Key HCAC contest highlights week for men’s soccer

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HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's soccer team is set to play two more Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matches this week, including one against No. 20 Transylvania (Ky.) Wednesday afternoon.

The Panthers (8-3-0 overall, 3-0-0 HCAC) will first host the Pioneers on October 11 in a match-up of the only two teams with 3-0 records in the league. Hanover will then travel to Bluffton, Ohio Saturday, Oct. 14 to play Bluffton to cap the week.

Currently riding a three-match winning streak, the Panthers won both matches last week in convincing fashion with a 5-0 win at Franklin, followed by a 5-1 win against Anderson at home.

Senior Dominic Isadore (Cincinnati, Ohio) had a big week. Against Franklin, Isadore became the first Hanover player this season to record a hat trick. He then added a goal and an assist against Anderson to finish with nine points on the week to give him 13 for the season.

Freshman Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) received his second HCAC Defensive Player of the Week honor after allowing only one goal in almost 165 minutes of action. Bedel has a 0.71 goals against average and an .800 save percentage with 28 saves through 11 matches in his first year.

Transylvania will bring a 10-0-0 overall record and 3-0-0 league mark into Wednesday's contest. The Pioneers are ranked No. 20 in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll.

Last week Transylvania won a pair of 2-1 matches at Mount St. Joseph and Defiance and are scheduled to play two more road contests this week against Hanover and Manchester.

The Pioneers have out-scored their opponents 26-5 on the year and are led by senior Riley Calhoon, who leads the conference with 19 points and nine goals. Sophomores Drew Grisham and Chandler Guance have shared time in goal with Grisham starting all 10 contests.

The last seven meetings between the Panthers and Transylvania have been extremely close, including three overtime contests. The series is tied at 3-3-1 over those seven matches with only one match being decided by more than one goal. Hanover fell 1-0 in the regular season last year, but won 2-1 in double overtime in the HCAC Semifinals, which marked the second straight year the Panthers defeated the Pioneers in the conference semifinals.

Bluffton enters the week 1-10 overall and 1-2 in the HCAC. The Beavers opened the season with 10 straight losses, but defeated Franklin 3-0 at Franklin Saturday for its first win of the year.

Ten different players have recorded at least one point led by senior Blake Hershberger. Hershberger leads the team in goals (3) and points (6). Four different goalkeepers have seen action for Bluffton with freshman Levi Smith appearing in six matches with five starts. He has a 2.52 goals against average and a .714 save percentage.

Hanover has won five of the last seven meetings against the Beavers, but all seven matches have ended in shutouts. Bluffton won 1-0 in both 2014 and 2010, while the Panthers won five times by a combined score of 19-0, including a 4-0 win last year.

Start time for Wednesday is set for 3:30 p.m. in Hanover, Ind., and Saturday's contest will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Bluffton, Ohio.

Contact: Mike Pritchard