Thursday, August 30 vs. No. 18 Wingate | 7:00 p.m. | Barker Family Stadium – Winter Park, Fla.
Saturday, September 1 vs. Regis | 7:00 p.m. | Barker Family Stadium – Winter Park, Fla.
The Tars kick off the 2018 campaign by hosting a pair of challenging opponents. The Wingate Bulldogs make the trip south, two years removed from a National Championship, and ranked No. 18 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll. Regis, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, are trying to return to the postseason following an 8-9 campaign last year. The Tars will look to a large senior class as they try to capitalize on their home field advantage. Head coach Keith Buckley begins his 28th season in charge of the Rollins program with eleven senior leaders. Saint Leo will also be joining the Tars, Bulldogs, and Rangers at the invitational.
WHO TO WATCH:
Among the Tars senior class is a pair of 2017 All-Sunshine State Conference selections. Ben Grant captained the 2017 side, and the Tars will again look to his leadership in 2018, while Stefan Avram caught fire down the stretch last year, finishing second in the SSC in goals and game winning goals. Andre Nansen has been a consistent starter for the Tars since stepping on campus in 2015. Now a senior, the Kolsas, Norway native will be counted on to be a factor on both sides of the ball. Johnny Nartowicz, also a senior, is a key to the Tars' success, playing out of the midfield; the captain tallied three goals in 2017, while also dishing out three assists.
The 2016 National Champions, and four time defending South Atlantic Conference Champions, have been tabbed as the favorites once again. The Bulldogs picked up nine of the possible 10 first place votes. Wingate returns a multitude of key talent, including three members of the SAC Preseason All-Conference First Team. Pablo Jara is possibly the most decorated goal keeper in the country, entering his senior year, the Brazil native has been named All-SAC, All-Region, SAC Freshman of the Year, SAC Tournament MVP, and is a three-time All-American. Elliot Cutts paced the Bulldogs in points last season, scoring 12 goals, and setting up three more. Mattia Ditommaso's four goals and three assists earned him the 2017 SAC Freshman of the Year Award.
The Rangers have been selected fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason poll. Regis saw their 2017 end in the first round of the conference tournament. A pair of Rangers picked up preseason honors, as Luca Kother and Porter Milner were selected Preseason All-RMAC. Krother was a Second Team All-Conference selection as a sophomore, netting two goals; the German will look to improve on those numbers, entering his junior campaign. Milner, who will also be playing in his third season with the Rangers, will look to regain his freshman form, which saw him earn Second Team All-RMAC honors. The midfielder tallied nine assists in 2016's playoff run, but was held to one goal and one assist in 2017.
- Last season the Tars faced off against then No. 1 Wingate in their second game of the season. Rollins got two goals from Damian Clarke, including one in the 88th minute, to pull off the 2-1 upset. Clarke and goal keeper Drew Trautmann each earned SSC Player of the Week honors for their efforts.
- Rollins is 3-1 all-time against the Wingate Bulldogs.
- The Tars fell in their only previous meeting with Regis. The Rangers downed Rollins, 2-1, on September 3, 2015, in Denver, Colorado.
The Tars will take to the road for the first time in 2018. Rollins will head to West Florida for a September 7 date with the Argonauts. The Tars will continue the road trip on September 9 with a match up against Spring Hill.
Fans can follow Tars soccer all season 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 teams 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.