GREENWOOD, IN – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s men’s soccer team has been selected as the front runner to win the 2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Engineers received seven first-place votes and 94 total points in a poll of the conference’s ten head coaches.
Hanover College will look to capture the school’s first HCAC men’s soccer title, as the Panthers totaled 77 points and one first place vote. Transylvania University placed third in the poll with 75 points. Anderson University finished fourth with 71 points and one first place vote and was followed by Earlham College (60 points, one first place vote), Franklin College (59), Defiance College (48), Manchester University (30), Mount St. Joseph University (23), and Bluffton University (13).
Rose-Hulman is coming off a 12-6-5 record in 2013. The Engineers placed second in the HCAC title race last fall with a 6-1-2 record and earned a HCAC tournament title with a 1-0 overtime win over Transylvania. Rose defeated Penn St.-Behrend and top ranked Ohio Wesleyan in the NCAA tournament before ending the season with a 3-0 defeat against Franklin & Marshall.
The Engineers will open the season ranked No. 22 in the preseason NSCAA Top-25 poll and return a pair of second-team All-HCAC selections from their 2013 team. Senior goalkeeper Drew Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Bishop Fenwick) was instrumental in leading the Engineers’ top ranked defense last fall. Miller led the conference with only three goals allowed during league play, including a league-best .880 save percentage. Senior back Andrew Bartush (Granger, Ind./Penn) helped anchor the defense which allowed only 14 goals in 23 matches last season.
Hanover College placed third in the HCAC race last season with a 6-2-1 record (10-8-2 overall). The Panthers ended the season with a 3-0 setback to Rose-Hulman in the HCAC tournament. Hanover returns two first-team All-HCAC members from last season’s squad, including Freshman of the Year Matt Eldridge (Louisville, Ky./Trinity). Eldridge led the Panthers with seven goals last fall, totaling 15 points during his freshman season. Defensively, senior back Drew Roberts (Goshen, Ky./North Oldham) led the Hanover defense which ranked second in the HCAC last season with six goals allowed.
Transylvania University finished alongside Hanover in the league standings last fall with a 6-2-1 mark (13-5-2 overall). Transy graduated all of its All-HCAC selections from a year ago, including HCAC Offensive MVP Kyle Smith. The Pioneers received 35 of its 43 goals from seniors last fall. Senior midfielder Stephen Willoughby (Richmond, Ky./Madison Central) is the leading returning goal scorer with only two goals scored during the 2013 season.
The 2014 men’s soccer season is set to begin on August 29.
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