Sacred Heart Rebounds from RMU Rally for One-Goal Win

Fairfield, Conn. April 20, 2013 Robert Morris rallied from a five-goal, second-half deficit to take the lead, but the Colonials were unable to find enough scoring punch late in the game and dropped a tight, 14-13 decision at Sacred Heart in NEC action Saturday afternoon at Campus Field.

Despite the setback, true freshman midfielder Eric Rankel (Philadelphia, Pa./Downingtown West) had a memorable day as his third hat trick of his rookie season allowed him to break a RMU record. With his three scores Saturday, Rankel broke the Colonial freshmen record for both goals (21) and points (32) in a season, topping marks that Corbyn Tao-Brambleby had set during the 2008 season. Rankel's effort marked his 10th multi-point game in 12 outings this season and his fifth multi-goal performance.

RMU had statistical advantages in shots, clearing percentage and extra-man opportunity percentage and also committed fewer turnovers than the Pioneers, but it was not quite enough for a victory. RMU has now outshot its opponents in its last seven games overall and each of its past 10 games against NEC foes. The Colonials have also now made more turnovers than their opponent just once in their past 19 contests.

Robert Morris, which entered the week leading the nation in caused turnovers per game, produced 14 more caused turnovers Saturday, doubling the total that the hosts produced.

True freshman attackman Luke Laszkiewicz (Oshawa, Ontario/Westminster Prep) tallied three points on two goals and an assist for the second straight week. He now has notched seven multi-point games this season and six multi-goal outings, including multiple scores in four of the last five games.

Sophomore Jacob Ruest (Cornwall, Ontario/The Hill Academy) tied his career high with three assists to notch a point in his ninth consecutive game. It also served as Ruest's fourth multi-point effort of the season.

Senior Tyler Digby (Westminster, British Columbia/New Westminster) continued his consistent play of late by adding two goals to the scoresheet. Digby has now posted multiple goals in each of the past seven games. He notched the 10th multi-goal game and the 19th multi-point game of his career Saturday.

Senior midfielder Connor Martin (Maumee, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) and junior Ryan Higgins (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) both added a pair of goals as well. The effort represented the former's fourth multi-goal game of the season and the first such occurrence for the latter.

The contest included significant scoring runs by both squads. RMU scored the first three goals of the game and had a 4-1 lead after fewer than 16 minutes of action.

Sacred Heart responded with seven of the game's final eight goals before halftime to take an 8-5 lead into intermission. The Pioneers continued their run after the break with two more scores to take a 10-5 edge early in the third quarter.

Robert Morris began to fight back, though, as the Colonials reeled off six consecutive scores in fewer than six minutes to take an 11-10 lead.

Sacred Heart scored three of the final four goals in the third quarter to take a 13-12 lead after 45 minutes of play.

The Pioneers added an insurance goal early in the fourth stanza and then held on for dear life as they did not score again the rest of the way.

However, Robert Morris would also go quiet offensively even though the Colonials were getting chances at the net.

Rankel would score with 3:10 remaining in regulation to cut the RMU deficit to a lone goal. The Colonials would finally get ahold of the ball with under a minute to play, but their last chance at evening the proceedings was stopped by the Pioneer goalie.

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2013-04-21



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