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Men's Soccer Advances to NCAA Sweet 16

The men’s soccer team enjoyed a breakthrough season that saw the Pioneers not only win their first contest in an NCAA Division III national championship, but advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 before ending the year with a sparkling 15-3-3 overall record and an undefeated mark (7-0-1) in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season play.

As regular season HCAC champs, Transylvania hosted the conference tournament and defeated Hanover College 2-1 in overtime in the first round and Manchester College 2-1 in the finals to win the tourney and the right to represent the HCAC in the NCAA championship.

The Pioneers eliminated Ohio Wesleyan College in the NCAA first round, played on Wesleyan’s home field in Delaware, by winning a 6-5 penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 tie in regulation play and two overtime periods. They faced John Carroll University in the second round and also needed a penalty kick win, this time by 4-3, to advance after a scoreless tie in regulation and another two overtime periods.

The Pioneers arrived in St. Louis for the NCAA third round confident they could keep their season alive, but fell 1-0 to No. 20 Washington University in a contest that Transy head coach Brandon Bowman felt could have gone either way.

“I was very proud of the way we competed,” Bowman said. “It’s tough playing on the other team’s home field, but with a break here or there, we could have gotten the win. We came up just short, but we’ll learn from this and be better prepared for next season.”

Matt Vogel
Senior defender Matt Vogel

Transy was ranked as high as No. 22 in the nation during a season that continued the Pioneer’s dynasty in the HCAC. Since joining the conference seven years ago, the Pioneers have lost just one conference tournament game and two regular season contests. Transy’s two out-of-conference regular season losses this year were by identical 1-0 scores on the road to Wilmington College and Maryville College.

Bowman was named co-Coach of the Year in the HCAC, his third such award, after leading the Pioneers into the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year.

Matt Vogel, a senior defender from Lexington, was named co-Player of the Year in the conference. He keyed a powerful Transy defense that allowed only seven goals for the season. Transy posted 11 shutouts, never allowed more than one goal in a game, and ranked third in the nation in goals against average at 0.38. Vogel was also named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s All Great Lakes Region first team and to the All-America third team by that association and by D3kicks.com.

Four teammates joined Vogel on the All-HCAC first team, including senior defender Ryan Dale and senior midfielder Andrew Zemanski, who tied for the team scoring lead with seven goals. Junior midfielder Ryan Wood scored four goals, while first-year forward Stu Hampson led the team in scoring with seven goals and five assists for 19 points. Wood was an HCAC Player of the Week, as were junior midfielder Corey Dillow and first-year forward Tony Spero.

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