Rankel, Robert Morris Freeze out Retrievers in Opener

Moon Township, Pa. February 16, 2013 Freshman midfielder Eric Rankel (Philadelphia, Pa./Downingtown West) tied a Colonial freshman record with five goals as he helped Robert Morris University to a 12-9 victory over UMBC at a cold Joe Walton Stadium Saturday afternoon.

RMU improved to 2-0 all-time against UMBC as the Colonials also took down the Retrievers last season in Baltimore. Robert Morris did not trail at all in Saturday's contest against UMBC, just like last year's meeting, and has only trailed for 5:14 of the first 120 minutes of the 2013 season.

After collecting three points in his collegiate debut, Rankel tallied five goals, on just seven shots, and an assist to post a game-high six points. His quintet of scores marked just the second time in RMU history in which a Colonial freshman has notched at least five goals in a single contest.

While Rankel was busy providing the goals, redshirt senior Charles Ruppert (Long Island, N.Y./Massapequa) did a strong job preventing them for the second consecutive week. Ruppert had a game-high 13 saves on 22 shots on goal to post a .591 save percentage on the day. It was his second straight and 12th career outing with double-figure saves as the veteran has notched 28 saves on 46 shots on goal on the young season. He also tied his career high with three ground balls.

RMU did well to keep UMBC from getting into a rhythm as it forced the Retrievers into 25 turnovers, 15 of which were caused by Robert Morris. Both of those figures represent RMU's best outputs in those respective categories in the program's past 32 games. The Colonials have forced their opponents into 44 turnovers in the first two games, a new school record for turnovers forced in the first two contests of a season.

For the second straight year, Robert Morris performed well while playing a man down against UMBC as it killed off 4 of 5 of the Retrievers' extra-man opportunities. The Colonials have now successfully killed off 10 of 13 man-up chances all-time against UMBC and also improved to killing off 8 of 9 such opportunities on the 2013 campaign. Additionally, contrary to what one might expect, RMU won for the fifth straight time when having fewer extra-man opportunities than its opponent.

True freshman attackman Luke Laszkiewicz (Oshawa, Ontario/Westminster Prep) netted three points for the second straight week as he posted two goals and his first-career assist after collecting a hat trick against Bellarmine.

Sophomore attackman Jacob Ruest (Cornwall, Ontario/The Hill Academy) tallied his first career multi-point game by registering two goals and also added a career-best three ground balls. Ruest notched the game-winning goal for the second straight year against UMBC as his winner in 2012 doubled as his first-career point.

Redshirt senior attackman Dave Morton (Orangeville, Ontario/Hill School) contributed his 11th career multi-goal game with two scores and moved into a tie for ninth in career goals with 42. Morton's ninth multi-goal effort in the team's last 10 outings also doubled as his 15th career multi-point effort.

Two goals by Rankel in the first seven minutes of the contest had the score knotted, 2-2, late in the first quarter before both senior Jake Hayes (Calgary, Alberta/Central Memorial) and Laszkiewicz found the twine in the final 100 seconds of the frame to double RMU's cushion after one period.

UMBC scored a goal early in the second before the teams played over 11 minutes without a goal, the longest such stretch of the game. Rankel and Morton both found the net in the final three minutes of the half although the Retrievers would get one back in the final minute to set the halftime margin at 6-4 in favor of the Colonials.

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2013-02-16



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