February 11, 2010

Rollins Men's Lacrosse 2010 Season Preview

from press releases

WINTER PARK, Fla. - Third Time's the Charm:  The saying "third time's the charm" holds a belief that the third time something is attempted, it will be more likely to succeed than the previous first two attempts; a good luck charm in the eyes of many. There couldn't be a better motto for the 2010 Rollins men's lacrosse team.  Hindered by injuries that cut down on depth for the first two seasons of the program, the Tars look forward to some major changes in their third campaign, and hit the turf on Saturday with high hopes.

Head Coach Andrew Baxter leads the charge yet again, and is confident the team will find plenty of success in the upcoming months. 

"I think we're going to have a huge improvement from last year," says Baxter.  "We're finally at a point in the program that we're not teaching everybody something new.  We have plenty of talent with lots of returning experience, and have only had to teach a handful of newcomers the Rollins system."

With less time spent on fundamental game play, and ample practice time leading up to the season opener, Coach Baxter is confident as the team heads into regular season action on Saturday.  "Having a large group of reliable returners has given us the luxury of excelling greatly in these last few weeks of preseason," Baxter adds. 

The Tars' first two seasons saw plenty of ups and downs as the team faced an abundance of adversity in 2008, and continued with a very young, inexperienced squad in 2009.  Despite the growth they made in the first two years, Rollins found themselves struggling to survive as injuries plagued the team, and depth became an issue towards the conclusion of each spring. 

However, with solid recruiting classes, and an experienced, veteran squad back on the field, Baxter is confident that the team will come out strong and finish even stronger in their 2010 campaign.

"We have lots of talent, and despite a smaller roster than last year, we still have more depth than the previous two seasons," added Baxter. "Everyone can contribute positive things this season."

The Rollins community can expect big things out of goalie Zach Cole once again.  Entering into his junior year with the Tars, Cole has been steadfast between the pipes from day one.  The Rumford, R.I., native has racked-up 391 saves and a save percentage of .551 in his career. Starting every game in program history, Cole will be expected to help lead the defense and have another solid season.

Helping Cole in the defensive end will be returning long pole Jorge Colon and newcomer Nick Scannapieco.  The duo has a great combination of brute strength, control, stick skills, and defensive power that will be key to the Tars' success.  Defensive middies Andrew Vossler and Andrew Cohen will be looked to for their agility, speed, and stick work to help cause turnovers and move the ball down field quickly.

Offensive midfielders Chuck Magid and newcomer Eric Schmit will share the faceoff role, as well as help with transitions and attacking unit. Matthew Lunnen will join Magid and Schmit, and will be a key component to the attacking midfield unit.  Lunnen's amazing game sense, athleticism, and agility proved to be a big asset in 2009, and coaches expect big things out of him in his sophomore season.

Another sophomore returner who will be expected to take on more responsibility is attackman Charlie Cook.  The Hamden, Conn., native will be expected to take on more responsibility in the box, and will be expected to be a dangerous combination when combined with 2008 returner Charlie Shelly.

Newcomer Justin Wright will also be expected to have a big season on attack.  Wright has adjusted quickly to the Rollins system, and with his quick feet, agile dodging, and smart game play, the attacking unit will find success in finishing plays where they lacked the previous two

The hard work the players have already put in throughout the off season and into the spring has left little doubt that the Tars are ready to get out on the game field.  "We've had a long preseason," Baxter added. "It will be nice to apply what we've been working on in practice, and our schedule is very favorable.  We're looking forward to some very exciting contests, and have a lot of home games. We have some very tough match-ups, and it will be challenging, but having eight home games is very significant to our hopeful success."

Rollins opens their season and jumps right into Deep South Conference action as they take on Florida Southern at the third annual Faceoff For A Cause to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project on Saturday, February 13. After dropping their first matchup to the Moccasins last season on the
road, the Tars are looking to open on a high note with a victory over FSC, and a first Deep South Conference win in program history.

The Tars then look to take on preseason No. 9 Saint Leo in non-conference play on February 20, before jumping right back into DSC action with a home contest against Wingate to kick-off the month of March.

Pfeiffer and St. Andrews Presbyterian College immediately follow, allowing Rollins to prepare for a tough matchup against 2009 Final Four, and preseason No. 4 Merrimack on March 10.

Rollins takes on Pace University for the first time in program history on March 13, and then host their final home contest of the season when they take on preseason No. 8 Mars Hill on March 17.  After that, it's just three quick contests on the road, with a long trip up to North Carolina to take on Catawba and Belmont Abbey before returning home to the Sunshine State for a showdown with Saint Leo in DSC play.

With a schedule that offers a wide range of competition and opportunities for growth, Baxter is certain that the Tars will see plenty of action this season to give them the challenges they are looking for. 

The Tars have truly set the tone for success leading up to this point as their long hours and dedication have set the scene for an exciting and highly anticipated third year.  With the perfect combination of returning veterans and an assortment of fresh talent from great programs and backgrounds will explode onto the field Saturday afternoon in what the 2010 Rollins men's lacrosse team expects to be an optimistically triumphant season with plenty of program firsts.

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