2016-17 Top Moments No. 3: Men's soccer seniors secure program's first HCAC Tournament title, NCAA Tournament appearance

Rafael Di Maio kicking a soccer ball



HANOVER, Ind. – Opening up the final three in our Top Moments countdown from the 2016-17 athletic year is the Hanover men’s soccer team, as they won their first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship with a pair of one-goal road victories.

The 2016-17 athletic campaign was one to remember for the Hanover College Athletic Department, so over the next few weeks we will recall some of the top moments from the year that was. This week we announce the third and fourth best moments.

Men’s soccer had a record breaking 2016 campaign that saw the squad set a new program record for wins in a single season, as they finished 16-5-0 overall. After dropping its opening match of the season to nationally ranked DePauw, Hanover won 10 of its next 11 games, while also finishing HCAC regular season play 7-2, to earn the conference tournament’s No. 3 seed.

The Panthers headed to Transylvania for the HCAC Semifinal round, where the team suffered a 1-0 defeat during the regular season. Again, HC fell behind by a goal, but this time a score from senior Walker Goodbub (Prospect, Ky.) off a cross from classmate Matthew Hand (Auckland, New Zealand) tied the contest at 1-all in the 86th minute.

Neither side was able to find the back of the net over the final three-plus minutes of regulation or the first 10-minute overtime session, forcing a second extra period. Just over two minutes into the second overtime, the Blue and Red were awarded a penalty kick. Senior Matthew Eldridge (Louisville, Ky.) proceeded to line up for the free kick and his shot found the bottom left corner of the goal to send the Panthers the conference championship.

For the second straight year, Hanover met Rose-Hulman in the HCAC Tournament Finals, this time looking to avenge a penalty kick loss in the 2015 final. The senior class for HC, once again, guided the team to victory, as Enrico Franchini (Sao Paulo, Brazil) drilled a first half penalty shot for the match’s only goal in the 37th minute.

Senior Rafael Di Maio (Sao Paulo, Brazil) made five saves in the championship match, including a penalty kick save right before the intermission. Di Maio was named HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player for his performance in the two thrilling matches.

The Panthers’ record-breaking season unfortunately ended in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 setback to nationally ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Hanover has won double-digit games in each of the past two seasons and three times in the last four years.

Next week we will reveal the top two moments in our countdown, beginning with No. 2 on Monday, July 17.

No. 10: Men’s Cross Country wins first team invitational since 1998

No. 9: Football’s late rally against Defiance

No. 8: Women’s Golf wins fourth straight HCAC Championship

No. 7: Softball’s Griffin tosses no-hitter against Johnson & Wales

No. 6: Volleyball’s 15-match winning streak helps secure second straight HCAC title

No. 5: Fogus nets game-winner to secure women’s lacrosse’s first ORLC Tournament spot

No. 4: Trio of one-goal victories highlights women’s soccer’s postseason run

Contact: Tyler Jester


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