Pioneers Men's Soccer set for HCAC Tournament Semifinals vs. Hanover

Pioneers Men's Soccer set for HCAC Tournament Semifinals vs. Hanover

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Lexington, Ky. – The No. 2 seed Transylvania men's soccer team prepares to enter the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals on Wednesday, November 2 as it hosts the No. 3 seeded Hanover College Panthers.

The Pioneers earned the reward of the two-seed and the ensuing homefield advantage in the opening stage of the HCAC Conference Tournament after roaring through the HCAC conference schedule with a 7-1-1 record, exceeded only by No. 1 seed Rose-Hulman, who made it through conference play undefeated.

Transylvania currently rides a seven-match winning streak, its longest of the season as well as the longest streak since the 2012 season. The Pioneers are unbeaten in their last eight straight games, a run of form which began back on November 5, a 1-1 tie against Mount St. Joseph.

During the winning streak in the month of October, the Pioneers have outscored opposition 18-2, posting five shutouts during that stretch. Transylvania has only allowed one goal since October 8, one of its finest defensive stretches in program history.

The 2016 season up to this point is the best season the Pioneers have experienced since the 2012 season, when the Pioneers went 16-2-2 overall, including NCAA postseason action. In that 2012 season, the Pioneers cultivated a 14-game unbeaten streak, which included a seven-game winning streak.

On the line Wednesday night is a ticket to the HCAC Tournament championship game; the winner of that contest, scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 p.m. is an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers last qualified for the NCAA Tournament four seasons ago, after beating Franklin handily 4-1 in the championship round.  

PAST BATTLES: Transylvania defeated Hanover in its most recent and lone meeting this year, a 1-0 win at Pat Deacon Stadium on October 12. Both teams battled to a defensive standstill until two and a half minutes remained in regulation, when sophomore Tyler Joy-Brandon (Lexington, Ky. / Paul Laurence Dunbar) scored on an assist from junior Riley Calhoon (Lexington, Ky. / Paul Laurence Dunbar) for the game-winning goal. Transylvania is 7-2-2 against Hanover over the past 10 seasons. The Pioneers fell to Hanover in last year's HCAC Conference semifinal, 1-0 at Hanover, and forged a 1-1 tie in last season's regular season matchup.  

GOALKEEPERS DELUXE: Transylvania freshman goalkeeper Drew Grisham (Mason, Ohio / Mason) currently leads the HCAC in three different categories entering the playoffs: save percentage (.923), goals against (3 total), and goals-against average (0.36/per match). Since taking over the starting job at midseason, Grisham has produced four shutouts and the Pioneers have either won or tied each game in which he has appeared in goal for greater than 40 seconds.

Meanwhile, freshman counterpart Chandler Gaunce (Winchester, Ky. / George Rogers Clark), who began the season in goal for the Pioneers also ranks in the top-five in save percentage (.765), goals-against average (.096), and goals against (8), providing the Pioneers with a wealth of options in goal.

THE CHIDESTER STANDARD: Senior forward Blake Chidester (Brentwood, Tenn. / Brentwood) leads the Pioneers in goals scored with 11 on the season. That mark ranks second among all HCAC players entering the tournament. The senior completed his regular season with a brace in a 6-0 win against Bluffton, and has scored in four of the Pioneers' last five games. Transylvania is 7-0-1 on the season when Chidester connects with the back of the net.

For the latest on Transylvania men's soccer, follow their official twitter @TransyMSoccer