WINTER PARK, Fla. (Aug. 23, 2007) – The Florida Tech Panthers entered the match against Rollins short of full strength. With several
players waiting for clearance due to injury, four freshmen got the starting nod in the 3-0 loss to the Rollins Tars. “It’s always good to take
positives from a situation like this,” head coach Robin Chan said.
“We had a few guys who had a good account for themselves, and they showed they can play at this level.” There were some positives to take from the
game, as the Panthers kept the ball in Rollins’ side of the field for a good part of the half. The play of junior midfielder Ryan Hagerty and freshman defender
Caleib Lynch helped keep
the Panthers’ chances alive. Both registered shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Cory Collins continued his great play
from last season, and the Florida Tech defense held off the Tars for most of the first half until allowing a goal in the final two minutes before the
break. Coming out of the half, Rollins was on the attack after gaining confidence from the first goal. The Tars scored a minute and 40 seconds
into the second period to gain the 2-0 edge. “The second goal really took the wind out of us,” Chan said. “It’s at that point when you see the
inexperience come into play.” While there were flashes of talent and potential, the inexperience Florida Tech fielded affected the team’s
performance. “It’s a lot different coming straight from high school to college,” Lynch said. While most college freshmen are still arranging
their dorm rooms, Lynch and other freshmen soccer players are adjusting to a faster-paced, more physical style of play. Chan expects his team to adjust and
learn. “It’s a learning situation for the guys that played,” Chan said. “As long as we’re moving forward, progressing and learning as we go, we’ll
be in good shape.” The players are already concentrating on moving forward after this loss. “We just have to learn from our mistakes, fix
them, move on and keep our heads up,” Lynch said. “The game that counts is later in the season, and we’re going to win.” Hagerty, who had a
beautiful strike on the ball but just missed off the crossbar, plans to remember this game in the conference rematch on September 29 in Melbourne, Fla.
“Next time we’re going to think about this game so we can bring everything we have to the table to beat them in the conference,” Hagerty said.
Next time the team should be closer to full strength. As the talent level increased for the Panthers this season, so has the competition in
practice. With better competition among players for minutes on the field, the intensity of practice goes up too. Chan looks to have his full arsenal of
players back soon.
“We do have some talented guys, and once we’re at full strength I think we’ll be pretty formidable,” Chan said. “This preseason has been very unifying and
I think that’s something you will see when we get everybody healthy and ready to go.”