Men's soccer tabbed third in HCAC Preseason Poll
GREENWOOD, Ind. – Coming off its second consecutive season with a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship, the Hanover men’s soccer team has been picked by the league’s head coaches to finish third this fall.
This marks the third time in the past four seasons that the Panthers have been projected to finish in the top three of the HCAC. Hanover totaled 75 points in the 2017 preseason poll.
The Panthers have captured hardware from the HCAC in each of the past two seasons, earning their first conference regular season championship in 2015 and the program’s first HCAC Tournament championship in 2016. Last fall also marked the first time the men’s soccer program qualified for the NCAA National Tournament.
Transylvania was the coaches’ pick to win the HCAC this season, recording 88 points and six first place votes. Rose-Hulman, 2016 HCAC regular season champion, was a tight second with 85 points and four first place votes.
Mount St. Joseph’s 59 points were good enough for fourth, whille Manchester tallied 53 points for the fifth spot in the poll. Rounding out the rest of the preseason rankings were Earlham (47), Anderson (46), Franklin (42), Defiance (31) and Bluffton (24).
Hanover won a program-best 16 contests in 2016, while dropping just five matches, which is the fewest for a single season in the program’s 26-year history. The Blue and Red have also won at least 10 matches in three of the past four seasons.
The Panthers have finished among the top three in the HCAC standings in three of head coach Matt Wilkerson’s five seasons at the helm. Since 2012, when Wilkerson took the reins of the program, Hanover is 26-12-7 in conference matches.
Hanover will open the 2017 regular season with a home contest against DePauw (Ind.) at 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 1. The Tigers were the first team in the receiving votes category for the United Soccer Coaches Preseason National Top 25 Poll.
2017 HCAC PRESEASON MEN'S SOCCER POLL
|RANK||TEAM||POINTS (1st place)||2016 RECORD|
|1||Transylvania||88 (6)||12-3-3 (7-1-1)|
|2||Rose-Hulman||85 (4)||14-6-0 (9-0-0)|
|4||Mount St. Joseph||59||10-6-3 (5-3-1)|
Contact: Tyler Jester