WINTER PARK, Fla. (February 4, 2017) – Less than a week away from their 2017 season opener against Mars Hill College, the Rollins men’s lacrosse team is primed and ready to get their 10th campaign in program history under way.
This season, 15 fresh faces will add depth and talent to a roster that saw the Tars notch the best season in program history in 2016. Out of the 15 newcomers, one is a junior transfer, while 14 make their collegiate debuts as true freshmen.
Along with being standouts on the lacrosse field, these newcomers are all extremely successful in the classroom. Coach Lewis has high praise for the class of 2020, saying, “This group is already proving why we were excited about them in the Fall. We have freshmen at almost every position who are pushing for playing time, even starting roles, early on this Spring. They have proven to be dedicated in the classroom and on the field. The sky is the limit with them, and we have high expectations.”
The new crew is diverse in all facets, hailing from 12 different states, and entering into collegiate lacrosse after playing for some prominent high school programs in their respective states. Five come from the northern states of Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, while four call the southern states of Georgia and Florida home. Adding to the diversity, three come from Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, while three come from the more western regions of Missouri, Colorado, and Texas. Eight of the newcomers will fill roles in the midfield, including two faceoff specialists and one long stick middie, followed by three attackmen, two defenders, and two goalies.
2017 Rollins Men’s Lacrosse Newcomers: A Closer Look
Brett Portera | FO/Midfield | Bay Shore, N.Y.
Graduated from St. John the Baptist… led the Cougars to four playoff appearances, including a Downstate Championship as a junior… named an All-League Midfielder as a senior, as well as placing on the All-League Academic Team three times… maintained a 70% faceoff winning percentage…Played two years at Bentley University
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Brett transferred in from Bentley University out of the powerhouse NE-10 Conference. He has used his experience to help our FO unit improve. Using his strength at the X to give us some nice versatility in that area.”
Blake Buell | Midfield | Dallas, Texas
Attended Jesuit College Prep in Dallas, Texas… led the Rangers to four playoff appearances and the team’s first ever State Championship as a senior… garnered First Team All-State honors as a senior… named a team captain for his senior campaign
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Blake is an ‘old school’ midfielder who can do it all, and he does it well. He is a threat with the ball in his stick, and can more than hold his own in the defensive end.”
Dave Gollenberg | Attack | Granby, Conn.
Played for two years at Granby Memoral High School before transferring to the Westminster School to conclude his high school career…helped his team to an NCCC Conference Championship his freshman year, as well as a quarterfinal appearance his sophomore year… named First Team NCCC All-Conference his sophomore season… earned the Super Sophomore All-Star Award in 2013…earned the Sixth Form Summus Academic Award at the Westminster School in the fall of 2015
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “It took a few days for Dave to catch up to the speed of the college game, but ever since it has clicked for him he has shown a great ability to get to high-percentage scoring areas. We are excited by his toughness and willingness to take punishment - it will be a huge asset to the offense.”
Wesley Johnson | Defensive Midfield | Louisville, Ky.
Played four years of football at North Oldham High School… named First Team All-District and Second Team All-State as a senior
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Wes came to us as an outstanding athlete, and has been dedicated to honing his lacrosse skills from the start. His potential is astounding, and we are pleased with his willingness to improve every day.”
Brandon Carlin | Midfield | East Meadow, N.Y.
Attended East Meadow High School for four years… helped the Jets to playoff appearances in every season… led team in assists in his final two seasons … earned All-Conference honors as both a junior and a senior… named Offensive MVP and Academic All-Conference
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Brandon is a patient and poised young player. He lets the game come to him and doesn’t force it. His combination of natural athleticism and lacrosse skill is incredible and he is going to develop into a great player for us.”
Eric NeCamp | Attack | Powell, Ohio
Played four years at Olentangy Liberty High School… led the Patriots to a Final Four appearance as a junior… named First Team All-Region, First Team All-Conference, and Second Team All-State as a senior… participated in the All-Ohio Senior All-Star Game
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “We love Eric’s work ethic and his commitment to doing things the right way. He has been a consistent player who gets better every day in practice. He pushes the returning players and brings some healthy competition to the attack group.”
James Cowan | Midfield | Lutz, Fla.
Attended Steinbrenner High School from 2012 through 2016… led the Warriors to FHSAA Round of 16 as a senior… named a First Team All-Hillsborough County Midfielder as a junior and senior… selected a team captain as a senior
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “We have had some big, strong, athletic midfielders here in the past, and James fits the mold. He can dodge and shoot on the run at will. An extremely coachable young man, the sky is the limit for his play.”
