Kyle Smith '14
Men’s soccer wins HCAC, plays in NCAA championship
The men’s soccer team capped an outstanding season by winning the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament and claiming the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championship.
The Pioneers were 16-2-2 under head coach Brandon Bowman, including an 8-0-1 league record that tied Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for the season crown. After a mid-September 2-0 loss on the road to Ohio Northern University, Transylvania went 13-0-1 in the heart of the season, the only blemish being a two-overtime tie (2-2) with Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute.
Transylvania clinched its share of the title in its final regular season game when it drilled home four second-half goals in a 4-0 road win over Bluffton University.
Transylvania polished off Franklin College 3-0 in the HCAC tournament semifinals, then cruised past Anderson University 4-1 in the finals. The Pioneers journeyed to Illinois to take on Wheaton University in the NCAA first round, where they lost to the Thunder 3-0 to end their season.
Junior forward Kyle Smith was named Offensive Most Valuable Player in the HCAC, and was joined on the All-HCAC first team by junior midfielder Taylor Ballard. A trio of juniors—defenders Robbie Gorham and Evan Sizemore and midfielder Christian King—won honorable mention.
Smith had 18 goals for the season to lead the conference and was tied with King for third in assists. He also won first-team All-Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Ballard helped anchor a defense that permitted only 14 goals.