Des Moines, Iowa – The #19 rated Robert Morris Women’s Soccer team opened the 2012 season with consecutive losses to Grand View University (Iowa) 2-1 on Saturday, August 25th and to #20 Bellevue University (Neb.) 3-2 in double overtime on Sunday, August 26th.
The Eagles struck first against Grand View, who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, when Carolynn Wieland intercepted a Vikings pass in the midfield and fired a shot in the top corner from 30 yards out in the 24th minute. Grand View answered back on a Maddy Hessel goal in the 33rd minute and took a 2-1 lead on a Meghan McCoy goal three minutes before the break. The Vikings held on to this lead for the remainder of the game and had two crucial saves made late by goalkeeper Katie Zenz.
“This was a rusty start for our team today (Saturday) and we left too much room for Grand View players to create around the field,” stated Eagles Head Coach Kurt Melcher. “I don’t want to take anything away from Grand View, as they are always well coached and this may be their best team we have faced.”
Robert Morris and #20 rated Bellevue squared off on Sunday in a physical battle. The game was scoreless at half-time but the Eagles came out on fire in the beginning of the second half scoring two goals in the first ten minutes. Tavia Anderson scored the Eagles first goal on a Carolynn Wieland assist and Wieland scored her second goal of 2012 on a great individual effort to beat two defenders and fire a shot into the top left corner.
Bellevue earned a penalty kick in the 71st minute but Eagles goalkeeper Darby Bennett saved the shot. However, Bellevue hit the crossbar on the rebound shot and then beat the Eagles defense to the ball again but this time put home their chance to cut the lead to 2-1. Bellevue wasn’t done as they intercepted an errant pass in the midfield and scored the tying goal off a header with just under three minutes to play. The Eagles had a golden chance in the waning minutes when they were awarded an indirect free kick seven yards from the Bellevue goal but their shot went just high to force overtime.
In the 102nd minute of play, Bellevue found an opening in the Eagles backline and scored the game winner just inside the left post to end the game.
“I liked the way we came out and played today (Sunday) but we need to find a way to close out games,” stated Melcher. “As a team we need to eliminate mental mistakes that have led to goal scoring chances for our opponents and we also need to put away our chances when we have them.”
The Eagles continue a grueling non-conference schedule as they travel to Clinton, Iowa next weekend to take part in the Ashford University Tournament. On Saturday, September 1st the Eagles square off against 2011 NAIA National Tournament participant Saint Ambrose University and then play hosts Ashford University, who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, on Sunday, September 2nd. Eagles fans can listen to Sunday’s game live on the Eagles Sports Network with kick-off at 5:00 P.M.