HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's soccer team will travel to face Mount St. Joseph in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals Wednesday evening.
The Panthers, who have won four consecutive conference tournaments, will begin their journey for a fifth straight NCAA National Tournament bid at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 1.
Hanover will be in an unusual spot Wednesday though, as it will mark the program's first road match in a HCAC semifinal contest since 2012. The team however, will have the luxury of successful tournament stints in recent memories, posting an 8-0 mark over the past four years, while also outscoring opponents by a combined total of 18-5.
The Blue and Red also return 17 players from last year's roster that was a part of three, one-goal victories in postseason play, including a 2-1, overtime victory over Illinois Wesleyan in the NCAA National Tournament.
A familiar foe awaits the Panthers in the HCAC Tournament semifinals this year in Mount St. Joseph. After Wednesday's match, the two sides will have met four times in the past two seasons, including last year's semifinal final contest, where HC won, at home, 2-1.
The regular season meeting this fall went in the favor of the Lions (16-3-0, 7-2-0 HCAC), who scored once in each half of their 2-0 home decision. Hanover and MSJ's regular season took place just six days ago, on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
Both sides will look to continue their recent quality form Wednesday. Hanover, the No. 3 seed in the HCAC Tournament dropped just the one match to MSJ over its final seven appearances in the regular season, posting five shutouts defensively during the span. Mount St. Joseph, who earned the No. 2 seed, posted a 7-1 record during the month of October, with all eight matches coming in HCAC play.
A pair of freshmen goalkeepers in Charlotte Verbanic (Columbus, Ind.) and Katie Perry (Indianapolis, Ind.) helped HC earn a shutout in the 0-0, double overtime draw with Rose-Hulman last Saturday. Verbanic has now given up just two goals in over 450 minutes of action this season.
During the Panthers' regular season finale at RHIT, seven different players recorded a shot. Sophomore Maisyn Garland (Rochester, Ill.) and senior Katie Workman (Lexington, Ky.) posted the only two shots on goal for the Blue and Red.
Garland currently leads the team with six goals and 13 points. Workman has helped guide a Panther defense that has a goal against average of 0.69 this season, while also recording nine shutouts.
The Lions are led offensively by Kaylan Gruber, who has 12 goals this fall. Morgan Knasel and Jodie Weimer scored the MSJ goals against HC last week, as they have a combined 10 goals on the year.
The winner of Wednesday's contest will advance to the HCAC Tournament Championship, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 4. No. 1 Franklin will host No. 4 Anderson in the other semifinal match and the best remaining seed will host Saturday's championship with an automatic berth into the NCAA National Tournament on the line.
Contact: Tyler Jester