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Tars advance to SSC semifinals

The perseverance and strength the Tars demonstrated earned them a spot in the next round of the Sunshine State Conference tournament. Fourth-seeded Rollins defeated Florida Southern, ranked number five at the time, in an epic comeback, marking it the second time in the past week that the Tars overpowered the Mocs.

With the win, #28 Rollins improves to 11-9 on the year, and advance to the SSC Tournament Semifinals.

The Mocs end their year ranked #38 nationally, with a 10-11 overall record.

The meeting started in favor of Florida Southern, who stole the first two doubles wins; however, Francesco Racanelli ’19 and Ziad Melhaoui ‘19 made sure Rollins avoided a loss, defeating Southern’s Blaine Miller and Jose de Sario, 8-5, in the third spot.

From there, the Mocs also won the first singles match, pursuing a 3-1 lead. But, Sami Kirberg ’20 and Patrick Sell ’17 won back-to-back, putting the Tars back on the board.

The score remained tied at 3-3, and it looked in favor of the Mocs before Rollins’ Cody Gubin ’19 recovered from an epic set back. Losing the first round 2-6, Gubin ultimately finished the last two 6-1, 6-4, proving his ability to remain concentrated and mentally strong.

Florida Southern continued to fight. They won the next match, tying the score for the second time at 4-4. However, their good luck could only get them so far.

Daniel Fore ’19 ended up pulling through for the Tars in the end with a win in the fifth position. The Landsberg, Germany native fought long and hard and overcame a first set loss to win the series 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Rollins’ ability to overcome initial deficit earned them a spot in the next round of the tournament, facing top-seeded Barry University. Unfortunately, the Tars were unable to overcome the top-seeded team and were defeated 6-0. Barry improved 20-1 on the season.

Although the Tars did not clinch the SSC title, they will have to turn around and prepare for another highly ranked opponent in the SSC Tournament third place game.

Rollins will take on the loser of the matchup between second-seeded Saint Leo and third seeded Lynn.

The Lions are 12-3 on the year and ranked third in the country, while the Fighting Knights are 18-4 and sit at #8.

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