TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's soccer team has been picked to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, in a preseason poll of league coaches released August 18.
Rose-Hulman is coming off of its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2015. The Fightin' Engineers finished 13-2-6 overall and received nine of 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll.
Head coach Sean Helliwell, the 2015 HCAC Coach of the Year, returns 10 starters from last year's squad, including 2015 HCAC Defensive Most Valuable Player in senior Nick Kowalkowski. The returnees also include 2015 HCAC Freshman of the Year Erik Eksten. Offensively, all-conference returnees Alex Jansen, Ben Lyon and Austin Webb combined for 22 goals last season.
The Fightin' Engineers have a challening non-conference schedule with three opponents - Wheaton, DePauw, and Chicago - all ranked in the preseason national top 25 poll. For this senior class, if they are able to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament, it would mark the first time in school history that a class has gone to the NCAA Tournament four consecutive years.
Hanover was picked to finish second in the HCAC followed by Transylvania, Franklin and Earlham. Manchester was picked to finish sixth, followed by Anderson, Mount St. Joseph, Defiance and Bluffton.
The Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers will open the 2016 regular season on Thursday September 1 at 7:30 when they host Principia.
2016 HCAC MEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
|Finish||Team||First Place Votes||2015 Overall Record||2015 HCAC Record|
|8||Mount St. Joseph||34||7-9-2||1-6-2|