Lexington, Ky. – Freshman forward Garrett Dean's 101st-minute golden goal delivered the Transylvania men's soccer team to its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in five years, defeating the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers 2-1 in double overtime Saturday night at Pat Deacon Stadium.
The mesmerizing victory punched Transylvania's ticket to the NCAA tournament as the Pioneers finished off a marvelous run in HCAC regular season and tournament play by seizing the conference's automatic bid.
It was Dean's electrifying goal that provided the trip into next weekend's NCAA Tournament first round early in double overtime against the Engineers.
The win moves Transylvania to a record of 17-1 overall and 10-1 versus HCAC opposition in 2017.
Saturday night's match provided the full catalogue expected out of a conference championship match as No. 1 seed Transy hosted No. 3 seed Rose-Hulman for their second meeting of 2017.
Unlike their Sept. 30 match at Pat Deacon Stadium, a 1-0 victory that went to the Pios, this match featured offensive momentum shifts that sent the crowd into endless waves of palpitations.
The Pioneers jumped out to an early lead when sophomore midfielder Alex Shkraba met a pass from freshman midfielder Griffin Lamb and pushed past Rose-Hulman goalkeeper Carter Wright to tap a shot into the open net, giving the Pioneers a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Later in the half, the Fightin' Engineers found the equalizer when a failed clearance from the Pioneers' defense led to a magnificent scoring strike from Rose-Hulman midfielder Michael Simmons that leveled the score at 1-1 going into the halftime break.
The teams traded jabs throughout the second half but neither side was able to record a go-ahead goal, and the teams headed into extra time with the score still knotted at 1-1.
After Engineers' defender Will McGowen received his second yellow card of the match in the 75th minute, the Pioneers received a boost, playing the remainder of the match with an 11-on-10 man advantage. While the Pioneers had several chances in the first overtime period, they were unable to capitalize and the game went to a second 10 minutes of extra time.
With a penalty kick shootout looming, the Pioneers found the winning touch when Dean fired a shot past the Rose-Hulman goalkeeper just seconds into the final overtime period, giving the Pioneers the thrilling 2-1 victory.
Transylvania sophomore goalkeeper Drew Grisham got the start in goal and recorded a save for the Pioneers before being relieved by fellow sophomore Chandler Gaunce who recorded two and achieved the victory for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers will discover their first round assignment and ensuing opponent as their NCAA pairing is announced during the tournament selection show on Monday afternoon, November 6, at 1:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
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