HANOVER, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Final came down to penalty kicks Saturday afternoon, unfortunately for Hanover, they were on the wrong side of a 3-1 decision to Transylvania.
The Panthers and Pioneers played to a 1-1 draw over 110 minutes of play before penalty kicks decided the conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III National Tournament, which begins next week. Hanover concludes its season at 12-6-1 after going 8-1-0 in conference play for the program's first outright HCAC regular season title. Transylvania moves to 8-4-6 overall after the Saturday's result.
Similar to the regular season meeting between the two sides, Transylvania scored an early goal to take a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard. Hanover though, responded with its own goal in the 20th minute, as sophomore Josh Hughes (Lafayette, La.) ripped in a shot on a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Hughes' blast from the left side beat the keeper to the bottom right corner.
Both goalkeepers were called on late in the half to keep the match in a 1-1 stalemate at the intermission. Sophomore Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) made one of his two saves in the 36th minute. Hughes nearly got the Panthers on the board again in the 37th minute, but his try was turned away.
Hanover held a 3-1 advantage in second half shots on goal, but neither side could score in the 45-minute period, forcing extra time. A Pioneer player was given a red card after a second yellow in the 71st minute, giving HC a man-advantage for the remainder of the contest. Hanover outshot Transy 7-0 over the final nine minutes of regulation but could not find the game-winner.
The Blue and Red also enjoyed an 8-1 edge in shots over the two overtime periods, but again, the Pioneer goalkeeper stood tall, forcing the penalty kicks.
Hanover missed two of its first three penalty kicks with freshman Carlos Schryver (Sao Paulo, Brazil) being the lone Panther to find the back of the net. After a save from sophomore Aaron Stocksdale (Louisville, Ky.) on TU's third attempt, the Pioneer advantage was 2-1.
Another HC miss gave Transy a chance to secure the win with a goal on its fourth attempt. Caswell Fuller then knocked in his try to send the Pioneers to the national tournament.
Overall, Hanover held a 25-10 advantage in total shots, including a 19-3 edge over the second half and overtime periods. Total shots on goal and corner kicks were also in favor of the Blue and Red, 11-5 and 9-4, respectively. A physical contest also saw nine total bookings, five yellows and one red card for Transy and three yellows for HC.
Hughes has a team-high nine shots in the match, with six coming inside the frame. Senior Tanner Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio) added five total shots, including two on goal. Adding multiple shot attempts were sophomore Renato Yostsui (Sao Jose Do Rio Preto, Brazil) and freshman Fellipe Busato (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
Hanover's season has most likely come to an end. The Panthers produced double-digit wins for the fourth consecutive season and earned at least an HCAC regular season or tournament title for the third time in the past four years.
Contact: Tyler Jester