Zach Collins | Goalie | Roswell, Ga.
Attended Regis Jesuit High School (CO) from 2012 until 2014, before attending Lassiter High School (GA) from 2014 until 2016… led the Raiders to a Championship as a sophomore… took the Trojans to the playoffs both years, reaching the state finals as a senior… maintained a 63% save percentage … named a team captain… won award for Highest Senior GPA
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Zach came to us after having a standout senior year with one of the best high school programs in Georgia. He has been a dedicated player, and we are very pleased with the work ethic, competitiveness, and attitude on the field.”
Jackson Pliska | Defense | Orlando, Fla.
Played four years of defense at Dr. Phillips High School… led the Panthers to playoff appearances as a sophomore, junior, and senior… twice named a team captain
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “It has been a pleasure to see the strides Jackson has already taken in such a short time here. He has improved a great deal and shows us more and more that he will make an impact in the defensive end. His off-ball play is his tremendous, which shows his intelligence in team defense.”
Tim Giuggio | Midfield | Cohasset, Mass.
Attended the Kent School… registered 17 goals and 10 assists as a senior… was named a team captain… awarded the Gowan Trophy for team MVP
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Tim has a unique set of abilities which make him a very interesting player for us. He has done a great job in adapting to the way we play in the offensive end while still doing what makes him successful. In a spot where we have solid depth, he is pushing the veterans for a big role.”
Wyatt Todd | LSM | Randolph, N.J.
Attended Randolph (NJ) HS … Led the Rams to four straight playoff appearances, including two quarterfinal appearances… selected Third Team All-Region as a sophomore, and First Team as a junior and a senior… named First Team All-District following both junior and senior campaigns… chosen Third Team All-State as a senior… dubbed NJ.com Best Defender in the State
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Wyatt has a natural ability in the defensive end that is fun to watch. His game only gets better in transition where he can stretch the field and cause nightmares for opposing teams in the clear. He is a hard worker, and certainly learning a ton from our veteran LSMs.”
Ford Johnson | FO/Midfield | Kansas City, Mo.
Starter for Pembroke Hill (KS) HS… led the Raiders to two Championships, and two quarterfinal appearances… named First Team All-Metro as a sophomore, a junior, and a senior… twice chosen as a team captain… won team’s Dedication Award… ranks fifth all time in total points
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “The faceoff X can be a tough spot to come in and make an impact right away as a freshman, but Ford has shown that he can hold his own. His quickness allows him to gain control of the initial draw and get out safely with the ball. He gives us a great variation and change of pace at this spot.”
Zach Sudol | Attack | Boulder, Colo.
Played midfield and attack for Brewster Academy… led the Bobcats to two Lakes Region Championships
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Zach is a natural shooter and does very well at putting the ball in the back of the net. His play around the crease has shown that he can be a versatile scorer and a real threat to defenses. As he starts to see the field better, he will be a very well-rounded attackman.”
Harrison Bluestein | Defense | Alexandria, Va.
Starter for St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School… led the Saints to a pair of VISAA State Championships… named VISAA State Player of the Year as a senior… received the 2015 SSSAS “Saint” Award and the 2016 SSSAS Male Model Athlete of the Year Award
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Harrison is a work horse. His strength and athleticism allows him to cover big guys and quick guys. He is tough kid with a great work ethic that will lead to him being a crucial part of our defense.”
Landon Salie | Goalie | Jensen Beach, Fla.
Played for the Jensen Beach Falcons from 2012 to 2016… led the team to four playoff appearances, and two District Championships… named First Team All-District as a senior… named a captain for his senior season
Coach Lewis’ Thoughts: “Landon has stepped up from the start, showing that he is a college ready goalie. He has a good technique and is consistent in the clearing game. We are excited about his potential to be a leader of the defense in years to come.”
The Tars will open their season on Friday, February 10, when they take on Mars Hill University for the seventh time in program history. Rollins first matched up with the Lions in their inaugural season, facing off against MHU on March 20, 2008 when both teams were members of the Deep South Conference. The Tars’ home opener is set for Thursday, March 2, where Rollins will square off against Wheeling Jesuit for the third time in program history.
Fans will be able to follow the Tars all season long with free HD video available on the Geico Tars Sports Network with long-time host Clark Sprinkle on the call. Links to live coverage of away contests will be available on RollinsSports.com. For the latest news, updates, and information on the Rollins men’s lacrosse team, fans can visit RollinsSports.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest #TARnation news by following Rollins Sports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.