BR-1 Rollins heads into the season as the top dog in Division II and are expected to win it all in 2015 according to the BennettRank preseason rankings. The Tars closed out their 2014 campaign ranked No. 2 by the NSCAA National Poll after posting a 20-3 overall record, falling to Grand Valley State in the National Championship 3-0.
The squad put up impressive numbers last season, finishing the year second in the country in total assists (70), assists per game (3.02) and points per game (9.04); third in goals scored (69), total points (208) and scoring offense. Rollins was also one of six teams in all of D-II to win at least 20 games during the season.
With under a month left until the start of their 2015 campaign, Rollins has a number of questions to answer.
Who’s up front?
Mora Johnson, Brenna McKee and Paxton Sickler were the dominating factors on the front line last season, combining for 43 goals and 39 assists. Johnson (15 goals, 11 assists) and Sickler (14 goals, 14 assists) return to the pitch for their junior campaigns. McKee is going to be missed, but junior Emma Bloom to step up. She had 7 goals and 6 assists on 66 shots with 26 on goal as a sophomore.
Can the defense continue its dominance?
With Mary Spring returning in the net the defense looks good. Last year the starting ‘keeper logged 2,043 minutes between the posts and made 81 saves, for an .835 save percentage. She ranked second in the SSC in goals against average (0.70), first in shutouts (9) and fourth in saves. This is a player with mounds of experience. With Spring directing the back end of the field, it’s safe to say that Rollins is in good hands.
Is coach Schuck’s work paying off?
The work of a college coach is not limited to the playing field during the regular season. It’s behind the scenes in the offseason where a coach really earns their paycheck and head coach Alicia Schuck has done an outstanding job. The first year that a coach takes over, they are left with many players that were recruited by their predecessor. Entering her fifth season at the helm, Schuck has a roster full of women that she recruited and formed into the players they are today. Fresh off winning a NSCAA Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year award, Schuck enters the 2015 season with her sights set on the National Title.
Who is coming on board?
Schuck picked up a wide array of talent during the offseason, signing six new players to the Tars’ roster. Included in her net is Kiera McMeekan (D), Shalisa Crowell (M), Kathryn O’Brien (F), Rachel Easterling (M/D), Megan Welliver (F) and Carly Stevens (GK). If you’re not counting, that’s one defenseman, a midfielder, two forwards, a hybrid midfielder/defenseman and a goalie. By the way, there are only four seniors on the roster, so this team is built for the present and for the future.