Soccer picked to lead HCAC title chase

HCAC Soccer Poll

Hanover, 96 (6)

Transylvania, 92 (4)

Earlham, 78

Bluffton, 63

Manchester, 60

Mount St. Joseph, 48

Franklin, 43

Rose-Hulman, 32

Defiance, 27

Anderson, 11

Hanover College women’s soccer squad has been selected to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's 2012 championship.

Hanover earned 96 points in a preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. The Panthers received first-place votes on six of the 10 coaches' ballots.

Transylvania University (Ky.) was second in the poll with 92 points, including four first-place votes. Earlham College was third with 78 points and Bluffton University (Ohio) landed in the fourth slot with 63.

Last season, Hanover posted a school-record 15 wins (15-3), earned the program's first berth in the NCAA III tournament, won the HCAC’s post-season tournament title and also shared the league’s regular-season championship.

The Panthers will start the 2012 campaign with three straight matches on the road, including the opener Saturday, Sept. 1, against Kenyon College (Ohio) in Gambier, Ohio.

The squad's first home tilt of the season will be Saturday, Sept. 8, against Heidelberg University (Ohio).

Hanover’s Heartland Conference lid-lifter will be Saturday, Sept. 29, at home against Manchester College.