Robert Morris athletics: Year in review

January 31 is usually a day of reflection and false promises. Yeah, you’ll definitely get back to the gym this year. I’m sure you’ll floss more. Maybe this is the year you start to save money. Definitely.

It’s been a good great calendar year in Robert Morris athletics. Six of the school’s 17 programs either won a conference championship or made the conference finals:

-Men’s hockey won the 2014-15 AHC regular season championship. They’re fresh off another Three Rivers Classic championship, defeating two nationally ranked opponents in the process. Since the start of the calendar year, they’re are 23-9-2.

-Women’s basketball won the NEC regular season championship but lost in the NEC championship game. They still finished the year with 17 wins. They’re 6-5 this season.

-Softball won the NEC regular season championship.

-Women’s soccer lost to Fairleigh Dickinson 1-0 in the NEC championship game.

-Volleyball won the NEC tournament and lost to Ohio State in the NCAA tournament.

-Men’s basketball won the NEC tournament and a tournament game against North Florida.

Not a bad 2015.

I’d just like to take this post to share some memories from this past year, because it really was a fun one. Looking back on last year’s team, the whole process of making a run through the NEC tournament into playing Duke was surreal. I feel very fortunate enough to have been able to cover that as a reporter, fan and alumni who really just loves the school, program and conference.

Nothing was better than finally breaking through and winning that NEC championship game in Brooklyn. After all the trial and tribulations, after all the heartbreak, that team was able to get it together and finally win the big one. There were a lot of worthy teams in my four years as a student, but all of those crushing losses made the moments when the clock hit zero even better.

I went to the NEC championship game, but as a fan, not a reporter. Say what you want about the professionalism of that moment, but at 21 and a senior, I felt like I deserved to just go crazy. I knew Robert Morris was going to win that game, and I knew I was going to storm that court.

The thing I’ll always remember most was the atmosphere. St. Francis Brooklyn has never been to the NCAA tournament, and that crowd wanted it bad. That small arena probably had 500 more people than it can hold. It was the coolest safety hazard I’ve ever been in.

That 2014-15 team was tough. They weren’t always tough, but they developed a toughness that makes people who have followed the program for a while proud. They never got discouraged, they rarely hung their heads after mistakes and they learned continuously. It was a treat to watch Lucky Jones, Marcquise Reed and Rodney Pryor play together all at once. It was even better knowing Andy Toole finally got that championship ring he deserved.

Storming the court was exhilarating, and a little funny. The RMU faithful were in the upper deck. With about three seconds left in the game, we tried to start making our way down to the court… except security blocked us off. Once the final shot missed, St. Francis fans were blocking our every move to try and get onto the court. I don’t blame them, I’ve been there before too.

Everything that followed was great. From the net-cutting ceremony, to selection Sunday, to sweating out a great game against North Florida, to giving Duke everything they could handle as a 16 seed. What a year.

It’s not like there should be no hope for 2016 either. The season hasn’t started the way anyone would like, but the talent is there. Let’s see how things in conference play go.

Finally, a sincere thank you to all of the fans and readers who have followed along in some capacity over the past year, whether it was through Twitter, Colonials Corner or now back where I belong at Chronicling the Colonials. I write about basketball because I think it’s the best sport in the world, and I’m glad most of you seem to enjoy it.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s.

–Chris Cappella


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