The Rollins Men’s soccer team completed their season last Sunday, Oct. 30, against Embry-Riddle. Although the Tars continued to fight for a spot in the Sunshine State Conference tournament up until the end, they fell short. Only the top six teams can enter post-season play, and Rollins entered the game tied for sixth with Eckerd. Although the Tars defeated Embry-Riddle 3-0, they failed to beat Eckerd for the tournament placement.
Rollins lost some key players from last year’s team; however, the competitive nature of the players has not faltered. Although the Tars still ended up bringing together a very talented Men’s team, opponents in the SSC always seemed to stay a step ahead.
When asked about the outcome of the season, Jordan Cole ‘17 had many positive things to say: “There are some games and moments that we would love to have back, to do over again, but the team camaraderie was always very high and that continued through to the end of the season.”
The Tars’ underachievement in terms of making post-season play was not due to lack of effort or will to win; the team was simply outplayed at the very end. Most of the team’s losses were only by one goal—only two games exceeded this margin of loss.
Unfortunately for a few Rollins seniors, Sunday’s game was the last collegiate soccer game they will participate in as Tars. Tosan Popo ‘17, Alexis Martinez ‘17, Jordan Cole ‘17, David Kuckkahn ’17, and Mark Biddinger ‘17 served as incredible leaders and athletes for their teammates this fall, and the program will miss them immensely.
Reflecting on the end of his season, Cole named a few things he will specifically miss about Rollins and the game of soccer. “From the jokes and banter in the locker room to the competitive nature of practices… knowing that you have a group of guys that would do anything for you at any moment is something I will always miss about the game.” Jordan has been a major contributing member of the team for five seasons.
The seniors this year exhibited immense leadership and talent. Although David Kuckkahn and Mark Biddinger were out for a large part of the season due to injuries, the other seniors stepped up on the field and came together to lead their team the best they could.
Speaking of talent, the end of regular season games calls for the release of All-Conference teams, where senior Tosan Popo ‘17 was notably selected as a member of the First Team All-Conference honors squad. Not only was this the fourth consecutive year Popo was named to this team, but he is also one of only four athletes to ever reach this accomplishment.
The 2016-2017 Men’s soccer team fell short of their ultimate goal, but not for lack of talent. As the underclassmen continue to train throughout the post-season, Rollins Athletics plans to see this team come back next year with a vengeance.
The women’s team lost 0-1 to #1 ranked Saint Leo in the semi-finals for the SSC. Despite their defeat they will proceed to NCAA tournament in the #4 spot out of the South Region. They will go against Lee in Miami Shores in the first round.