GAMBIER, Ohio - The Hanover College men's soccer team was defeated 1-0 by Rochester (N.Y.) in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Soccer Tournamnet Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers (12-6-2) concluded their fantastic season which saw them be crowned both Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions.
Hanover controlled the game early, consistently pressuring the Rochester defense with sharp passing and good runs. The Yellowjacket defense, which has only surrendered 15 goals all season, stood their ground for the first 25 minutes of the game.
25 minutes in the momentum shifted as HCAC Offensive Player of the Year Josh Hughes (Lafayette, La.) went down with an injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the game. With Hughes sidelined, the Yellowjackets were able to dictate the game and get some of the momentum going in their favor.
It wasn't all Rochester however, perhaps the Panthers best scoring chance of the game came in the 41st minute as Ian Waldrop (Louisville, Ky.) sliced through four Yellowjacket defenders and struck a hard hit ball that flew barely wide right of the goal. The missed opportunity kept the score tied at 0-0 going into the half.
The 58th minute is when everything changed. With Rochester pressuring the Hanover defense, Yellowjacket forward Mitch Volis took a shot that was beautifully saved by Will Bedel (Walton, Ky.). Unfortunately the saved shot deflected off the right post directly to Rochester leading scorer Josh Cooley who connected on the opportunity from close range for the lone goal of the game.
The Blue and Red cranked up the offensive pressure in the last 15 minutes of the game in a last chance effort to provide an equalizing goal. Despite a few quality efforts, the Panthers could not find the back of the net and as a result were not able to advance to the second round.
Rochester moves on to face #5 Kenyon College who defeated Penn State-Berhend 5-0 in today's other matchup.
Today's appearance marks Hanover's second NCAA Tournament appearace in the last four years. The Panthers will look to repeat as HCAC champions and make another NCAA appearance in the 2020 season.