The Transylvania University men's soccer team has been picked to win its fourth consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in 2013.
The Pioneers led the 10-team league with 95 points in voting by the HCAC coaches. Transy received seven first-place votes.
Transylvania went 16-2-2 last season, winning their eighth HCAC title with an 8-0-1 record and winning the league tournament. Transy's season ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a 3-0 loss at Wheaton.
The Pioneers, led by 12th-year head coach Brandon Bowman, return a pair of first-team All-HCAC selections from their 2012 team. Senior midfielder Kyle Smith from Cincinnati was named the league's offensive MVP after leading the conference with 18 goals and 40 points. Senior back Taylor Ballard from Manual High School in Louisville netted four goals a year ago and will anchor the defense this fall. Transy also expects major contributions from senior back Evan Sizemore (Woodford County) and senior back Robbie Gorham.
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HCAC pre-season poll
As voted on by the league's coaches (first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Transylvania (7) 95
2. Rose-Hulman (2) 91
3. Anderson 73
4. Hanover (1) 68
5. Franklin 67
6. Earlham 47
7. Manchester 39
8. Defiance 33
9. Mount St. Joseph 24
10. Bluffton 13