Nov. 14, 2010

Courtesy of Rollins Athletics

WINTER PARK, Fla. - The fifth-ranked Rollins College men's soccer team used a balance attack to defeat No.20 Barry 3-1 Sunday and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Championship. The victory advances the Tars into the round of Elite Eight and marks the first time they have won two consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament.

Rollins took control of the game from the opening kick, pressuring Barry with their speed on the wings and smart play from the backline. The Tars struck first on the scoreboard in the fourth minute with a beautifully struck ball from Stephen Wright. Senior Adam New played a ball through the midfield of the Buccaneers on a counter-attack and led Wright into the box with a clear shot on frame. The skilled Wright finished it off with a hard strike past Barry keeper Johnny Rodrigues.

With the first tally on the board the Tars turned up the pressure even more against the Bucs. The Tars are very familiar with the potent duo of Sascha Koetttig and Mark Anderson, both are very capable of scoring goals in a hurry.

After a Buccaneer foul in the 29th minute, Kevin Boone lined up for a free kick five yards from the midfield stripe and sent a perfect ball to the far post. The captain, Thomas Biddinger was in excellant position and delivered a picture perfect header past a diving Rodrigues to give the Tars a two score advantage.

Having full control of the momentum the Tars kept the assault on, but could not tally another goal before the half.

The opening 10 minute of the second half saw Barry seize control and put pressure on the backline and Keneil Baker. The persistence would pay off in the 56th minute, with Koettig gathering a loose ball at the top of the box to slot a ball past Baker, making the score 2-1.

Baker collected his ninth victory of the season and tallied three saves to thwart the Barry attack. The freshman has come up big in clutch situations all season.

As the game started to wind down the physical play and emotion started to come into play for both teams. The last 20 minutes saw the Bucs control the play and it looked like Barry might tie it up before regulation.

The Tars are no stranger to late game scoring and received another clutch goal from Biddinger in the 79th minute to ice it. Again it was the backline providing the offense with Boone delivering a perfect ball into the box off the corner kick and finding the foot of the captain.

The last 10 minutes of the game saw the Bucs push forward with everyone, including the keeper Rodrigues to find a way for another goal. With the experienced back line and midfield, along with help from the forwards, Rollins held strong and nearly came away with a few chances at an empty net, but the Bucs were able to scurry back.

Rollins will meet Clayton St. in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on either Nov. 20th or 21st. Official dates, times and sites will be announced on NCAA.com, Monday evening.