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PREVIEW: Tars and Spartans Battle for SSC Title

PREVIEW: Tars and Spartans Battle for SSC Title

SCHEDULE:
Sunday, November 5 vs. Tampa | 1:00 p.m. | PBA Soccer/Lacrosse Field 

COVERAGE:
UT – Watch | Live Stats 

MORE INFORMATION:
SSC Tournament Page | Championship Central | Bracket 

SET UP: The Tars upset top-seeded, and second ranked, Palm Beach Atlantic in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Semifinals on Friday evening to advance to the Championship match.  Rollins got goals from junior captains Johnny Nartowicz and Ben Grant to pull off the upset, scoring twice on the Sailfish, who had only given up three goals on the season prioir.  Rollins will now face Tampa with a Sunshine State Conference Title on the line. 

WHO TO WATCH:
Rollins (11-4-1, 6-4-0 SSC): The Tars have seen their attack surge in postseason play, as the Tars are now averaging 2.438 goals per game in 2017.  Second Team All-SSC honoree Ben Grant continues to pace the Tars' attack as he became the conference's first double digit goal scorer with his insurance tally against PBA.  He leads the SSC with 10 goals, and is tied for the lead in points with 21.  Stefan Avram, who joined Ben on the All-SSC Second Team, tallied an assist in the Tars semifinal win and ranks second on the team with nine goals and 19 points.  First Team All-SSC selection Fritz Engel leads the Tars in assists from his defensive position, registering four helpers on the year.  Johnny Nartowicz and Andre Nansen each have three assists. 

Drew Trautmann came up with five saves in the Tars' semifinal win.  He became only the second keeper to register a clean sheet against the Sailfish in 2017.  Overall, the senior has tallied 26 saves on the season, maintained a .722 save percentage, and held three shutouts. 

Tampa (8-3-3, 6-2-2 SSC): The Spartans and the Lynn Fighting Knights needed penalty kicks to decide their semifinal tilt.  The second-seeded Spartans and No. 21 Lynn played to a 0-0 draw over 110 minutes, but Tampa was victorious 4-2 in penalty kicks. 

Newly minted SSC Offensive Player of the Year Felipe DeSousa leads the Tampa offense.  The senior has found the back of the net eight times and added one assists for a total of 17 points.  DeSousa tallied one goal and one assist against the Tars earlier in the season.  Overall, the Spartans have had 12 players light the scoreboard, six of whom have found the net multiple times.  Lewis Sugden, who earned Second Team All-SSC honors, leads the team with six assists. 

Jake Richards earned Second Team All-SSC honors for his work in net this season.  The Bedworth, England native saw action in 10 games this season, tallying 39 saves in over 900 minutes between the posts, with four shutouts.  

NOTES:

  • The Tars are 17-25-4 all-time against Tampa.
  • The Spartans downed Rollins 2-0 in their previous meeting this season.
  • This marks the second time in three years that Rollins has advanced to the SSC Tournament Final.  Rollins won the 2015 title by defeating Saint Leo 2-0.
  • With Ben Grant in first, and Stefan Avram in fourth, the Tars hold two of the top five point getters in the conference.
  • Tars' head coach Keith Buckley is entering his 27th year at the helm of the Rollins soccer program, and currently sits with a record of 317-152-30, the 14th best record among active Division II head coaches. 

NEXT:
The Tars will wait to learn their NCAA Tournament fate during the Division II Selection Show.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Rollins men's soccer 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.

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