Robert Morris Runs by Wagner in NEC Opener

Staten Island, NY Senior midfielder William Hedges (Shoreham, NY/ Longwood) and junior midfielder Colin O'Rourke (Worcester, MA/ St. John's Shrewsbury) each recorded hat tricks but Wagner struggled in controlling Robert Morris' up-tempo, fast-breaking offensive attack as the Colonials ran past the Seahawks 22-10 in the Northeast Conference (NEC) opener for both teams.

Jake Hayes, Casey Abbott and Ryan Higgins tallied four goals apiece while Dave Morton added three tallies and a game-high five assists to lead the Colonials. Robert Morris displayed nifty ball movement throughout, particularly in transition, as the Colonials had 19 assists on their 22 goals. In addition to Morton's five helpers, Kevin Brownell and Kyle Buchanan came up with three assists each.

The teams played on even terms for more than one quarter of play until the Colonials started to pull away midway through the second quarter. After Robert Morris (7-3, 1-0 NEC) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, consecutive goals by O'Rourke, fellow junior midfielder Nick DePhillips (Glen Ridge, NJ/ Glen Ridge) and freshman midfielder Kendall Strahl (Carlsbad, CA/ Carlsbad) gave the Seahawks a 3-2 lead. For Strahl, it was his career goal and the first of two goals he would record on the afternoon.

The Colonials countered with a pair of goals to go on top 4-3 before O'Rourke forged the third tie of the opening quarter with a strike with 3:36 left in the first off an assist from junior attacker Sam Morrissey (Long Valley, NJ/ West Morris Central). Abbott closed the first-quarter scoring with an unassisted marker at 1:42 to put Robert Morris on top 5-4 heading into the second stanza.

Junior attack Brian Faughnan (New Canaan, CT/ New Canaan) then tied the game for the fourth and final time at 14:06 of the second quarter off an assist by senior attack Mike Hurley (Billerica, MA/ Billerica) that made it 5-5. It was at this point when the Colonials began to kick their fast-paced, transition game into action as Robert Morris reeled off 12 consecutive goals, bridging the second and third quarters, in building a commanding 17-5 lead.

The Colonials closed the first half on a 7-0 run to go up 12-5 at halftime, then picked up where they left off in the second half, notching the first five goals coming out of halftime, four of which came in the opening 46 seconds. Hedges finally stopped the bleeding, scoring the first of his three goals, with an unassisted tally at 12:12 of the third quarter, to make it 17-6. Wagner would draw as close as 10 at 18-8 on goals by O'Rourke and Hedges, the former coming off a feed from freshman attack David DeCirce (Clarence, NY/ Clarence).

The Colonials ended the game on a 4-2 spurt to fashion the final score at 22-10. Robert Morris held a 47-32 edge in shots, led in ground balls 51-30 and won 24 of 36 faceoffs. The Colonials were 1 of 2 on extra-man opportunities while the Seahawks were 1 of 3.

Dillon Pope played the first 31:59 in goal, coming up with four saves in earning the win and improving his season record to 4-1. For Wagner, sophomore Nicholas Gibaldi (Rocky Point, NY/ Rocky Point) saved 10 shots. Junior defender Dustin Doty (Sherman Oaks, CA/ Crespi Carmelite) collected a team-high six ground balls while Hedges and sophomore defender Matthew Shute (Suffield, CT/ Suffield) tied for team-high honors in caused turnovers with two apiece.

Wagner (0-9, 0-1 NEC) is next in action on Tuesday, April 3 when the Seahawks travel to Riverdale, NY to meet Manhattan in their final non-conference tilt of the season.

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2012-03-31



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