No. 14 Robert Morris men’s lacrosse enjoying fruits of labor in 2018

Thanks to Saturday’s 15-5 trouncing of the Mount St. Mary’s men’s lacrosse team at Waldron Family Stadium, No. 14 Robert Morris improved to 6-2 overall, matching the program’s best start shared by the 2009 and 2010 teams.

The Colonials, who are 2-0 in the Northeast Conference, have defeated then-No. 15 Penn State and then-No. 18 Marquette, and are enjoying their highest ranking in a national poll in the program’s 14-year history. The program’s rise is gratifying to players such as redshirt junior attackman Matt Schmidt.

“It’s rewarding because of the amount of work that we put into every week,” said Schmidt, who scored three goals and assisted on two others in the win over the Mountaineers. “We certainly deserve it. So now that it’s actually happening, it’s something special.”

Neither Schmidt nor coach Andrew McMinn could point to a single event or outcome as the season’s turning point. Instead, McMinn, who has helmed Robert Morris since 2012 and has been associated with the program since 2006, praised the players for warding off as many distractions as possible.

“I honestly think that they’ve done a great job of just responding to the success that we’ve had,” he said. “We really focus on self control and just focusing on the controllables and not the outside opinions or what’s happening. We’re just talking to the guys about making sure every week how we’re trying to get ourselves a little bit better, and they’ve done a great job of responding to that.”

With Bryant defeating Sacred Heart, 16-7, on Saturday, that sets up a Friday matchup between the top two teams in the NEC in the Bulldogs and the Colonials. Robert Morris appears to be in prime position to capture what would be its first league tournament championship and make its first NCAA postseason appearance, but Schmidt said that scenario is too far into the future to speculate about.

“We try not to let it get into our heads,” he said. “We want to focus on the next game and that’s it. We don’t want to say, ‘We’re a ranked team now. So who’s next?’ We don’t want that cocky mentality. We definitely know where we stand and that we can hang with anyone.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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