Hanover men to play first of four straight road contests Sunday

Nicholas Ash trying to create some offense


HANOVER, Ind. – While the last two matches were technically neutral site contests, the Hanover men's soccer team will go back on the road Sunday, Sept. 24 to play Spalding (Ky.) in the first of four straight true road games.

The Panthers (4-2-0) are currently riding a three-match winning streak and have out-scored their opponents 10-1 in those wins. In the team's two matches last week, Hanover defeated Cincinnati-Clermont 7-0 and Wittenberg 1-0 as part of the Wilmington Kiwanis Classic. The pair of wins also marked the first shutouts of the season.

Head Coach Matt Wilkerson got a total team effort that weekend as all eight goals were scored by eight different players. On the season, 11 different players have scored at least one goal with junior Tanner Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio) leading the way with three scores.

In addition, freshman goalkeeper Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) became the second newcomer in as many weeks to earn Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week accolades. For his efforts, Bedel was selected as the top defensive player in the league for the week after he posted 135 minutes of scoreless action.

Sunday's complete-game shutout of Wittenberg was the first of his collegiate career. He joined Korfhagen, who was named the offensive player of the week the previous week. Bedel has made 19 saves in six matches and has allowed only 0.80 goals per game.

Spalding currently owns a 3-3-0 record and has won its last two by a combined score of 10-3. The Golden Eagles have already played a pair of HCAC schools, and will also play Mount St. Joseph (Ohio) Friday prior to Sunday's contest against the Panthers.

In its last two matches, Spalding blanked Berea (Ky.) 5-0 on the road and then rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Franklin to win 5-3. The Golden Eagles also opened the season with a 9-0 win over Bluffton (Ohio).

Sophomore Kornell Hilliard and freshman Trustun Ashburn lead Spalding with four goals apiece through six contests. Hilliard also has a team-high five assists for a team-best 13 points, while Ashburn has one assist for nine points. Freshman Nick Lucas has served as the team's primary keeper. In almost 530 minutes, he has allowed 1.36 goals per game and made 28 saves.

Over the last seven years, the Panthers own a 6-1-0 record over the Golden Eagles, including wins in each of the last two seasons. Last year, in Hanover, the Blue and Red won 7-2 as six different players scored for the Panthers.

Sunday's contest is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at Champions Trace in Louisville, Ky.

Contact: Mike Pritchard