Panthers slated to face Rochester to open NCAA Tournament action

Panthers slated to face Rochester to open NCAA Tournament action

| Tournament Site Information | 2019 Division III Men's Soccer Bracket |

GAMBIER, Ohio - The Hanover men's soccer team earned a bid to the NCAA Division III Soccer Tournament by advancing past Rose-Hulman on penalty kicks in the HCAC Conference Championship game. The Panthers drew University of Rochester (N.Y) in the opening round with the victor advancing to play the winner of Kenyon and Penn State-Behrend. This is the second appearance for the Panthers under the direction of Head Coach Matt Wilkerson (1st appearance - 2016).

Game Information: Saturday, Nov. 16 1:30 p.m.

University of Rochester (11-5-1 overall, 3-3-1 UAA) vs. Hanover College (12-5-2 overall, 8-1 HCAC).

Location: Kenyon College (Mavec Field)

Recap: Hanover finished the regular season with a record of 13-5-1 including an 8-1 mark in HCAC play.  The lone blemish for the Blue and Red in conference play occurred during the very first contest of the year against Manchester. Since then, the Panthers have been on fire unbeaten in 10 straight contests to conclude the regular season and HCAC postseason play. 

All year Hanover and conference foe Rose-Hulman had been battling it out at the top of the conference standings. The Panthers defeated the Fightin' Engineers 2-1 in the regular season, a huge victory that would be the deciding factor in Hanover grabbing the #1 seed in the HCAC tournament. 

After earning home field advantage in the tournament, Hanover played host to Rose-Hulman in a thriller that came down to the wire. With 52-seconds left in the game and the Panthers trailing 1-0; Patrick Rowe (Terre Haute, Ind.) delivered a missile from outside the box, sneaking the ball into the upper corner of the goal and just out of the outstretched arms of the keeper for the equalizer.

After tense double overtime periods the game remained tied at 1-1 sending the conference final into penalty kicks. Carlos Schryver (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Renato Yostsui (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Nicholas Ash (Louisville, Ky.), and Josh Hughes (Lafayette, La.) all connected on their penalty kicks putting the pressure on Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) to stop the Fightin' Engineers. Bedel came through in a huge way, blocking Rose-Hulman's Matt Fix to open the shootout and also stopping Sam Alvares. With the shootout at 3-2 in favor of the Panthers, Hughes connected on the final shot to punch Hanover's ticket to the NCAA Tournament and win the HCAC crown.

Scouting the Yellowjackets: Making their 20th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their fourth straight, the Yellowjackets are looking to repeat their magical run last year that saw them lose to Tufts, the eventual National Champions, in the Final Four. Senior leadership has been crucial for the Rochester attack this season as seniors Josh Cooley, Zach Lawlor, and Mitch Volis lead the team in points with 13, 12, and 9 respectively.  Sporting an overall record of 11-5-1, Rochester is on an unbeaten streak of their own having not lost a match since Oct. 18 after losing their opening three games in University Athletic Association conference play. Rochester was selected by the NCAA with an at-Large bid to the tournament as University of Chicago won the league regular season crown.

Season Leaders





Luke Eppler - 9

Josh Cooley - 5


Josh Hughes - 9

Mitch Volis - 5


Josh Hughes - 23

Josh Cooley - 13

Shooting %

Patrick Rowe, Joseph Kerney - 1.000

Mouhammed Thiam - .333

Save %

Will Bedel - .842

Hugh Curran - .795

Matchup by the Numbers: The Panthers hold the advantage against the Yellowjackets in almost every offensive category nearly doubling the opponent in shots on goal this season (Hanover – 160, Rochester – 86). Accuracy also swings the way of the Blue and Red as the Panthers connect on their shots on goal at a rate of 48.3% compared to 43.2% for Rochester.  The Yellowjackets employ a balanced attack with their leading goal scorer only netting five goals on the season while the Panthers top scorers, Eppler and Hughes, account for nearly half of the Panther goals this season having connected nine and seven times respectively.

Defensively, Rochester holds a slight edge on the year having given up only 15 goals all season as compared to 20 for the Panthers. Despite Bedel besting Yellowjacket goalkeeper Hugh Curran in save percentage (Bedel - .842, Curran - .795), Rochester is only giving up 0.85 goals per game, a mark slightly better than the 1.03 goals per game for Hanover. Most impressive defensively this season are the eight shutouts that Rochester has earned this season which included a stretch of six straight in the middle of the season.

With a clear offensive advantage for the Panthers and a defensive advantage for Rochester, something has to give.  Tune in tomorrow Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. to watch the action or follow along online with live statistics, both links will be shared on twitter when they are made active and also made available on the Hanover Athletics website.