Rose-Hulman Selected to Win HCAC Men's Soccer Title Race

Rose-Hulman Selected to Win HCAC Men's Soccer Title Race

GREENWOOD, Ind. – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's men's soccer team has been selected as the front runner to win the 2016 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Engineers received nine first-place votes and 91 total points in a poll of the conference's ten head coaches. Hanover College finished behind the Fightin' Engineers with 82 points and the final first place vote.

Transylvania University placed third in the poll with 75 points.  Franklin College finished fourth with 63 points and was followed by Earlham College (62 points), Manchester University (49), Anderson University (40), Mount St. Joseph University (34), Defiance College (31), and Bluffton University (23).

Rose-Hulman is coming off a 13-2-6 record in 2015.  The Engineers earned a share of the HCAC title last fall with a 7-0-2 record and earned their third consecutive HCAC tournament title with a 0-0 penalty kick victory over Hanover.  Rose-Hulman fell to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the first round of the NCAA tournament, ending its season.

The Engineers return five first-team All-HCAC selections from their 2015 team, including the reigning HCAC Defensive MVP and HCAC Freshman of the Year.  Senior Nick Kowalkowski (New Lenox, Ill. / Lincoln-Way) and sophomore Erik Eksten (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) led Rose-Hulman's defensive efforts last season while forcing 11 shutouts and a 0.67 goals against average total for last season.  The defensive duo also tallied three goals each.  Senior forward Ben Lyon (Westfield, Ind. / Westfield) and junior forward Austin Webb were instrumental in leading the Engineers' offense last fall.  Webb led the team with eight goals and three assists, and Lyon followed with seven goals and five assists. Junior midfielder Turner Perkins (Danville, Ind. / Danville) started in all 21 games for the Engineers as a sophomore and added two goals. Senior midfielder Dieter Schultz (Dyer, Ind. / Lake Central) also returns for the Engineers after netting two goals with seven assists last fall.

Hanover College shared the league title with Rose-Hulman last season with a 7-0-2 record (12-6-3 overall).  The Panthers ended the season with a 0-0 penalty kick loss to Rose-Hulman in the HCAC tournament title match. Hanover returns three first-team All-HCAC members from last season's squad, including HCAC Offensive MVP Enrico Franchini.  Junior forward Enrico Franchini (Sao Paulo, Brazil) contributed 15 goals to the Panthers offense last season, six of those being game winners.  Senior defender Alex McSweeney (Louisville, Ky. / St. Xavier) started in all 21 games as a junior last season for the Panthers.  Senior goalkeeper Rafael Di Maio (Sao Paulo, Brazil) had a .830 save percentage last season and a 0.81 goals against average to support the Panthers defense.

Transylvania University finished fourth in the league standings last season with a 5-1-3 mark (8-4-7 overall).  The Pioneers return one first-team All-HCAC selection from a year ago.  Junior midfielder Riley Calhoon (Lexington, Ky. / Dunbar) started in 18 games as a sophomore and contributed six goals and five assists to the Pioneer offense. Senior forward Blake Chidester (Brentwood, Tenn. / Brentwood) also returns for Transylvania. Chidester recorded five goals and six assists during his junior season.

The 2016 men's soccer season is set to begin on September 1.


Players to Watch

Anderson   Jacob Pokorski   Sophomore   Midfield   Monroe, Ohio / Monroe
    Cory Baker   Sophomore   Forward   Greenwood, Ind. / Center Grove
    Brian Stout   Junior   Midfield   Ypsilanti, Mich. / Washtenaw Christian
Bluffton   Matt Hardman-Zimmerman   Senior   Goalkeeper   Forest City, Pa.
    Josh Carmack   Senior   Back   Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg
    Grant Stutzman   Senior   Forward   Sugarcreek, Ohio / Hiland
    Blake Hershberger   Junior   Midfield   Canton, Ohio / McKinley
Defiance   Trevor Hester   Senior   Back   Liberty Center, Ohio / Monclova Christian
    Nick Kleptz   Junior   Forward   Troy, Ohio / Troy
    Mark Williams   Junior   Midfield   Plain City, Ohio / Jonathan Alder
Earlham    Nicholas Dey   Junior    Midfield     Newport News, Va.
     Nicola Manni   Sophomore    Goalkeeper    Vandalia, Ohio
Franklin   Austin Storm   Junior   Back   Greenwood, Ind. / Center Grove
    Antonio Gioe   Senior   Forward   Martinsville, Ind. / Mooresville
    Mason Krupa   Junior   Midfield   Indianapolis, Ind. / Pike
    Cameron Mattern   Junior   Midfield   Pittsboro, Ind. / Brownsburg
Hanover   Enrico Franchini   Senior   Forward   Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Dominic Isadore   Junior   Forward   Cincinnati, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day
    Rafael Di Maio   Junior   Goalkeeper   Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Cameron Childers   Senior   Midfield   Lafayette, Ind. / McCutcheon
Manchester   Chase Holford   Senior   Back   Valparaiso, Ind. / Valparaiso
    Matthew Jordan   Senior   Midfield   Zionsville, Ind. / Zionsville
    Tod Oram   Junior   Forward   Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point
MSJ   Tyler Schumann   Senior   Back   Cincinnati, Ohio / Elder
    Zach Kuebler   Senior   Midfield   Hilliard, Ohio / Hilliard Darby
    Teddy Kerr   Junior   Forward   Cleves, Ohio / St. Xavier
    Michael Huber   Junior   Midfield   New Richmond, Ohio / New Richmond
Rose-Hulman   Nick Kowalkowski   Senior   Back   New Lenox, Ill. / Lincoln-Way
    Turner Perkins   Junior   Midfield   Danville, Ind. / Danville
    Austin Webb   Junior   Forward   West Lafayette, Ind. / Harrison
    Ben Lyon   Senior   Forward   Westfield, Ind. / Westfield
Transylvania   Matt Melzer   Senior   Midfield   Florence, Ky. / Boone Co.
    Riley Calhoon   Junior   Midfield   Lexington, Ky. / Dunbar
    Jacob Gantt   Junior   Midfield   Louisville, Ky. / Trinity
    Blake Chidester   Senior   Forward   Brentwood, Tenn. / Brentwood