The Lions open up their post season this Tuesday, October 30th with a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference semi-finals matchup against Transylvania University. The Lions finished the season with a record of 14-2-3 and a conference record of 7-1-1. This would set the Lions up for a 2nd place finish in the HCAC, trailing behind Hanover College at 1st and followed by Transylvania University in 3rd and Anderson University in 4th.
The Lions last played Transylvania University on Wednesday, October 10th and narrowly defeated the Pioneers 3-2 in a close match. The score was knotted for most of the match but Paige Mersmann (Florence, KY / Boone County) scored the game winning goal for the Lions in the 87th minute. The Lions would go onto win 4 out of their next five matchups to solidify themselves in the HCAC Tournament. This is the fourth year in a row that the Lions have made the HCAC tournament.
The Lions have been very successful on the field due to many factors. The Lions defense has kept opposing defenses on their heels all season. Taylor Murphy (Batavia, OH / Batavia) continues to be a key player on the defensive end at the Mount and looks to step up when the time comes. Madeline Rechel (Harrison, Ohio / Harrison) has become a versatile player for the Lions this season. She has scored four goals, assisted on seven goals, and was a main piece in the Lions strong defense. The Lions starting goalie Maddie Muterspaw (Middletown, OH / Middletown) was outstanding during the year, only allowing 9 goals while in the net. Due to injury, Muterspaw will be replaced by freshman Megan Gilpin (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Bishop Luers) who started in five matches during the season. Defense will be a vital part in the match against Transylvania due to both teams' offensive capabilities.
Another factor to the Lions success is has been multiple key offensive players stepping up. Kaylan Gruber (Harrison, OH / Harrison) has been outstanding on offense all year for the Lions, using her speed to fly past defenders. She is currently second in the HCAC in goals scored with 15 goals and second in points with 35. Freshman Etelle Nfor (Frankfort, Ky / Western Hills) has already made an impact on the Lions successful season, scoring eight goals and assisting on seven of the Lions goals in her first year. Jodie Weimer (Cleves, OH / Taylor) has improved her play in her second year at the Mount. She is currently fifth in the HCAC in goals scored with 10 and fourth in points with 26.
Coach Josh Hess is excited to be in the postseason yet again. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to host another tournament match at home. We have had a great year and it's given us the opportunity to play for an HCAC championship and possible trip to the NCAA tournament. Transylvania has had a great year and have shown throughout the season that they are talented and very dangerous. Our first match was incredibly challenging and we expect the same this time. We want to make sure that our players are ready and prepared to play but also enjoy the opportunity to participate in another meaningful match."
In this matchup against the Pioneers expect both teams to come out with intensity. The winner of this match with face the winner of the Hanover Panthers and Anderson Ravens on Saturday, November 3rd. Make sure to visit Schueler Field this Tuesday, October 30th at 7PM to cheer on the Lions in the HCAC Tournament!