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RMU football team seeks repeat success

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By Josh Sickles
Monday, July 18, 2011

After Robert Morris lost, 43-17, to North Dakota State in the Division I-FCS playoffs, coach Joe Walton knew his team had beaten itself.

"You can't make those silly mistakes, or anybody's going to beat you," he said.

The Colonials had a chance to win -- they trailed, 20-17, with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter -- but two turnovers and a blown coverage spelled doom for RMU.

"It wasn't North Dakota State," he said. "If we had been playing Albany, if we'd been playing Monmouth, if we'd have been playing Central Connecticut State, we'd have gotten beat by those teams too."

RMU will be under pressure to duplicate last season's success. The Colonials beat their first ranked opponent with a 30-23 win over Liberty, which they play again this season. They also earned the school's first-ever FCS playoff berth.

The key for the Colonials will be quarterback Jeff Sinclair. With the departure of the school's all-time leading rusher, Myles Russ, Sinclair, a Highlands graduate, needs to be a leader both on and off the field.

"It's his team," Walton said. "I think he's established himself as not only a good quarterback, but he can make plays.

"He's a winner. Everybody will be looking more towards him. Where he might have had Myles to fall back on at times, he might need to step up his game even more."

Going international

West Virginia men's soccer signees Andy Bevin and Ryan Cain have been named to the final Junior All Whites squad for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia from July 29-Aug. 20.

Bevin, a forward, and Cain, a midfielder, both played for the Oceania Football Confederation U-20 Championship team that qualified New Zealand for the World Cup. Bevin scored three goals, and Cain had one.

New Zealand is in Group B with Cameroon, Portugal and Uruguay. It will have four warm-up matches - including one in Colombia - before its opening match against Cameroon on July 30.

Ripken it up

Two local players were selected to play in an all-star game pitting the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League against the Valley Baseball League, which took place last Monday night in Harrison, Va.

Mercyhurst junior Bill Gerstenslager started at first base for the CRCBL and went 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored. Playing for the Silver Spring-Tacoma T-Bolts, Gerstenslager is third in the league in batting (.396) and home runs (five).

California (Pa.) University senior Troy Handza did not compete because of an injury. Also playing for the T-Bolts, the Shaler product is hitting .327 with four doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI and two steals this summer.



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