One for the Ages
The Rollins men’s soccer team experienced a record-breaking year—and heartbreaking finish—in 2010, finishing runner-up in their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship. Playing in blizzard conditions in Louisville in December, the Tars lost by just one goal, which was scored late in the game by opponent Northern Kentucky University (NKU).
The Tars consistently ranked in the top 25 in the nation throughout the 2010 season, and although the championship trophy eluded them in the end, few could be disappointed by the team’s historic performance. “I could not be more proud of this team,” said Head Coach Keith Buckley ’88 ’95MBA. “Time and time again this season they were down, but never out. Without question, they represented themselves, the program, and Rollins College with extreme class and earned a lot of respect. We didn’t come out on top, but we enjoyed the ride and we proudly brought the runner-up trophy back to Winter Park.”
While 2010 marked the second year in a row the Tars won the Sunshine State Conference title, advancing to the final four was a historic first. On November 20, Rollins hosted the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament, beating out Clayton State 3-2 in an exciting double-overtime match that advanced the team into the semi-finals in Louisville.
The fifth-ranked Tars met second-ranked Midwestern State on December 2 in the first semi-final game. A 2-1 victory pushed Rollins into the finals against NKU.
Nearly 200 Rollins fans, including students, parents, and alumni, braved the chilly weather in Louisville to cheer on their team. Flurries turned into an all-out winter storm by kickoff and conditions deteriorated throughout the game. Despite clearing the pitch at the half, the artificial turf at Louisville’s Frazier Stadium was covered in two inches of snow by game’s end. “We did the best we possibly could in difficult conditions,” Buckley said. “The problem is we don’t have much snow in Florida! We just didn’t know how to play in it—we tried to play our normal way and it wasn’t working.”
Down 2-0 in the first half, the Tars evened the score early in the second half, but a late goal by Northern Kentucky proved to the be game clincher as Rollins fell 3-2 to NKU in the NCAA Division II National Championship game.
Despite the agony of the final defeat, the men’s team ended the most successful season in the 54-year history of Rollins soccer with a stellar record of 15-4-3.
Men’s Basketball: Back-to-Back SSC Tournament Champs
Tournament Most Outstanding Player Nick Wolf ’10 ’12MBA had a career day and led Rollins past Eckerd College 75-69 in the BlueCross BlueShield of Florida Sunshine State Conference Tournament championship game in March. The title was the second straight for the Tars, who went 25-6 this season, and fourth in program history. Wolf, who racked up 26 points and 10 rebounds in his MVP performance, became just the third Rollins player to surpass 2,000 career points and is the only Tar with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Following the win, the Tars climbed to No. 16 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Coaches Poll and went on to earn the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. They lost a heartbreaker to Florida Southern (76-74) in the final seconds of the first round of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. Capping off one of the best careers in Rollins basketball history, Wolf was named First Team All-American by Division II Bulletin and Second Team by Basketball Times, and he was selected to play in the 2011 Reese’s® Division II College All-Star Game. The Cincinnati native is the Tars’ only two-time Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year and three-time First Team All-SSC selection.
Tars Skiers Finish Fifth at NCWSA National Championships
Led by a dominating performance in women’s slalom, the Rollins water ski team finished fifth in the top division at the National Collegiate Water Ski National Championships, bettering last year’s finish by four spots. Rollins’ men’s and women’s teams combined to score 8715 points, 750 ahead of rival Florida Southern and just 110 points behind fourth-place Arizona State. Rollins’ women finished third in their division with 5760 points, taking first in slalom, third in tricks, and fourth in jumping. The team earned its spot at the nationals after finishing third at the National Collegiate Water Ski Association Eastern Regional Championships. See feature on the history of Rollins’ water ski program.
Other Sports Results
Softball: Rollins’ softball team finished the regular season with the best record in the nation and won its unprecedented third straight Sunshine State Conference Championship. They are ranked fourth in Division II—the team’s highest ranking in program history.
Women’s Basketball: Posted a record of 21-8 and was ranked as high as 14th in the nation during the season; Amber Heistan ’13 named second team All-SSC and Sarah Blackburn ’14 named to SSC All-Freshman team.
Swimming: Both teams earned College Swimming Coaches of America Association's Scholar All American status; men’s team finished fifth at first SSC Championships, broke two school records, and had second-best GPA in Division II; women’s team finished third at first SSC Championships and broke eight school records; Michael Weinstein ’13 named SSC Swimmer of the Week and second team All-SSC; Jenny Nilson ’13 named first team All-SSC and became Tars’ first conference champion.
Sailing: Finished fifth at South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Fall Championships and won South Points No. 5 on Lake Virginia.
Tennis: Both teams finished regular season ranked 9th in nation, finished third at SSC Championships, and advanced to NCAA tournament; Jeff Morris ’12 named First Team Singles and ranked 12th singles player in nation; six men and three women players named to All-SSC teams.
Go to rollinssports.com for all 2010-11 sports results.
First Grads: The four-year-old Rollins lacrosse program celebrated its first class of graduating players this spring. Pictured (l-r) are: Women’s Head Coach Dennis Short, Mens’ Head Coach RJ Rossi, Peter Harvey, Spencer Mills, David Meyers, Eric Schmit, Jorge Colon, Doug O’Brien, Charlie Shelly, Katy Tyszko, Lacy Goodwyn..