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A year in review: Looking back on the 2019-2020 athletic season

Several teams experience record-breaking moments this semester

Despite its premature ending, the 2019-20 athletic year provided its fair share of success and excitement for the Tars. In the last weekly Sandspur issue of the year, we look back at an impressive highlight reel that promises plenty for the future.

Women’s Soccer stole the spotlight in Fall 2019, capturing the regular season title in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) and bringing the championship game to Winter Park. The lady Tars broke the record for the best start and most wins in the SSC, grabbing their first eight contests. 

Kathryn O’Brien (‘20) was SSC Player of the Year following a monumental campaign, but the team’s performance was anything but a one-woman show.

Men’s Soccer redeemed last year’s campaign by making it to the postseason, where its journey was cut short by an overtime heartbreaker against Nova Southeastern University. Despite being a young team with 11 freshmen on the roster, the Tars were a force to be dealt with in the SSC, upsetting No. 6 Florida Tech in the process.

Without a doubt, this was a big year for Rollins Swim. In Juliane Lehner’s first season as head coach, following the departure of Kyle Berg, the women placed an unprecedented third in conference, and the men took fifth. Beatriz Oliveri (‘22) and Sydney Willis (‘22) were invited to the NCAAs and earned themselves All-America honors.

 (Left to right) Maya Thompson (‘21), Sam Shelly (‘22), Hannah Brockman (‘21), and Anna Van Zyverden (‘20) set a new school record in the 200 fr relay at the conference championships.
Courtesy of Courtney Lesovoy Photography

The Cross-Country Tars are on their way to consolidate themselves as a program under the leadership of new Head Coach Kaylyn Christopher and long-time Assistant Coach Whit Wismar.

The spring season was short for Rollins Softball but by no means uneventful. The team posted its best season start ever, achieving 19-0. Pitcher Ashley Worrell (‘22) registered the lowest ERA in school history (No. 6 in the nation), while catcher Chelsea Peace (‘21) was on track to break the Rollins and SSC homerun record. The freshman class boasted an unprecedented level of talent with the likes of Ashley Troutmann, Ali Shenefield, Taylor Waters, and more.

Baseball enjoyed its fair share of back-and-forth with the opposition, posting solid performances at home. Catcher Eddie Ayala (‘21) and outfielder Cameron Meehan (‘21) led the way with .400 and .395 batting averages, respectively. Meanwhile, junior transfer Drew Daczkowski (‘21) overcame medical issues to establish himself as one of the best pitchers in the conference.

Both basketball teams bowed out of the season in the first rounds of the conference tournament; however, their efforts were monumental, and the majority of their games came down to a single possession. 

Men’s Basketball defeated No.1 Nova University to celebrate Tom Klusman’s 40th season as head coach, while Jakobi Bonner (‘20 ‘21MBA) reached the 1000 career points mark against Palm Beach Atlantic. 

Women’s Basketball had a galvanizing regular season finale to secure a conference championship berth, where the team suffered a double overtime loss against Eckerd.

Taniyah Pluviose (‘22) encourages her teammates during a close game.
Courtesy of Dylan Baker

With no seniors but plenty of grit and talent, the Volleyball team took the court with poise and composure. Although its results might take some time to reflect the work behind the scenes, it is evident that the future looks bright for the Tars.

Waterski took fifth in Nationals, but the team is fully aware that by improving their weak areas and recruiting players with diverse skill, they can bring the championship home.

Women’s Golf, one of the programs with the most illustrious histories at Rollins, continues to make the college proud. Seher Atwal (‘20) collected two Conference Golfer of the Week awards, tallying five awards throughout her career and tying for third in SSC history. She started the 2020 spring season with a win at the World Golf Invitational, the only golfer par or better in every round at the event.

Rollins Sailing had its best season in a while, thanks to the efforts of new Head Coach Ben Chafee and the experience of Director Dave Herbster. 

Men’s Lacrosse had played less than five games by the time the season was called off; however, they posted some iconic scorelines. After kicking off the year with a 20-4 demolition of Molloy, the icing on the cake came when Jackson Colling (‘20) scored the win in overtime against No.10 Wingate, good for a 10-9 upset. 

Attacker, Dave Gollenberg (‘20), celebrates with the rest of his teammates on the lacrosse team.  
Courtesy of Mike Watters

Women’s Lacrosse, on the other hand, was as dominant as ever, averaging 18.5 goals per game and obliterating most opponents. Ironically, the only loss of the season was during their game of best performance, as they were 14 seconds away from defeating Adelphi University, the No. 1 team in the country. 

The Rowing and Tennis teams had barely started when the COVID-19 hiatus ensued, but both teams’ athletes can be proud of their efforts in practice and their team culture.

The Men’s Crew team swept all the events in the Metro Cup Regatta, whereas the Women’s team had to fight off opponents and tough conditions at the same time. 

Lastly, the Women’s Tennis team concluded the season with three consecutive sweeps, namely against Lander, Saginaw Valley, and Ferris State. On the last day of the season, the men’s tennis team defeated St. Thomas Aquinas 5-2 to end the year on a high note.

Regardless of the results, it is evident that Rollins student-athletes continue to put their best foot forward both on and off the field. While global sports have come to a halt, it is perhaps the best time to reflect on the achievements and lessons this season has offered the Tars.

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