The Rollins College men’s soccer team defeated Florida Tech on Friday, Oct. 22 in a tough but thrilling 2-1 victory.
From the start of the match, both teams struggled to determine the flow of play, which lead to some heavy contact. In fact, the referee issued a yellow to Florida Tech’s Nicolas Garcia early on in the game.
Rollins keeper Keneil Baker ’14 impressed the crowd with four excellent saves, one of which occurred the 23rd minute when he held off a close shot from Florida Tech.
In a strategy to pass through the Panther’s solid defense, the Tars attempted to push through several times but were met with heavy challenges. Despite the excellent delivery forward by Rollins midfielders Andreas Mayer ’11 and Nick Sowers ’12, many of the Rollins men’s set pieces were shut down on the cross.
One play did, however, make it through the Panther’s defense when midfielder Michael Aronski ’11 took a free kick and delivered a strong shot that defender Jack Clifford ’11 tucked into goal past Florida Tech’s keeper Brentton Muhammad.
The half ended with the Tars leading the game by one goal. By this point in the game, they had taken seven shots to the Panthers’ six.
Florida Tech entered the second half stronger than before. In the 50th minute, the Panthers took a shot that sailed over the goal, which pleased the Tars’ defense.
Tech continued its pressure in the 52nd and 54th minutes, building up and firing over and over. The Rollins men then escaped these pressures by running the ball out in hopes of another goal, but were met with difficulties. In the 56th minute Florida Tech’s Gary Ogilvie carried the ball toward Rollins’ goal on his own and fired away, equalizing the score to the delight of his teammates and fans in the stands.
Tech tried quickly to net another ball, but found their corner kick in the 65th minute welldefended by Baker. The Rollins defensive line continued to exercise its well-practiced brick wall routine.
As a result, they shut out almost every Florida Tech effort; on a few occasions causing them to fire from outside the box and over the net on a few occasions.
As the final minutes counted down, forward/midfielder Bradley Welch ’11 set up the ball for Stephen Wright ’11 and Chase Neinken ’11. When Neinken stuck the ball to Wright, he blasted it into the back of the net to deal the final blow to Tech, putting the Tars in the lead.
Unwilling to stay at just one goal ahead, the Tars continued to fight for another goal until time expired sealing Rollins’ place atop the Sunshine State Conference tables with a 2-1 victory to the Tars.
The Rollins men will play the University of Tampa tomorrow. If they score a win, then they will push Barry, the currently second-ranked SSC team, farther away from the title.
This means that the SSC title is still within sight for the Tars. If they continue to play as strong and aggressive as they did against Florida Tech, the Tars men’s soccer team is almost certain to bring the title home.