Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/12/10
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 College (Winter Park, Fla.) men’s lacrosse team. Hindered by injuries that cut down on depth for the first two seasons of the program, the Division II Tars look forward to some major changes in their third campaign, and hit the turf with high hopes as they gear for the season opener Saturday against Florida Southern in Orlando (2 p.m.). The game is part of the third annual Faceoff For A Cause to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
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.”
Rollins features three Philly grads on its roster: sophomore defender Andrew Hanna (St. Joseph’s Prep), freshman midfielder Scott Budriss (Holy Ghost Prep) and freshman defenseman Nick Scannapieco (Wissahickon), who is expected to make an immediate impact. Hanna, also expected to challenge for a regular spot this year, played in eight of 10 games as a freshman, causing six turnovers.
With less time spent on fundamental game play, and ample practice time leading, Baxter is confident as the team heads into regular season action.
“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.
Helping Cole in the defensive end will be returning long pole Jorge Colon and newcomer Scannapieco, a First Team All-Suburban One American Conference pick in 2009. 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.
The hard work the players have already put in throughout the offseason 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.”