WINTER PARK, Fla. (January 28, 2018) – The Tars' men's tennis team is poised to challenge in the gauntlet of the Sunshine State Conference this season.
Rollins is coming off an 11-12 season that saw them reach the NCAA Tournament for the 52nd time in the team's decorated history. Two seniors are gone through graduation, but the Tars return 10 players, including All-SSC Honorees Sami Kirberg, ranked No. 17 in the South Region for singles, and Cody Gubin. Rollins also welcomes five new faces to the roster, including Guillermo De Nicolas-Ruiz, who is ranked No. 19 in the first National Singles Poll of the year, and his doubles partner Nicolo De Fraia, who team up to create the No. 8 duo in the South region.
The Tars open the year up eight spots in the national rankings from where they ended 2017, jumping from No. 24 to No. 16.
Rollins will open their year on the road. They first visit Division I Stetson on Saturday, February 3, before traveling to Flagler on Wednesday, February 7. Flagler currently sits at No. 11 in the ITA National Rankings.
The Tars will then jump into SSC play with an early test against Lynn. The Fighting Knights sit at No. 6 in country, and boast the region's No. 9 singles player and No. 2 doubles team. Rollins will follow that with a midweek clash with Eckerd, Rollins downed the Tritons by a score of 8-1 in 2017.
Rollins will travel down the street to the USTA National Campus in Orlando for a neutral site match against reigning National Champions, West Florida to close out February. The Argos still hold the No. 1 ranking, and have three players ranked in the Top-50 National Singles Rankings.
The Tars with then return home to face a trio of opponents. Division I Furman visits on Sunday, March 4. The Tars then battle the No. 1 team in the East Region, Concordia (N.Y.) on Tuesday March 6, before hosting Wayne State, a team the Tars defeated 7-2 last year, on March 9.
Rollins will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for their next four matches. The Tars start their run with No. 8 Hawaii Pacific on Sunday, March 11. Hawaii Pacific also boasts three players ranked in the Top-50 National Singles Rankings. The next day the Tars face Midwestern State, who come in at No. 23 in National Rankings. After a day off Rollins faces St. Mary's from Texas, the No. 22 Rattlers are led by the country's No. 25 doubles partnership. The Tars final game on the trip is against Hawaii Hilo, home to the No. 17 player in the country.
The Tars return to SSC play when they get home, hosting Florida Tech on March 20. Rollins ventures outside the conference for the final time for a midweek game against Southeastern Oklahoma on March 22. The Savage Storm sit at No. 24 to enter the 2018 campaign.
Rollins final five games are a grueling trip through the teeth of the SSC. The Tars start by hosting Barry on Friday, March 23. Barry is ranked No. 2 in the nation, and has a lineup featuring the No. 8 player in the country and two doubles teams in the regional rankings. The Tars then close March with a trip to Embry-Riddle. The Eagles sit at No. 10 in the national poll, and have two doubles teams ranked among the nation's best.
The Tars open April by visiting No. 7 Saint Leo on April 4. The Lions narrowly edged the Tars, 5-4, in their 2017 regular season meeting, and downed the Tars in the SSC Tournament Third Place Match 5-1. Rollins hosts Palm Beach Atlantic on April 7, in their last home match of the regular season. The Tars campaign will finish with a visit to Florida Southern on April 10. The Tars defeated the Mocs twice last season, eliminating them the conference tournament.
The Sunshine State Conference Tournament is being held in Boca Raton, Florida and is set for April 19-21. The winner of the SSC receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
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