Nov. 20, 2010

Courtesy of Rollins Athletics

The fifth-ranked Rollins Tars tallied another monumental win towards a chance at a National Championship, defeating Clayton St. 3-2 in double-overtime, Saturday. With the victory, Rollins earns the chance to notch another piece of history as they are one win away from playing for a national championship.

The Tars used their potent offense to tally the game's first goal in the 14th minute via a nifty place from Chase Neinken. After the Tars received a free-kick just over the midfield stripe, Kevin Boone sent in a perfect service into the box and Neinken re-directed over Clayton St. keeper Brian Garcia to put the Tars up 1-0.

The Tars and Lakers battled through the remaining 31 minutes with neither team putting a tally on the board. Each team continued to attack, but Keneil Baker and Garcia were up to the task to keep the offenses at bay.

Clayton St. came out of the break energized, cracking off four shots to start the period. The Lakers tallied their first goal in the 57th minute as Lulic Deni gathered a loose ball in the box and sent it past the reach of Baker, tying the score at one apiece.

The Tars battled back and mounted a few attacks of their own, but were turned away by Garcia. Rollins cranked up the pressure even more on the back line of the Lakers and broke through in the 62nd minute with a header from Neinken. Nick Sowers laced a cross into the box and over the outstretched reach of Garcia and onto the head of Neinken.

The Tars were 18 minutes away from claiming the victory, but the Lakers had other plans. With time winding down, the Lakers applied pressure on Baker and the backline. The leading scorer for the Lakers, Ryan Pugh, sent a header to the back of the net off a feed from Matty Phillips to draw Clayton St. even with 12 minutes to play.

The last 10 minutes saw each team make a final push for the deciding tally, but the defense was up to the challenge on both sides. Neither team tallied the deciding goal in regulation, which meant a golden goal overtime would be played.

Rollins controlled the first overtime period, notching four shots and almost putting home the game-winner, but were denied by Garcia on a few spectacular saves. Clayton St. could not respond with any shots against the stout backline of Thomas Biddinger, Matt Bauchle, Jack Clifford and Boone.

With the team tied after 100 minutes of play, they would head to another overtime session. Once again, the Tars controlled the period with two shots on frame. Clayton St. could only manage one against Baker.

Rollins drew a golden opportunity, collecting a free kick just outside the box after Neinken was hauled down on his way to the goal. Boone stood over the kick and found an opening through the wall, which saw Neinken in perfect position to send the ball to the back of the net. The senior made good on the chance and sent the strike past Garcia in the 106th minute.

Rollins will now travel to Louisville, KY. to face Midwestern St. in the national semi-finals. The Tars have won three consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament, a feat no Rollins soccer team has ever accomplished.