Panthers secure HCAC crown with shutout

Hanover College’s women’s soccer team wrapped up the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s regular-season championship with a 6-0 victory against Defiance College (Ohio).

Hanover, which tied a school record with its 15th win of the season, raised its mark to 15-1-2 overall. The Panthers finished on top of the HCAC standings with an 8-0-1 mark.

Freshman forward Elaine Simpson (Lexington, Ky.) scored a pair of goals, while junior midfielder Erin Hancock (Amelia, Ohio) and freshman forward Anna Cornacchione (Cincinnati, Ohio) each tallied a goal and an assist to fuel the triumph.

Seniors Paige Byers (Noblesville, Ind.) and Loran Wilson (Danville, Ky.) each netted goals for the Panthers, which will be the No. 1 seed in the Heartland Conference’s post-season tournament and host the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Wednesday, Nov. 6, in one semi-final battle.

Hanover outshot Defiance by a 31-5 margin, including a 18-2 differential in the opening period.

Simpson put the Panthers on the scoreboard in the fifth minute with a goal off a pass from Cornacchione.

Just five minutes later, Hancock hit the back of the net to drive the lead to 2-0. Sophomore forward Rachel Alvis (Amelia, Ohio) set up the goal with a blast off the Yellow Jackets’ goalie, which Hancock converted for her second goal of the season.

Byers scored her first goal of the season, rocketing a free kick into the net from 30 yards out in the 24th minute.

Hanover stretched the cushion to 4-0 in the 52nd minute. Simpson scored off an assist from senior back Chloe Hutchinson (Louisville, Ky.) for her seventh goal of the season.

Cornacchione tallied her team-leading 11th goal when she glanced a blow off the left post into the net. Hancock picked up her third assist of the season on the play.

Wilson capped the Panthers’ scoring with a goal in the closing minute. Freshman forward Chandler Turner (Indianapolis, Ind.) pushed the ball past a sprawling keeper and Wilson redirected the ball into the net for the final margin.

Hanover vs. Defiance (Ohio) statistics