GREENWOOD, Ind. – Transylvania University's men's soccer team has been selected as the front runner to win the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Pioneers received six first-place votes and 88 total points in a poll of the conference's ten head coaches. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished behind the Pioneers with 85 points and four first place votes.
Hanover College placed third in the poll with 75 points. Mount St. Joseph University finished fourth with 59 points and was followed by Manchester Universty (53 points), Earlham College (47), Anderson University (46), Franklin College (42), Defiance College (31), and Bluffton University (24).
Transylvania is coming off a 12-3-3 record in 2016. The Pioneers finished second in the HCAC standings last fall with a 7-1-1 record. Transylvania fell to Hanover 2-1 in the semifinal match of the HCAC Tournament, ending its season last fall.
The Pioneers return two first-team All-HCAC selections from their 2016 team, including the reigning HCAC Freshman of the Year. Sophomore Jason Murillo (Versailles, Ky. / Woodford County) led the Pioneer defense last season with five goals, five assists, and three game-winning goals in league play. The sophomore also anchored a defense that allowed only 13 goals against last fall. Senior midfielder Riley Calhoon (Lexington, Ky. / Dunbar) and junior midfielder Tyler Joy-Brandon (Lexington, Ky. / Dunbar) were instrumental for the Pioneers' offense last fall. Calhoon contributed four goals and eight assists, and Joy-Brandon followed with two goals and two assists in the 2016 season.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology earned the league title last fall after finishing 9-0 in conference play (14-6 overall). The Fightin' Engineers ended the season with a 1-0 loss to Hanover in the HCAC tournament title match. Rose-Hulman returns two first-team All-HCAC members from last season's squad, including HCAC Offensive MVP Austin Webb. Senior forward Austin Webb (West Lafayette, Ind. / Harrison) contributed 10 goals and three assists to the Fightin' Engineers offense last season. Junior midfielder Turner Perkins (Danville, Ind. / Danville) started in all 20 games for Rose-Hulman and tallied four goals and one assist last season.
Hanover College finished third in the league standings last season with a 7-2 mark (16-5 overall). The Panthers return one first-team All-HCAC selection from a year ago. Senior forward Dominic Isadore (Cincinnati, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) started in 17 games as a junior and contributed five goals and three assists to the Panthers offense. Senior midfielder Thomas Doering (Lexington, Ky. / Tates Creek) also returns for Hanover. Doering recorded four goals and two assists during his junior season.
The 2017 men's soccer season is set to begin on September 1.
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