INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Transylvania University's men's soccer team has been selected as the front runner to win the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Pioneers received nine first-place votes and 91 total points in a poll of the conference's ten head coaches. Hanover College finished behind the Pioneers with 79 points and the final first place vote.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology placed third in the poll with 78 points. Manchester University finished fourth with 68 points and was followed by Anderson Universty (54 points), Defiance College (45), Earlham College (43), Mount St. Joseph University (37), Franklin College (35), and Bluffton University (20).
Transylvania is coming off a 17-2 record in 2017. The Pioneers finished first in the HCAC standings last fall with an 8-1 record. Transylvania fell to Kenyon College 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, ending its season last fall.
The Pioneers return three first-team All-HCAC selections from their 2017 team, including the reigning HCAC Defensive Player of the Year. Senior midfielder Tyler Joy-Brandon (Lexington, Ky.) anchored a defensive unit that allowed a conference-best three goals in nine conference matches last season. Junior forward Alex Shkraba (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) and junior midfielder Charlie Wend (Hebron, Ky.) were also first-team selection from last year's squad. Shkraba contributed six goals, and Wend followed with eight goals last season. Together they tallied seven game-winning goals during the 2017 campaign.
Hanover College finished in a tie for second in the league standings last season with a 7-1-1 mark (12-4-2 overall). The Panthers return two second-team All-HCAC selection from a year ago. Senior forward Tanner Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio) started in 13 games as a junior and contributed seven goals and one assist to the Panthers offense. Sophomore back Myles Joseph (Lafayette, La.) also returns for Hanover. Joseph led a defense that totaled eight shutouts and allowed 15 goals last season as a freshman.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished in a tie for second in the league standings last season with a 7-1-1 mark (12-5-3 overall). The Fightin' Engineers ended the season with a 2-1 loss to Transylvania in double overtime in the HCAC tournament title match. Rose-Hulman returns one second-team All-HCAC member from last season's squad. Senior forward Will McGowen (Hinsdale, Ill.) contributed three goals, three assists, and two game-winning goals to the Fightin' Engineers offense last season.
The 2018 men's soccer season is set to begin on August 31.
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