WINTER PARK, Fla. (August 9, 2017) - The Tars men's soccer team will enter their 27th season under the guidance of head coach Keith Buckley in 2017. Rollins will turn to nine seniors for guidance, as they look to return to postseason play after missing out on the Sunshine State Conference Tournament last season. The Tars backline will be anchored by a pair of seniors, defender Fritz Engel and goalkeeper Drew Trautmann, both are coming off a 2016 in which they earned CoSIDA Academic All-Region Honors. Among the returners in the attacking end is NSCAA All-Region, and CoSIDA Academic All-American selection, Matt Volk.
After warming up with a trio of exhibition games here in Florida, the Tars will travel north to open regular season play. Rollins will head to Wingate, North Carolina to take on Lees-McRae in the opener on August 31. The Bobcats are coming off a 5-14 year in 2016, which saw them advance to the Conference Carolinas Semifinals. The Tars will stay in North Carolina until September 2, when they will take the field against the defending National Champion, and preseason No. 1, Wingate Bulldogs. Wingate completed their banner 2016 19-1-0, including an early season victory over the Tars at Saint Leo. Overall, Rollins is 2-1 all-time against the Bulldogs.
The Tars will return to the familiar confines of Barker Family Stadium for their next contests, as they host a pair of Gulf South Conference opponents. Rollins will face off with West Florida on Friday, September 8. The Tars traveled to Pensacola and defeated the Argonauts 2-1 in overtime last season. Rollins will then turn around and host Spring Hill in a match which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 10. The Tars defeated the Badgers in their only previous meeting.
Rollins will take to the road once more before entering SSC play, heading down I-4 to Lakeland for a game against Southeastern. The Tars are 3-0 all-time against the Fire, and downed them 3-0 in Winter Park last year.
Conference play will open with a visit from the Mocs of Florida Southern. With the game set for September 20, Rollins will be looking for revenge, as Florida Southern just edged out the Tars by a score of 4-3 last season. The tars hold the 50-13-10 advantage in the all-time series with the Mocs.
Rollins will head south for their next two SSC competitions. On Wednesday, September 23, the Tars will take on Barry. A highlight of the Tars 2016 season was their 3-2 overtime win against the then No. 8 Bucs. Staying in South Florida, Rollins will lace up against preseason No. 10, and defending SSC Champions, Lynn, on Wednesday, September 27. The Fighting Knights bested the Tars 5-3 in a shootout last year, and hold a 10-21-2 head-to-head advantage.
Nova Southeastern visits Barker Family Stadium on Saturday, September 30 for a conference match. The Sharks struggled in 2016, ending the season 4-11-0, and 2-7 in conference play, finding themselves in the league cellar. The Tars downed the Sharks 4-3, and lead the all-time series 15-5-1.
Rollins will then prepare for back-to-back contests against teams ranked in the preseason top-25. The Tars will start with an October 4 trip to Tampa to take on the No. 8 Spartans. Rollins and Tampa battled to 3-3 tie last year. The Tars will then welcome Palm Beach Atlantic to Winter Park on October 7. The Sailfish begin the season ranked No. 14, however, the Tars still lead the all-time matchup 15-4-0.
Rollins will travel to St. Petersburg to take on Eckerd on Wednesday, October 11. Rollins is 18-4-1 all-time against the Tritons, with the lone tie coming in a 2-2 battle last year.
Rollins will finish their non-conference schedule on Saturday, October 14 when they welcome the Saints of Flagler College to Winter Park. The Tars are 19-9-3 all-time against the Peach Belt Conference school.
Saint Leo will make the trip east to Barker Family Stadium on October 18. The Tars shutout the Lions 3-0 last year, as Saint Leo ended the season with a record of 5-8. For Lions' first year head coach Tony Paris, this will be the first trip to Rollins at the helm of the Saint Leo program. The Tars leading the all-time series 44-7-4.
Rollins will make their first trip to newly minted NCAA Division II member Embry-Riddle for Sunshine State action on Saturday, October 21. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Tars are 19-3-1 in their history, against the Eagles.
Rollins concludes the regular season against Florida Tech on October 24. The Panthers enter 2017 ranked No. 24 in the preseason poll. FIT is coming off a 11-5-1 year in which they made the NCAA South Region Tournament.
The SSC Tournament begins with quarterfinal action on October 31, with the Semifinals and Finals set to take place the following weekend on November 3 and 5 respectively.
Fans can follow Tars soccer all year long with live audio and video on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com, where the latest news, updates, and information on the Rollins soccer team can also be accessed. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest #TARnation news by following Rollins Sports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.