The Hanover College men’s soccer squad set school single-season records for overall and conference wins with a 3-2 home victory against Franklin College.
Freshman forward Austin Bush (Washington, Ind.) tallied a goal and an assist to spark Hanover, now 10-6-2 this season. The Panthers also notched a school-best sixth league win, improving to 6-1-1 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Hanover built a 3-0 lead in the first half, but had to hold off a late rally by the Grizzlies.
The Panthers scratched the scoreboard early in the 12th minute when freshman forward Austin Bush (Washington, Ind.) redirected a deflected shot by freshman forward Matthew Eldridge (Louisville, Ky.) for his fourth goal of the season.
Hanover’s lead climbed to 2-0 late in the 21st meeting. Senior forward John Wittich (West Chester, Ohio) headed a cross from Austin just over the reach of the Grizzlies’ goaltender.
Junior defender Drew Servais (Carmel, Ind.) lofted a ball from outside the 18-yard box, which sophomore midfielder Alex Hanke (Evansville, Ind.) nudged inside the far post from point-blank range to lift the Panthers’ lead to 3-0 midway through the 27th minute.
Franklin (4-10-2; 2-6 HCAC) countered in the final 20 minutes.
The Grizzlies cut into the deficit early in the 70th minute when Zachery Shoufler aired a ball from 25 yards out. Though curling to the left, the ball was deflected into the net by a Hanover defender.
Shoufler struck again in the 87th minute, lofting a shot over the hands of junior goalie Trevor Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio) from beyond the 18-yard box.
Hanover had 24 shots, while Franklin fired seven. The Panthers earned a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
The squads combined for 33 fouls, including five yellow cards.
Hanover had previously posted nine wins in a season two times. The Panthers finished 9-7-1 overall in 2001 and were 9-9-1 in 2002.
The program notched five league wins in 2006 (5-2-1), 2008 (5-3) and 2009 (5-3).
Hanover can lock up its first Heartland Conference regular-season title with a victory in the season-finale against Defiance College (Ohio). The home match is slated for Saturday, Nov. 2.
Published Wednesday, October 30, 2013