Grizzlies Named Co-Favorites to Win HCAC Women's Soccer Crown

Grizzlies Named Co-Favorites to Win HCAC Women's Soccer Crown

GREENWOOD, Ind. – For the first time in the history of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), there's a tie for the top spot in this year's preseason women's soccer coaches poll. One of those teams is the Franklin Grizzlies, whose 85 points gave them a share of the top spot with four-time defending league champion Hanover.

The Grizzlies turned in another sparkling season in 2016, going 16-4 and posting their second straight 8-1 record in league play. Franklin earned four of the nine first-place votes in the poll with five going to Hanover.

Franklin returns a bevy of players from last year's squad that led the HCAC in goals (69), goals per game (3.45), assists (50) and goals against average (0.795). Junior and reigning HCAC Offensive Player of the Year Maddie Fleet returns to lead the offense after burying a whopping 25 goals and adding 17 assists for 67 points last year. Senior midfielder Clare Lenart and sophomore forward Taylor McDaniel are also returning after posting nine-goal campaigns in 2016.

After winning the starting job as a true freshman, Lexi Short will be back between the pipes. The First Team All-HCAC selection went 11-3 with a 0.48 goals against average and eight shutouts in her debut campaign. She won't be alone in the back as senior defenders Jo List, Abby Stayer and Emily Stayer bring a wealth of experience to the Franklin back four.

Fleet, Lenart, Kelsey Brunsman and Jillian Lawrence were all named as players to watch by the league for the upcoming season.

Mt. St. Joseph comes in at third behind the co-favorites, earning 72 points. Rose-Hulman picked up the final first-place vote on their way to 69 points. Transylvania's 58 points slots them fifth and rounds out the top half of the table.

Anderson (51 pts), Manchester (41 pts), Earlham (39 pts), Defiance (29 pts) and Bluffton (21 pts) make up the rest of the rankings.

Kickoff for the 2017 season is set for Friday, Sept. 1 when the Grizzlies welcome Olivet to Faught Stadium. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m.

School (First Place Votes)

Points

1. Hanover (5)

85

    Franklin (4)

85

3. Mt. St. Joseph

72

4. Rose-Hulman (1)

69

5. Translyvania

58

6. Anderson

51

7. Manchester

41

8. Earlham

39

9. Defiance

29

10. Bluffton

21