Carmel, Ind. – Transylvania men's soccer freshman striker Mitchell Crispin was named the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year on Wednesday, headlining a list of eight All-Conference awardees from the Transylvania men's soccer team.
Announced by the conference office on Wednesday, Crispin, a freshman from Cleveland, Tennessee (McCallie HS), led a group of three Pioneers who made All-HCAC First Team billing, including senior striker Charlie Wend (Hebron, Ky. / Conner HS) and junior defender Zach Hill (Mt. Sterling, Ky. / Montgomery County HS).
Five more Pioneer student-athletes joined the three in achieving postseason conference accolades with selections to the All-HCAC Second Team: junior midfielder Garrett Dean (Harrodsburg, Ky. / Mercer County HS), senior striker Alex Shkraba (Mt. Sterling, Ky. / Montgomery County HS), sophomore defender Jak Birdsong (Liberty Township, Ohio / Lakota East HS), senior midfielder Caswell Fuller (Mt. Sterling, Ky. / Montgomery County HS) and senior goalkeeper Drew Grisham (Mason, Ohio / Mason HS.
Crispin had a rousing debut year for the Pioneers, finishing the year ranked both third in the HCAC in goals with eight and assists with seven. Crispin finished the year second in the conference in points with 23 total as he sparked the Pioneers' offense during conference play. During the season, Crispin posted three multi-goal games and delivered two game-winning goals as the Pioneers put together a record of 10-8 overall and 7-2 in the HCAC to finish third on the regular-season conference table. Crispin established his role as both playmaker and scorer with a career-high three assists on October 26 in a 6-0 win against Bluffton.
Wend finished his final season with the Pioneers as the second-leading scorer on the team and finished sixth in the HCAC in goals with seven. Wend added four assists to finish with 18 points on the year, which also ranked sixth in conference. The senior had three multi-goal games this season and two game-winning goals.
Hill earned his second straight selection to the All-HCAC First Team as a key component of the Pioneer backline. The junior started and appeared in 17 matches, anchoring a defense that registered eight shutouts on the season, including six in HCAC regular-season play. Hill also registered one goal and three assists on the season to provide versatility all over the pitch.
Dean tallied three goals on the season for Transylvania, including one game-winner on October 5 at Anderson in the HCAC opener. Shkraba was third on the Pioneers in goals with five this season and finished his final collegiate campaign with 11 points. Birdsong teamed with Hill on the backline to form one of the strongest defensive backlines in the HCAC and added two points and one game-winning goal in 2019. Fuller earned his fourth consecutive All-HCAC selection, offering all-around production and support as the central point of the Pioneer XI. Grisham completed a storied four-year career in goal for Transylvania with 63 saves and a 1.26 goals-allowed average, making 16 starts in 18 appearances.
The Pioneers completed the 2019 season last week in the semifinal of the HCAC Tournament semifinals. Transylvania produced a 10-8 overall record and finished 7-2 in HCAC regular-season play to take third place in the conference under sixth-year head coach Matt Vogel.
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