HCAC crown on the line in final week for men's soccer

Thomas Doering after being introduced prior to start of match

HANOVER, Ind. - With two regular season matches to play, the Hanover men's soccer team will enter the final week as one of three teams tied for first in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. 

The Panthers have won three straight, and six of their last seven, to enter the week 11-4-0 overall and 6-1-0 in the HCAC. Also sitting at 6-1-0 are Transylvania (Ky.) with a 13-1-0 overall record, and Saturday's opponent, Rose-Hulman, at 11-4-1. 

Last week Hanover won a pair of one-score contests with a 1-0 win at Earlham and a 3-2 win on Senior Day against Defiance. Sophomore Brady Gesenhues (Fort Thomas, Ky.) scored the first game-winner of his career in Wednesday's victory over the Quakers. Three days later, three different players scored to give the Panthers a one-goal win over the visiting Yellow Jackets.

Senior Dominic Isadore (Cincinnati, Ohio), junior Tanner Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio), and freshman Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) all rank among the league leaders. Isadore and Korfhagen are second and fourth in goals scored, and third and fifth in points respectively. Isadore has posted team-highs in goals (9) and points (19), while Korfhagen has seven goals and 15 points.

Bedel continues to have a strong freshman campaign. The first-year keeper is fifth in the conference in goals-against-average at 0.89.

Hanover will play its final home match of the regular season Wednesday, Oct. 25 against Mount St. Joseph, which will bring a 5-9-3 overall record and a 2-4-1 mark in the HCAC into the contest. The seventh-place Lions lost both of their matches last week at home to Rose-Hulman (3-1) and Manchester (2-0). 

Junior Seth Freppon is tied for second in the conference with nine goals, and is also fourth in points with 18. Two seniors have split time in goal for Mount St. Joseph. Conner Spivey has started 12 matches and Will Schwing five, while both have played over 750 minutes this fall. The two seniors have combined for a 1.93 goals against avearage. 

The Panthers have won five of the last seven meetings against the Lions, including the last three by a combined score of 8-1. 

The regular season will then end Saturday, Oct. 28 at Rose-Hulman. The Fightin' Engineers have won their last six straight and outscored their opponents 13-2 over that stretch.  

Senior Austin Webb leads the team with four goals, and is second in the HCAC in assists with seven for a team-best 15 points. Senior goalkeeper Michael Lawrence is first in the league in save percentage (.848), third in goals against (5) and fourth in goals-against-average (0.67).

The last six contests between Hanover and Rose-Hulman have been tightly contested. The Fightin' Engineers hold a 2-1-3 edge over that span as only eight goals have been scored. In the last two years, the two teams have met in the HCAC Tournament Championship with the Panthers winning 1-0 last year, and Rose-Hulman claiming the championship on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie in 2015. 

If the Panthers win both matches this week, and Transylvania loses once, Hanover would win the regular season championship outright. 

Wednesday's match against Mount St. Joseph is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. in Hanover, and Saturday's regular-season finale is also set for a 3:30 p.m. start in Terre Haute, Ind. 

Contact: Mike Pritchard