Terre Haute, Ind. – The Transylvania men's soccer team will begin the pursuit of its third straight NCAA Tournament berth on Wednesday, November 6 against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers in the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal match.
The Pioneers (10-7, 7-2 HCAC) clinched the No. 3 seed in the HCAC Tournament after completing a 7-2 run through the HCAC table, finishing one match back of both Rose-Hulman (15-3, 8-1 HCAC), the tournament No. 2 seed and Hanover, the No. 1 seed, which both finished tied atop the table with 8-1 records.
Wednesday's semifinal match pits an instant rematch between the two teams after Rose-Hulman defeated Transy 1-0 in the regular-season finale last Saturday in Terre Haute. A 68th-minute goal by the Engineers provided the lone difference in a defensive battle.
The HCAC semifinal showdown, scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kick at the Rose-Hulman Intramural fields, will be the latest installment in a rivalry full of recent dramatic moments and high-stake contests. After the two teams fought to a 0-0 tie in the 2018 season, the Pioneers and Engineers duplicated a 0-0 final in last year's HCAC semifinal match, which the Pioneers went on to win 5-4 on penalty kicks.
In the 2017 season, the Pioneers defeated Rose-Hulman in the conference championship match at Pat Deacon Stadium on a golden goal by Garrett Dean in the second overtime to launch the Pioneers into the NCAA Tournament.
This season, the two teams will square off for the opportunity to advance into Saturday's HCAC Tournament Championship against the winner of the other Wednesday semifinal between Hanover (11-5-1, 8-1 HCAC) and No. 4 seed Manchester (9-9-1, 6-3 HCAC).
Tickets for Wednesday's and Saturday's HCAC Tournament matches are $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and Non-HCAC students, and free for HCAC students with their university ID cards, faculty, and staff members of HCAC institutions.
The Pioneers are led on offense by freshman striker Mitchell Crispin (Cleveland, Tenn. / McCallie HS), who ranks fourth in the HCAC in goals with eight and third in conference with seven assists, and Charlie Wend (Hebron, Ky. / Conner HS), who ranks second on the Pioneers in goals with seven and 18 points in total. The Pioneers are keyed defensively by senior goalkeeper Drew Grisham, who ranks top three in conference in save percentage (.762) and has 10 wins to his credit. Grisham is flanked by junior defender Zach Hill (Mount Sterling, Ky. / Montgomery Co.) and sophomore Jak Birdsong (Liberty Township, Ohio / Lakota East HS).
Transylvania is guided by sixth-year head coach Matt Vogel, a former All-American and HCAC Player of the Year for the Pioneers. Under Vogel, the Pioneers have a 3-3-2 record in HCAC postseason play.
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