On Sept. 3, the Rollins Tars took on the Lions of Florida Memorial University in a very physical matchup. The Tars managed to keep a clean sheet while netting 4 goals on the way.
Nick Sowers ‘12 opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a flying header past Lions’ keeper Lucas Perez, thanks to some quick work by Stephen Wright ’11 and Bradley Welch ’11. The Florida Memorial forwards looked keen to strike back quickly, but ran up against the Tars’ defensive wall. The match became very physical very quickly and Lions’ #17, Pedro Lima, was shown yellow for a shove in the midfield, one dig too many on his part.
The Lions tactics seemed to revolve around late tackles and grappling when the Tars slipped past them with the ball. The play was end to end as the half continued, but Rollins definitely looked to have the better of chances. The Lions picked up yet another yellow in the 33rd minute, after some sloppy play by their defense resulting in a penalty. Tars’ Chase Neinken ’11 stepped up to take the kick, but the Lions’ keeper ran forward off of his line before Neinken had struck the ball.
Although the referee took a moment to acknowledge his lineman’s flag, Neinken was awarded a retake.
He buried the ball handily, charging afterward over to the sideline (the field level “Tar Pit” at the far end of the stands) where he expressed his gratitude to Tars fans who howled at the Lions’ keeper’s transgression.
The keeper, Perez, was clearly upset about the retake, and vocally expressed his displeasure to the point of being shown a yellow card for dissent. The half ended with the Tars up 2-0.
Six minutes into the second half, Lions’ #16, Lorenzo Bistolfi, was shown yellow for an aggressive tackle, and within moments, when he performed a sloppy tackle on Neinken as he was making his way toward goal again, the referee showed Bistolfi red.
Down to 10 men and incredibly frustrated by the challenge posed by the Tars midfield, Lions’ coach, Fernando Valenzuela, began loudly arguing with the referee and charging onto the pitch to express his frustration more directly.
The referee, after asking the coach to step back numerous times, ejected him from the stadium in the 60th minute of the match. Minutes later, delaying play further, Lions’ #21 Kevin Raymond, was also shown yellow for arguing with the ref.
In the 81st minute, Florida Memorial’s defender Javhan Russell was shown red for a dangerous, and blatant trip. This brought the Lions down to just nine men on the pitch. Not surprisingly, in the 83rd minute, Bradley Welch, taking advantage of a well placed pass by sophomore Joris Combe, struck past the Lions’ keeper to close out Tars scoring.
The game ended 4 – 0, the Tars taking 21 shots on goal to the Lions 10.
The Lions’ display of aggression and disappointing lack of control did them no favors, but perhaps will give them leave to consider their approach in further games.
The Tars opened their season well with this decisive win. After Sunday’s disappointing loss to the University of the Incarnate Word, the Tars stand at a record of 1-1 as they prepare to take on University of West Florida and Thomas University on the road. The Tars women maintain the same record of 1-1 with a loss to West Texas A&M and a win against Texas Women’s University, both on the road. Be sure to check out their home season opener on Thursday, September 16th against Northwood University.
Meanwhile, the gentleman will return to Winter Park on Friday, Sept. 17 against Saint Leo University in a conference match.