November 5, 2013

Men's Soccer Tops Hanover for Spot in HCAC Title Match

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- With a convincing 3-0 victory over Hanover Tuesday, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's soccer team earned a spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's soccer championship match, set for Saturday against Transylvania.

The No. 2-seed Engineers (10-5-4) will take on the fourth-seeded Pioneers (12-4-3) in Saturday's title contest, set for 1 p.m. at the Intramural Field.

Rose-Hulman used two goals from senior Drew Belk (Jasper, Ind./Jasper) and another from sophomore Mike Smyser (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) to break open Tuesday's HCAC home semifinal match over the No.3-seeded Panthers and capture its 10th shutout of the season, tying a program record.

Smyser put the Engineers on the scoreboard first, sliding in from the right side to put the ball inside the right post in the 24th minute when Belk, after waiting for Hanover goalkeeper Trevor Korfhagen to come out to challenge, pushed the cross over from the left side.

Belk would add the match's second goal in the 63rd minute, taking a feed from sophomore Brent Kamer (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) in the right corner and beating his defender before sending the ball under the crossbar. The senior added one more in the 76th minute, finishing a cross from senior teammate Max Brown (Atlanta, Ga./Chamblee Charter) to make the final score.

Rose-Hulman junior keeper Drew Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Bishop Fenwick) stopped six shots on the night, including a stellar diving save with the game still scoreless in the 20th minute.

The Engineers outshot the Panthers by a slim margin, 10-9, and held a 5-3 advantage on corner kicks.

Rose-Hulman will meet Transylvania in Saturday's title match after the Pioneers came away with a victory at top-seeded Earlham earlier Tuesday afternoon. After playing regulation and two overtimes to a 1-1 draw, Transy beat the Quakers 4-2 on penalty kicks to advance to its second-straight championship match and its 11th trip in 12 seasons.

The Pioneers won the title in 2012, defeating Anderson, 4-1.

For Rose-Hulman, Saturday marks the fourth trip to the HCAC title match, with the Engineers last appearance coming on 2011, when they defeated Earlham for the championship. Rose-Hulman and Transylvania tied in their only meeting this season, 1-1 in two overtimes, in Lexington, Ky.

Live stats will be available for Saturday's match, along with live Twitter coverage at @NicoleWatkinsRH and @rhitsports.

Live stats: