Hanover women picked as co-favorite in HCAC preseason poll

Lizzy Matchett kicking soccer ball



HANOVER, Ind. – For the first time since the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference began conducting preseason polls, the Hanover women’s soccer team was chosen as a co-favorite to win the 2017 regular season title.

This year’s poll represents the sixth time since 2010, and the fourth straight year, the Panthers have been picked to win the league. Hanover collected 85 total points to tie Franklin as co-favorites, but received five first place votes to Grizzlies’ four.

It should come as no surprise that the two teams have tied for the top spot since they have tied for the best conference record in each of the last two years (8-1 both years) and have met in the last three HCAC Tournament finals with Hanover winning all three.

In the last four years the Panthers have captured both the regular season and tournament championships. With four all-conference selections back from last year’s team, Hanover will look to earn its fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.

Mount St. Joseph finished third with 72 points. Rose-Hulman was fourth with 69 points, including the final first place vote, and Transylvania rounded out the top five with 58 points.

Anderson (51), Manchester (41), Earlham (39), Defiance (29), and Bluffton (21) followed to complete the poll.

The 2017 season will be the 10th for head coach Jim Watts. Since 2008, Watts’ first year, the Panthers have been picked to finish second or higher eight times, including first six times.

Although it’s a new year and a new team, expectations are high once again this fall. Hanover will look to add to a strong run of years which have seen the Panthers post a 60-9-2 record in league play over the last eight seasons for an .870 winning percentage.

Hanover will open its 2017 campaign the weekend of Sept. 1-3 at the Aurora University Lloyd Memorial Classic in Aurora, Ill. The Panthers will open against Kalamazoo (Mich.) Friday at 3:00 p.m. followed by a match Sunday against Aurora at 3:30 p.m.


1Hanover85 (5)14-6-0 (8-1-0)
2Franklin85 (4)16-4-0 (8-1-0)
3Mount St. Joseph7211-7-1 (7-2-0)
4Rose-Hulman69 (1)11-8-0 (6-3-0)
5Transylvania584-11-2 (4-5-0)
6Anderson518-5-3 (4-4-1)
7Manchester413-11-0 (4-5-0)
8Earlham391-14-1 (1-7-1)
9Defiance292-13-0 (2-7-0)
10Bluffton210-11-0 (0-9-0)

Contact: Mike Pritchard


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