HANOVER, Ind. – For the second time in four seasons, the Hanover men's soccer team is the regular season champion of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, as the Panthers defeated Defiance at home Saturday, 3-0.
The Panthers (11-6-0), who were celebrating Senior Day, finish 8-1-0 in HCAC play, good enough for sole possession of the title. With a regular season title in 2015 and a tournament crown in 2016, HC now has three total HCAC championships in the past four years.
Neither side could find the back of the net over the opening 45 minutes. Despite a 12-2 shot advantage for the Panthers, including a 6-1 edge on goal, they were held scoreless at the intermission.
Sophomore Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.) made his lone save of the match in the first half, as he picked up his fifth clean sheet of the season.
Early in the second half, sophomore Josh Hughes (Lafayette, La.) tried to find the back of the net again, but his try was saved. Finally, in the 62nd minute, Hanover broke through with a goal from freshman Fellipe Busato (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Busato volleyed in a corner kick from classmate Carlos Schryver (Sao Paulo, Brazil), as the crowd of 300-plus erupted.
Less than five minutes later, the scoring continued as senior Tanner Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio) found the back of the net from eight yards out. The Blue and Red led 2-0 with just under 25 minutes remaining.
Still with a two-goal advantage, sophomore Nicholas Ash (Louisville, Ky.) added to the margin with his first goal of the season in the 87th minute. Ash received a cross from Korfhagen, giving the senior a team-high three points in the match.
After outshooting the Yellow Jackets (8-10-0, 5-4-0 HCAC) by a count of 12-0 in the second half, HC finished with a 24-2 edge in the match. Hanover also enjoyed 11-2 shot on goal and 15-9 corner kick advantages. Hughes finished with six shots, three on goal, while Korfhagen had two of his three attempts come on frame.
The Blue and Red have earned the right to stay at the Panther Athletic Complex for as long as they are a participant in the HCAC Tournament next week. Hanover will open tournament play with a 2 p.m., semifinal match against Manchester on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Contact: Tyler Jester