Hanover men looking to engineer another playoff run

Ryan Keeney and Dominic Isadore high-five during substitution

HANOVER, Ind. - After playing to a 0-0 draw in the regular season finale at Rose-Hulman, the Hanover men's soccer team will play the Fightin' Engineers again Wednesday, Nov. 1 in the semifinals of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.

The two schools finished with identical 7-1-1 conference records, but the Panthers secured the No. 2 seed and will host the match due to the league tie breaker rules that give the edge to visting team of a tie in a head-to-head match-up.

Hanover (12-4-1) finished the regular season unbeaten in their final five matches (4-0-1) and has allowed only three goals in those five contests. The team's last lost came in a 2-0 defeat to regular season champion, Transylvania, on October 11. 

Third-seeded Rose-Hulman (12-4-2), meanwhile, enters Wednesday on an eight-match unbeaten streak (7-0-1). Like the Panthers, the Fightin' Engineers' last loss was to Transylvania back on September 30. 

Prior to Saturday's draw, Hanover defeated Mount St. Joseph 3-0. Senior Dominic Isadore (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored twice to give him a team-high 10 goals on the year. That, and his 21 total points, are both good for second in the HCAC. 

Freshman Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) did not allow a goal in 200 minutes of action last week to give him six shutouts this fall. The first-year keeper made seven saves in the two matches and currently ranks fifth in the conference in goals against (12) and goals-against average (0.75).

Rose-Hulman defeated Franklin 1-0 last Wednesday and has posted 10 shutouts on the season. Senior Austin Webb is tied for second in the conference with seven assists and leads the team in both goals (5) and points (17). 

Seniors Michael Lawrence and Carter Wright both played in the two matches last week. The senior keepers played a half each against Franklin, and then did the same against the Panthers with Lawrence also playing both overtime periods. In 18 matches, the duo has allowed only 11 total goals with a 0.58 goals against average and .866 save percentage. 

The draw between the two schools last Saturday should have come as no surprise. It is the fourth tie in the last seven meetings in which only eight total goals have been scored. The result for Hanover marked the first draw since the HCAC Tournament Championship against Rose-Hulman two years ago that also ended in a scoreless tie. The Fightin' Engineers won that contest on penalty kicks, but lost to the Panthers 1-0 in last year's tournament championship. 

The Blue and Red out-shot Rose-Hulman 16-7 Saturday, including a 6-0 advantage in the first half, while the Fightin' Engineers had a 5-2 edge in corner kicks. Hanover is the defending tournament champion and has posted a 3-0-1 record in the conference tournament in the last two years. 

Start time for Wednesday's contest is set for 2 p.m. in Hanover, Ind. The winner will play the winner of the No. 4 Manchester and No. 1 Transylvania match at the highest remaining seed's campus Saturday, Nov. 4.

Contact: Mike Pritchard