Paxton Sickler's goal propels the Tars into the third round of the NCAA Championships, defeating the Spartans 3-2.
(Photo by Jim Hogue) No. 15 Rollins fought back from a pair of one-goal deficits in Sunday afternoon’s NCAA Regional Second Round match, forcing overtime with third-seeded Tampa. It was in the second overtime period that a Paxton Sickler goal propelled the Tars into the Third Round of the NCAA Championships, defeating the Spartans, 3-2.
Rollins will now advance to the Third Round for the third time in program history, hosted next weekend, Nov. 21-24, by the highest remaining seed in the Southeast Region. The win also avenges losses the previous two seasons to UT, both coming in the second round of the NCAA Championships, that ended Rollins’ seasons.
Including Sickler, three freshman accounted for Rollins’ offense in the win on Sunday; Mackenzie Miller scoring her fourth of the year and Samantha Collin adding her first as a Tar.
Chelsea Martin and Emily Jones each scored for Tampa; it was Martin’s sixth and Jones’ fourth.
Rollins outshot the Spartans by a wide margin, 26-11, including 7-2 in the overtime periods.
Mary Spring earned the win in goal, collecting two saves in over 106 minutes to improve to 16-3. Alyson Gregorowicz suffered the loss, also playing the entirety of the game, recording eight saves.
After a scoreless first 40 minutes of play, Tampa got on the board first when Martin cleaned up the rebound from her own shot, putting the Spartans up 1-0.
The lead was short lived, however, as Miller headed home a corner by Kelsey Boone just over a minute later, tying the score at 1-1. The assist was Boone’s second of the year.
The game would head into halftime still tied and remain that way until less than 10 minutes left to play. It was then that Jones got lost in a crowd in front of the Rollins goal and was able to poke the ball past Spring, giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead with 8:40 left in regulation.
The Tars picked up the offensive intensity and finally broke through with just 40 seconds left when Collin collected a loose ball in the box and slid it past Gregorowicz to tie it at 2-2 and extend the game to overtime.
Both teams were held scoreless through the first 10 minute overtime period and much into the second before Sickler ripped a shot from outside the top left corner of the box and into the back of the net for the game winner. It was the second game winner in the last week for the freshman, as she scored in overtime of the SSC Tournament Championship last Sunday.
Rollins will now play South Region top-seeded West Florida on Friday, Nov. 22 in the South Region final. Stay tuned to RollinsSports.com for more information on the Tars’ road to a National Championship.