GREENWOOD, Ind. – Hanover College and Franklin College have been selected to pace the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference race in women's soccer this season. The Panthers received 85 total points in a poll of the conference's ten head coaches, grabbing five first place votes. Franklin College also received 85 total points and the four first place votes.
Mount St. Joseph University placed third in the poll with 72 total points, while Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished fourth with 69 points and the final first place vote. Transylvania University received 58 points and finished fifth, while Anderson University (51 points), Manchester University (41), Earlham College (39), Defiance College (29), and Bluffton University (21) rounded out the poll.
Hanover College finished 2016 with an 8-1 conference record and a 14-6 mark overall, winning a share of the league title. The Panthers defeated Franklin in the HCAC tournament championship to earn a NCAA tourney berth. Hanover fell in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Trinity (Tex.) 3-1, ending the season.
The 2017 version of the Panthers return four players that earned first-team All-HCAC honors last fall, including the HCAC Defensive MVP. Senior Abby Shroyer (Zionsville, Ind. / Zionsville) has played in all 62 games of her career on the defensive end at Hanover. Junior midfielder Cassidy Evanson (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) returns after starting all 20 games for the Panthers last season. Senior Daria Volker (Lawrenceburg, Ind. / East Central) contributed four goals in the midfield position last fall, and defender Katie Workman (Lexington, Ky. / Tates Creek) returns for the Panthers as well.
Franklin College finished earned a share of the regular season HCAC title with an 8-1 conference record last season and finished 16-4 overall. The Grizzlies fell to Hanover in the HCAC tournament championship 1-0 in regulation. Franklin returns three first-team All-HCAC selection from last season's squad, including the HCAC Offensive MVP. Junior forward Maddie Fleet (Indianapolis, Ind. / Perry Meridian) led the conference in goals and total points last season. She contributed 25 goals and 17 assists totaling 67 points for her sophomore season with the Grizzlies. Junior midfielder Clare Lenart (Seymour, Ind. / Seymour) contributed 12 assists and nine goals for the Grizzly offense. Sophomore goalkeeper Lexi Short (Avon, Ind. / Avon) tallied 45 saves and a 0.48 goals-against average for the Grizzlies in her freshman season.
Mount St. Joseph University will look to challenge for an HCAC title in 2017. The Lions finished third in the conference race last fall with a 7-2 mark (11-7-1 overall), but lost to Hanover in the HCAC tournament semifinals. Mount St. Joseph will return one first-team All-HCAC selection from the 2016 team. Sophomore defender Madeline Rechel (Harrison, Ohio / Harrison) anchored a defense that boasted a 1.23 goals-against average last season for the Lions.
The 2017 women's soccer season is scheduled to open on September 1.
Players to Watch
|Mount St. Joseph||Michelle Hessling||Senior
|Transylvania||Abby Van Bussum||Senior