After trailing 3-7 at the half, the Rollins men’s lacrosse team rallied to score 12 goals and give the Queens University of Charlotte Royals a run for their money in the final two periods. Despite the second half outburst, the Tars fell to the Royals 16-15 in regulation.
Rollins (1-1) was led by sophomore transfer BJ Neller with four goals and one assist, while Queens (2-2) was headed-up by Stephan LeBlanc with four goals and two assists on the afternoon.
The Tars saw scoring action from eight different players as Neller was joined by freshman attacker Cooper Gilman who tallied three goals and two assists to match Neller in overall points. Fellow freshman Austin Ricci ripped the ball between the pipes three times as well, while Jay McDermott, Clay Palmer, Matthew Lunnen, Alex Patch, and Dan Huettenmoser found the back of the net once.
Zach Cole remained steadfast as always between the pipes as he collected 16 saves on the afternoon after seeing a total of 41 shots. Defensively, the Tars were led once again by freshman long pole Andrew Vossler who led the team with four ground balls.
A solid defensive unit helped hold the Royals to just 50 percent in extra-man situations, while the Tars found success on 66 percent of their power play opportunities, which helped spark their 12-goal scoring spree in the final 30 minutes of action as they were 2-for-2 and 2-for-3 in extra man opportunities.
The game started out with plenty of back and forth action as the Royals jumped on the board first with a LeBlanc goal just 36 seconds into the contest. Huettenmoser retaliated with a goal of his own to put the Tars up alongside Queens, and with 10:41 remaining in the second quarter an unassisted goal from Neller helped equalize the score at 3-3. But, the Royals jumped on the Tars as they sat back on their heels for the final ten minutes of second quarter play, leaving the Tars in a four point deficit entering into the half.
Rollins came out of the break with a different mind set as a quick connection from Gilman to Neller closed the gap to 7-4. LeBlanc rallied a goal of his own to pull the lead to four once again, but McDermott pulled the Tars closer as his unassisted goal just 23 seconds later ignited the team.
33 seconds after McDermott’s goal, Gilman held onto a pass from Lunnen to pull Rollins to within two. 37 seconds afterward, Andrew Cohen fed Neller a smooth pass on a fast break to bring the score to 8-7. Neller evened up the tally at eight with his fourth goal of the afternoon, but Queens closed out the third period with two quick goals to enter into the final quarter leading 10-8.
Rollins was not about to back down despite the Royals opening up the final period by jumping out to a six point lead with a score of 15-9 and 9:29 remaining.
Ricci opened up a scoring stretch for Rollins as his first goal with 8:44 turned up the heat. Two minutes later Neller found Palmer to bring the tally to 15-11, and with Gilman’s second goal of the day registering with 5:12 to go, the Tars found themselves steadily closing in on Queens. Ricci helped quickly bring Rollins to within one goal as Ian Tarrant and Gilman helped him fire off two goals in just 14 seconds to close the gap to 15-14.
Despite a tough Rollins defense, the Royals were able to secure their final goal of the game with an unassisted tally from Andrew Capallo as the clock counted down. Lunnen found Gilman with just 1:26 left in fourth-quarter action to put the score at 16-15, but the Tars were unable to pull out an equalizer in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.
The Tars will be back in action on Tuesday, March 10 when they open up their Deep South Conference line up against Catawba College in a 2:00 p.m. home match in Winter Park. Fans can stay up to date on all of the latest Rollins men’s lacrosse action at the Tars home on the web at www.RollinsSports.com.