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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #14 Robert Morris Colonials

Robert Morris was able to win their second consecutive NEC title in 2019.

Danny Doherty

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review with the teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament!

#14 Robert Morris Colonials

Conference: NEC
2019 Record: 9-8 (4-2 in NEC)
Postseason: Defeated Mount St. Mary’s and Hobart for NEC Championship, lost to Virginia in NCAA First Round
Head coach: Andrew McMinn (8th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Corson Kealey (52)
Assists: Tyson Gibson (40)
Points: Tyson Gibson (69)
Faceoffs: Trey Arnold (149-of-305; 48.9%)
Ground balls: Trey Arnold (79)
Caused turnovers: Jack Toomb (21)
Goals against average: Alex Heger (13.60)
Save percentage: Alex Heger (48.6%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: M Tyson Gibson (29 Gs, 40 As, 50 GBs, 12 CTs), G Alex Heger (13.60 GAA, 48.6% SV %, 53 GBs, 8 CTs, 4 As), A Matt Schmidt (30 Gs, 13 As, 20 GBs, 4 CTs), LSM Jack Toomb (21 CTs, 45 GBs, 36.4% FOs, 1 G, 3 As), D Will Ewing (10 CTs, 11 GBs), D Mike Eveland (8 CTs, 17 GBs, 1 G, 1 A), SSDM Daniel Smith (9 CTs, 32 GBs, 1 G, 3 As), M Eddie Smith (6 Gs, 14 As, 6 GBs), LSM Dylan Sidoriak (8 CTs, 9 GBs), M Shane Majewski (6 Gs, 2 As, 4 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 154 of 379 points (40.6%)
Senior starts lost: 95 of 170 (55.9%)

Season Summary

After nearly pulling off an improbable upset of top-ranked Maryland in last year’s NCAA Tournament, Robert Morris looked to return to playing in May as NEC champions. But it didn’t start as well as last season did.

In 2018, Robert Morris pulled off an upset against Penn State on the road. But in their season opener against the Nittany Lions, it was a whole different story as a 12-goal second quarter helped lift Penn State for a huge 27-10 win. Things were a little more even the following week against Georgetown, but the Colonials lost a one-goal lead in the fourth quarter in a 14-11 loss. The team got their first win over Bellarmine thanks to a 9-0 second half, but came out on the wrong side of a double overtime battle with High Point.

Things continued to go downhill as Robert Morris lost their next four games to Canisius and Marquette, as well as their first two NEC games against Sacred Heart and Mount St. Mary’s. The Colonials saw a three-goal lead disappear in the fourth quarter against the Mountaineers, as the opposition scored six straight goals to end the game. It was late March and the NEC preseason favorites were 0-2 in conference play and 1-7 overall.

And then they began to win games, beginning with dominant wins over Saint Joseph’s and Wagner. Then came a midweek showdown with Lehigh, a game that would show where Robert Morris was at that time. Trailing by two at the half, the Colonials scored six of the seven third quarter goals, including a 5-0 run to start the half, and held off a late Lehigh rally to earn their first win over a ranked opponent this season. The winning continued with victories coming against Cleveland State and Bryant.

However, Robert Morris still needed to beat Hobart in order to advance to the NEC Tournament. And things did not look good entering the fourth quarter, when the Statesmen led 15-11. But the Colonials were able to mount a 4-0 run, capped off by Ryan Smith’s game-tying tally with 52 seconds left. Then Matt Schmidt gave the Colonials the win with his overtime goal to secure a tournament berth.

Their two NEC Tournament games were decided by one goal each. Against top-seeded Mount St. Mary’s in the semifinals, Robert Morris needed another comeback, this time scoring five unanswered before Tyson Gibson scored the overtime winner to advance to the conference title game. Down three to Hobart early in the third quarter, the Colonials went on a 5-0 run to take a lead they would not give up, holding on and winning their second straight NEC Championship and the second team to win multiple NEC Tournaments, joining Bryant. But their season would come to an end in a 19-10 loss to Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.

Robert Morris is one team in the country that utilizes a good amount of Canadians on their roster. Their top two scorers hailed from Ontario in senior midfielder Tyson Gibson, who was also the NEC Player of the Year, and sophomore attackman Corson Kealey, who had a team-high 52 goals. Joining Kealey at attack were Ryan Smith, who joined Gibson and Kealey with Colonials with 60 or more points on the year, and Matt Schmidt. Jake Boudreau and Eddie Smith started alongside Gibson at midfield, with Shane Majewski, Austin Popovich, Brad McCulley, and Brandon Sulhoff also contributing on offense.

The primary starters on close defense for the majority of the season consisted of seniors Mike Eveland and Will Ewing, as well as freshman Owen Down. Evan Hellmich saw plenty of time as well, including seven starts. Jack Toomb was the top long stick midfielder on the team and was complemented by Dylan Sidoriak. Daniel Smith, Will Johansen, and James Scane were the short stick defenders, with sometimes Popovich and Gibson playing both ways. Trey Arnold and Michael Autry shared the majority of the faceoff draws, with Arnold close to a 49% faceoff win rate, while Alex Heger stood in goal for another season.

Looking Ahead

Is a three-peat possible for the Colonials? It might be harder to do than this season with six starters and a little over 40% of their scoring graduating.

The biggest spot is on defense with two starting defensemen, both long stick midfielders, a short stick midfielder, and their starting goalie all graduating. Hellmich looks like he should get a starting spot on defense, and players like Ciaron Costello or Will Sturgis could get some increased time as well. Also keep an eye on James Christoforatos and Josh Schreibeis. Chris Reynolds played five games in goal last season and also started Robert Morris’ NCAA games in the 2018 season.

Kealey and Smith return on attack, as does Taggart Clark, who played in six games and started in the team’s NCAA Tournament game against Virginia. Sulhoff is another option that saw plenty of time last season. Boudreau is the only returning starting midfielder, with Popovich and McCulley potentially stepping into starting roles.

Poll

How many wins will Robert Morris get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0-5
    (3 votes)
  • 22%
    6-7
    (14 votes)
  • 39%
    8-9
    (25 votes)
  • 33%
    10+
    (21 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now