Pioneers men's soccer advances into first HCAC title match since 2014

Transy 1 Manchester 0

Lexington, Ky. – The No. 1 seed Transylvania men's soccer team claimed a 1-0 victory over the No. 4 seed Manchester University Spartans at Pat Deacon Stadium on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. 

With tonight's win, the Pioneers now move into the HCAC Championship game on Saturday, November 4. The win propels Transylvania to a record of 16-1 overall, and 9-1 against HCAC opponents in 2017. 

The Pioneers jumped out to an early lead when a beautiful setup pass from senior midfielder Jacob Gantt found the foot of freshman forward Griffin Lamb, whose strike put the Pioneers on top 1-0 with 25 minutes to play in the first half. Lamb's goal would prove to be a valuable commodity as the game progressed. 

Following the goal from Lamb, the two teams traded possessions and scoring opportunities. But both defenses held strong and the Pioneers clung to the 1-0 lead going into the halftime break.

The second half proved to be a back-and-forth affair as the Spartans and Pioneers combined for 19 shots over the final 45 minutes. Even with the influx of offensive opportunities, the Pioneers' ever-reliable defense held strong and Transylvania claimed the hotly-contested 1-0 victory.

The duo of Pioneer goalkeepers Drew Grisham and Chandler Gaunce combined to record six saves as they earned the Pioneers' 11th shutout of the season in the victory.

With the win, the Pioneers earned a measure of redemption in beating Manchester, the sole team to hand the Pioneers a loss in their 2017 campaign.

Next up, the Pioneers will turn their attention to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers, who they will face in the HCAC championship game on Saturday, November 4. The matchup between the Pioneers and the Fightin' Engineers is set for 7:00 p.m. at Pat Deacon Stadium.

Earlier in the season, Transylvania earned a 1-0 victory over Rose-Hulman when the Fightin' Engineers visited Lexington on September 30. A 60th minute strike from senior midfielder Riley Calhoon proved to be the difference in the teams' lone meeting prior to Saturday's match which will decide the conference recipient of the automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA Tournament.

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