Robert Morris Edged by Bellarmine in Season Opener

Moon Township, Pa. February 9, 2013 In nearly a mirror image of last year's season opener, Bellarmine hung on for a 9-8 victory to top Robert Morris University Saturday afternoon in a non-conference affair at a sunny and chilly Joe Walton Stadium.

One year ago, RMU took down Bellarmine, 9-8, in each team's season opener in a game that also came down to the final seconds in Louisville, Ky.

Despite being on the losing end, redshirt senior Charles Ruppert (Long Island, N.Y./Massapequa) produced one of the finer outings of his career as he posted 15 saves against 24 shots on goal to register a .625 save percentage. That save total marked the second-highest single game total in Ruppert's career and his best in a regulation game. His 11th career outing with double-digit saves allowed him to move into second place in career saves at Robert Morris with 231.

True freshman attackman Luke Laszkiewicz (Oshawa, Ontario/Westminster Prep) made quite an impression in his collegiate debut as he posted a trio of goals to collect the game's lone hat trick. Laszkiewicz became the first Colonial to have a hat trick while making his RMU debut in a season opener since the team's inaugural season in 2005.

Playing a season opener at home for the first time since 2008, Robert Morris had fewer turnovers and a better clear percentage than the Knights and also won the battle of extra-man opportunities.

RMU went 2 for 4 with a man advantage while holding Bellarmine to a 0 for 4 mark. It marked the first time since March 2010, a span of 43 games, that Robert Morris held an opponent to zero extra-man goals when its opponent had at least four such chances.

True freshman midfielder Eric Rankel (Philadelphia, Pa./Downingtown West) matched Laszkiewicz with three points on the strength of one goal and two assists.

Redshirt junior midfielder Taylor Graves (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad) also added a trio of points, tying his career high, by registering two goals and an assist. Graves notched his fourth career multi-goal game in the process.

Junior defenseman Sean Meagher (Chesterfield, Mo./St. Louis University) collected four caused turnovers on the afternoon to lead the Colonial defensive effort and added two ground balls. His four CT tied his career high and puts him in a tie for fourth in single-game RMU history.

Robert Morris and Bellarmine battled back and forth throughout the contest with neither team ever to generate a notable lead. In fact, the teams were within just one goal of one another for all but a 7:41 stretch when RMU led by two scores.

The two squads were tied, 3-3, after the first quarter and were knotted, 5-5, midway through the second. Goals by redshirt junior midfielder Mitch Wilde (Brooklin, Ontario/Donald A. Wilson) and Laszkiewicz in the final seven minutes of the half gave the Colonials a 7-5 advantage at intermission.

However, goals were much harder to come by in the second half as Bellarmine used two third-quarter scores to knot the game, 7-7, after 45 minutes of play.

Laszkiewicz completed his hat trick early in the fourth quarter to put the Colonials back ahead, but Bellarmine responded with two goals to take the lead for the first time all day.

Robert Morris moved the ball into its offensive third three times in the final 3:15 of action but was unable to tie the proceedings. On its final clear with about 15 seconds remaining, multiple loose ball scuffles prevented RMU from getting a shot off, giving Bellarmine the victory.

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