Hanover, Ind. – The Transylvania men's lacrosse team captured the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference regular season championship on Saturday afternoon as the Pioneers defeated the Hanover College Panthers 13-11 at Alumni Stadium.
The Pioneers held off a steady charge from the upset-minded Panthers throughout the second half as Transylvania completed an 8-0 run through conference play and moved to 12-4 overall. Hanover dropped to 11-5 overall and finished its run in conference at 6-2 with its two sole losses coming at the hands of the Pioneers.
Transylvania cultivated a 6-0 lead on the road midway through the second quarter before Hanover recuperated to push the Pioneers to the brink for the rest of the afternoon.
The scoring theatrics of Corbyn Buchart were on display early as he rang in the afternoon with the opening goal less than three minutes into the day. Buchart bookended the quarter with another goal following scores from Kayd Aquino and Bryce Lowe to send the Pioneers into the second quarter with a 4-0 cushion.
Buchart then began the second quarter with another score to notch a hat-trick in less than 17 minutes for a 5-0 Pioneer lead. Lowe tallied his second goal of the game with 9:42 left in the half off a man-up opportunity.
Hanover then manifested a strong rally to close out the half, finishing with four unanswered goals to cut its deficit to 6-4 by intermission.
Trenton Sneed scored one minute into the second half for a 7-4 lead before the Panthers issued another major punch with three straight goals to tie up the action at 7-7 with 2:48 left in the third. Lowe reached a hat-trick with a go-ahead score on the ensuing face-off, and Sneed again came up with a distance-providing goal with nine seconds left in the period, sending the Pioneers into the fourth quarter with a 9-7 lead.
The two-goal cushion proved vital as each team scored four goals apiece in the final quarter. Buchart rose to the occasion once more as he scored his fourth and fifth goals of the game in the last quarter, his final goal raising Transy's lead to 12-9 with 3:01 to go. Aquino dropped in the last score of the day for Transylvania with two minutes left to give the Pioneers a 13-9 advantage.
Hanover struck back with consecutive scores with 90 seconds left, but the Pioneers held firm to secure the victory.
Sneed finished the day with six points, making the junior one of three Pioneers to record a hat-trick. Michael Webb claimed the win for the Pioneers with nine saves in 45 minutes of work. Peyton Bray led the Pioneers with nine ground balls.
The Pioneers cleared 19 of 22 rides on the day and won 15 of 27 face-offs.
With the victory, Transylvania earned its fourth regular-season conference title in the last five seasons as the Pioneers reeled off an undefeated conference run for the first time since the 2017 campaign.
By capturing the regular-season title, the Pioneers have earned the No. 1 seed in next week's HCLC Tournament. The Pioneers will host Wednesday's HCLC semifinal game versus No. 4 seed Mount St. Joseph in Lexington at 4:00 p.m.
With a win in the semifinal, the Pioneers would also have the right to host Saturday's championship game against the other semifinal winner between No. 2 seed Hanover and No. 3 seed Earlham.
The Pioneers have won their last four conference tournament championships and are pursuing what would be their third straight NCAA Tournament berth with a potential HCLC Tournament championship.
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