Damian Clarke (‘19) showcases his awareness by intercepting an unsure backpass from a Barry University defender. The keeper is forced to raise his boots and Rollins is awarded a penalty, the golden opportunity to level the score as the men’s soccer team trails 0-1 heading into the final minutes.
The Barker Family Stadium sinks to an uncomfortable and atypical silence in the wait of Stefan Avram’s (‘19) penalty kick. Avram produces a fine shot, only to be denied by a heroic save, the second Rollins penalty saved in the second half. The score stays 0-1 with Barry in the lead, until the final whistle signifies Rollins’ second conference loss in the past five days.
“Penalties are one of those things: if it goes in, you’re a hero; but if the goalie guesses the right way, then it’s really tough to redeem that. If you miss two penalties, it’s going to be really tough to win a game,” said center-back Frank Barry (‘19).
Despite a rough start to Saturday’s game, Rollins gradually found their rhythm during the first half and flirted with the goal on more than one occasion. The Tars dominated the Bucs in terms of shots and corners, forcing eight saves, yet the lack of efficiency in the final third came back to haunt them.
Dominic Adomakoh (‘21), significantly involved in the attack, admitted, “[It was] two good teams playing, I think we had our opportunities, but in the end, it was the one-goal difference really. They held on to it, we had our chances, but sometimes it just goes that way.”
It was a heavily-battled contest, with 31 fouls overall and occasional controversy. The loss was the second one in as many conference games for Rollins, after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to the Florida Southern Mocs, although many who were present in both games complimented the team’s improvement from one game to the other.
The Tars will aim to return to their winning ways in this week’s matches. On Wednesday, Rollins hosts Lynn University in Winter Park, and then they set off to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, to play against Nova Southeastern University.
The idea that Conference opponents may be too much for the Tars is easily dismissed by Adomakoh. “We just know that we’ll play good teams every week,” he said, emphasizing that the decisive factor is not the level of the opposition, but the performance of the Tars. “I don’t think it is much of a difference from the likes of Wingate [University] or Regis [University] that we have played against. I think it is more about us and being prepared for the opposition.”