Transy Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Win HCLC Championship; Advance to NCAA Tournament

Image Credit: Transylvania University

Within a span of six days, both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams for the Transylvania Pioneers won their respective Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference Tournaments. Transy Men’s Lacrosse clinched the championship with a 27-4 win over the Hanover College Panthers on April 27th, and Women’s Lacrosse earned the title with a 19-4 victory over the Anderson University Ravens on May 3rd. With their respective wins, both teams clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

The Pioneer Men’s Lacrosse finished the regular season with a 9-6 overall record and a perfect 5-0 record in the HCLC, earning the top seed in the conference tournament. On April 24th, the Pioneers faced the number four-seeded Earlham College Quakers in the semifinal round. The Pioneers made light work of the Quakers, holding a 71 to 6 shot advantage, forcing 46 Earlham turnovers, and holding the Quakers scoreless until the fourth quarter as the Pioneers cruised to a 24-1 victory. The Pioneers would advance to the championship game the following Saturday to face number two-seeded Hanover College. Transy came out of the gate firing, scoring 10 goals in the first period and adding on 6 more before the half while holding the Panthers to only 2 goals. This lead would only grow as twelve separate Pioneers would score and Transy would take home a commanding 27-4 victory, the most goals scored in a game by the Pioneers since 2019. With the win, Transylvania Men’s Lacrosse secured their first conference title since 2021. In addition, the Pioneers swept the HCLC season awards, with Freshman Attacker Kade Kruger winning Offensive Player of the Year, Junior Defender Ben Marcum winning Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman Goalie Ben Pund winning Newcomer of the Year, and Logan Otto winning Coach of the Year. Several other Pioneers were named to the HCLC All-Conference Teams, with ten of the fourteen slots on the All-Conference First Team being taken up by Transylvania Players. 

At the same time as men’s lacrosse, Transylvania Women’s Lacrosse also secured a perfect 5-0 record in the HCLC to earn the number one seed in the conference tournament. Transylvania earned a bye with the number one seed, automatically advancing to the championship game to face the number two-seeded Anderson University Ravens. Less than a week before the championship game on May 3rd, the Pioneers had dismantled the Ravens 21-8 in the final game of the regular season, and the championship would be no different. A relatively close 4-1 Pioneer advantage through the first quarter would turn into a rout with 9 uncontested goals by Transylvania in the second quarter. The Pioneers would only allow 4 goals despite their starting goalie being unavailable, with Senior Defender Grace Smilek and Junior Libby Bringard, who serves as goalkeeper for Transy Field Hockey, serving as emergency goalkeepers and both racking up multiple saves, as Transy would easily secure a 19-4 victory. With the win, the Pioneers would clinch the HCLC Tournament title for the sixth year in a row. Several Pioneers were named to the All-Tournament Team, including Junior Midfielders Charlotte Green and Diana Bruder, Freshman Attacker Sofie Garrett, and 5th Year Attacker Sophia Sparks. This was in addition to several regular season honors earned by the Pioneers, with Green earning Offensive Player of the Year, Junior Defender Macy Hobbs-Powell winning Defensive Player of the Year, and eight Pioneers being named to the All-Conference First Team. 

With their respective wins, both Transylvania Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse earned automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Men’s Lacrosse will kick off the NCAA Tournament by traveling to Lake Forest, Illinois to take on the Lake Forest College Foresters, champions of the Midwest Lacrosse Conference, on May 8th. Women’s Lacrosse will return to a familiar destination, the Lexington, Virginia campus of Washington and Lee University, where they have traveled for the past two NCAA tournaments. The Pioneers will face the Rhodes College Lynx, a team they have already faced in a loss earlier this year, on May 11th. The winner of that match will face the hometown Washington and Lee University Tridents in the second round.