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PREVIEW: Men’s Lacrosse Faces No. 9/10 Belmont Abbey, Saturday

PREVIEW: Men’s Lacrosse Faces No. 9/10 Belmont Abbey, Saturday

Tars Open Up Season with Road Game Against Ranked Opponent


MATCH-UP:
Rollins (0-0) vs No. 9/10 Belmont Abbey (0-0)

WHERE:
Alumni Field | Belmont Abbey College | Belmont, N.C.

WHEN:
Saturday | February 3, 2018 | 1:00 P.M.

COVERAGE:
VIDEO: Belmont Abbey Sports Network

STATS: Live Stats

SET-UP:
The Rollins men's lacrosse team jumps into their 2018 season on Saturday, when they take on No. 9/10 Belmont Abbey College in a south region clash.  The Tars open up their 2018 slate with three consecutive road games before returning home to Cahall-Sandspur Field on Tuesday, March 13, when they host Colorado Mesa.  The Crusaders also open up their 2018 season on Saturday afternoon, with the matchup marking the first time the two teams will have met since March 10, 2016.

TRACKING THE TARS:
The Tars, who were picked to finish fifth in the Sunshine State Conference behind a three-way tie for second, also received votes on both the Nike/US Lacrosse Preseason Top 20 as well as the USILA DII Preseason Poll. 

Rollins concluded its 2017 campaign having taken on its toughest schedule in program history. The Tars finished with a record of 7-7 and 2-3 in SSC action, and were ranked as high as 18th on the USILA Division II Poll, and 15th on the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20 poll. With every game proving to be a challenge, Rollins squared up against eight teams that were either ranked on the USILA Poll or had received votes at the time of competition. Seven of their 14 games were decided by one-goal differentials, four of which were thrilling victories that often saw the Tars fight from behind to earn the win.

With a total of 42 players on this season's active roster, the Tars have a healthy mix of veteran strength and fresh talent to help diversify their game.  The Tars return 28 players from last season, including six seniors, nine juniors, and 13 sophomores, and welcome three transfers and 11 true freshmen to this year's squad. 

The Tars return two of their top three scorers from last season in Greg Taicher (37 goals, 14 assists) and Connor Ashton (16 goals, 11 assists), as well as key midfielder Lucas Brush (44 ground balls, 24 caused turnovers).  Also returning is defender Austin Jackson, who saw time in all 14 contests last season, earning 13 starts as he earned 12 ground balls and eight caused turnovers while helping hold opponents to less than 10 goals per game.

TRACKING THE CRUSADERS:

Picked to finish second on the Conference Carolinas Preseason Poll, the Belmont Abbey Crusaders have also earned a nod on both national preseason polls, checking in at No. 9 on the Nike/US Lacrosse Preseason Top 20, and tenth on the USILA DII Preseason Poll.

Belmont Abbey returns 38 players from a 2017 team that posted an overall record of 12-5 and 6-1 in Conference Carolinas competition.  The Crusaders advanced to the Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship, where they fell to eventual National Champion Limestone by a final score of 18-11 on April 30, 2017.

This season's BAC squad features a whopping 25 freshmen, four redshirt freshmen, 13 sophomores, one redshirt sophomore, 10 juniors, and 14 seniors for a grand total of 67 members. 

Senior attack Adam Wiedemann has been named to the USILA Division II Preseason Watch List.  Wiedemann is coming off a 49-goal season, averaging just over three goals per game.  He also handed out a team best 26 assists and picked up 32 ground balls last season, good for fourth overall on the team.  Also returning is Liam Osborne, who ranked second on the team in goals (39), assists (20), and points (59), along with Billy Huss who led the team in ground balls (76) as he won 167-of-316 faceoff attempts.  The Crusaders' top turnover creator, Anthony Cesario, also returns this season after he led the team with 20 in 2017.  Also back is starting goalie Harley Whitham, who saw a total of 894:44 minutes between the pipes last year, allowing 114 goals while earning 139 saves as he posted a save percentage of .549.

THE SERIES:

Rollins vs Belmont Abbey (1-5)

Date

Opponent

 

Score

 

 

Site

3/28/2008

at Belmont Abbey

L

4-20

   

Belmont, NC

3/28/2010

at Belmont Abbey

L

6-10

   

Belmont, NC

3/9/2013

BELMONT ABBEY

L

7-10

   

Winter Park, Fla.

2/16/2014

vs Belmont Abbey

W

9-8

o2

 

Charlotte, N.C.

3/7/2015

at #13 Belmont Abbey

L

10-11

o3

 

Belmont, NC

3/10/2016

#19 BELMONT ABBEY

L

10-13

   

Winter Park, Fla.

THE BREAKDOWN:
Overall: 1-5
Conference: 0-0
Home: 0-2
Away: 0-3
Neutral: 1-0

NOTES:

  • Last time out against the Crusaders, Rollins fell to then 19th-ranked Belmont Abbey by a score of 13-10 in Winter Park.
  • The Tars return 28 players from last season's squad, and welcome 14 new faces with 11 freshmen and three transfers.
  • Rollins will be squaring up against their first of eight teams who have been recognized on preseason polls this year.
  • With 62 overall points entering into his junior season, Greg Taicher currently sits 10th in program record books for points in a career.  Taicher also sits 10th overall in career goals (43) and career assists (19).  The Berwyn, Pa. native concluded his sophomore season setting a program record for points in a season with 51 (37 goals, 14 assists), as well as goals scored in a season (37), and his 14 assists in a season is a good for sixth in program records.
  • Lucas Brush enters into his senior season with 105 ground balls, good for seventh in program record books for ground balls in a career.  He needs 16 to surpass Andrew Matthews `17 in order to move into sixth place.  The Dublin, Ohio native is also currently fifth in program record books for career caused turnovers.  He currently sits 37 CT's behind program leader Nick Scannapieco (2010-13) who amassed 77 in his career.  Brush's 24 caused turnovers last season are good for fourth in program record books for caused turnovers in a season.
  • Key Individual Game Records to Watch in 2018:
    • Most points in a game: 7
    • Most goals in a game: 6
    • Most caused turnovers: 6
    • Most assists: 5
    • Most saves: 25
    • Most shots: 19
    • Most ground balls: 17
    • Most man-up goals: 4
    • Most man-down goals: 2
    • Most faceoffs won: 23

NEXT:
Rollins takes to the road to Wheeling, W.V. to take on the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals on Sunday, February 18.  The Tars and Cardinals are slated to face off at noon at Bishop Schmitt Field.  Links to live coverage of the game will be available on RollinsSports.com once available.

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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.