Rollins (10-4-1, 6-4-0 SSC) – 3
Florida Tech (9-6, 6-4-0 SSC) – 2
WINTER PARK, Fla. (October 31, 2017) – The Tars and the Florida Tech Panthers faced off for the second time in a week, with a spot in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Semifinals on the line. Rollins would jump out to an early lead, but it was Florida Tech who would hold the advantage for most of the match. Rollins used a late comeback to down the Panthers, surviving to take on top-seeded Palm Beach Atlantic in the next round of conference tournament play.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
First Half: Rollins would find the back of the net in the 15th minute, as the Tars' pair of junior captains would team up for the score. Johnny Nartowicz lofted a set piece into the box, finding the head of Ben Grant who floated the ball over a charging Christopher Page, and into the net. The Panthers would pick up their attack in the coming minutes and equalize when Florida Tech got on the end of a long pass. The Panthers initial shot was blocked, but Luca Campanini was there to finish the chance, tying the match at 1-1. Less than 10 minutes later Florida Tech would take the lead on another long ball over the top of the Tars backline. This time Paris Junior Roserie was able to get on the end of the Fabian Egbele pass to give Florida Tech the lead heading into the break.
Second Half: The Tars pushed for most of the half, trying to find an equalizer of their own. However, the first opportunity of the half came to the Panthers, with the Tars throwing bodies forward Roserie used his pace to get a one-on-one chance with Tars' keeper Drew Trautmann. The Orlando, Florida native came up big, keeping Rollins in the game. Rollins would equalize on the ensuing attack; Stefan Avram sent a dangerous cross across the face of goal which was tapped in by Jan Hlavica, for an own goal. The game looked destined for overtime, as the 84th minute elapsed. Avram, however, found his second goal of the night. He took a Ben Grant pass and turned, dribbling by a defender and slotting a shot into the back of the net. The Tars then saw out the final moments to survive and advance.
- The Tars are now 30-16-4 all time against the Panthers.
- Ben Grant and Stefan Avram remain tied a top the SSC leaderboards, each tallying their ninth goals of the year.
- Grant's assist was his first of the season and gives him the team lead with 19 points, third highest total in the conference.
- The Tars advance to face regular season SSC Champions Palm Beach Atlantic. The Sailfish beat Rollins 1-0 in a hotly contested match in Winter Park, on October 7.
- Head Coach Keith Buckley moves to 316-152-30, as he is in his 27th season at the helm of the Rollins soccer program.
The Tars head to West Palm Beach for the semifinal round of the SSC Tournament which is being held on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University. The Tars will face the top-seeded Sailfish on Friday, November 3, at 7 p.m.
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