robert Morris’ Unofficial Class of 2018

Player Position High School
Player Position High School
Owen Cook-Down Defense Hill Academy (ON)
Francisco Cox Goalie Wilson (PA)
Evan Hellmich Defense Pickerington North (OH)
Grant Koopman Goalie Sante Fe Christian (CA)
James Morris Defense Vestal (NY)
Derek Palma Attack St. Anthony's (NY)
Josh Schreibeis Defense/LSM Seneca Valley (PA)
Brandon Sulhoff Attack Northern (MD)
Dan Taddeo Attack Penfield (NY)
Conner Whyte Attack Snohomish (WA)

*Compiled from a multitude of websites. Schools usually officially announce their recruiting class during the fall semester.

Poll

How many wins will Robert Morris get in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    0-7
    (5 votes)
  • 27%
    8-9
    (12 votes)
  • 36%
    10-11
    (16 votes)
  • 25%
    12+
    (11 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now