Tribune-Star staff report
TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman has been picked as the preseason favorite to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, according to a preseason league coaches poll released Wednesday.
Rose received three first-place votes to earn a 87-86 points advantage over Hanover, which received four first-place votes.
Defiance was picked to finish third in the preseason poll with 78 points and two first-place votes, with Mount St. Joseph selected fourth with 64.
Transylvania received the remaining first place vote and was picked fifth with 62 points. Franklin, Bluffton, Manchester, Anderson and Earlham round out the poll.
The Engineers also have been ranked No. 20 nationally in the DIII News preseason national poll and senior Julian Strickland earned “Top 24” honors from DIII News.
In addition, the Sporting News College Basketball Yearbook touted Rose-Hulman as a “possible breakthrough” team and listed Strickland as an honorable mention All-American.
Rose has qualified for two consecutive NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournaments after capturing two consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament titles. The Engineers were ranked as high as No. 18 nationally last season, led NCAA Division III in scoring defense by allowing just 51.8 points per game and hosted their first NCAA tournament game since 1997.
Rose-Hulman also finished 24-4 last season to tie the most wins and fewest losses in a season in program history.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers will open their season with a scrimmage against Indiana State at 2:05 p.m. Sunday in Hulman Center.
HCAC men’s preseason coaches poll
Team (first place votes) Points
1. Rose-Hulman (3) 87
2. Hanover (4) 86
3. Defiance (2) 78
4. Mount St. Joseph 64
5. Transylvania (1) 62
6. Franklin 53
7. Bluffton 48
8. Manchester 29
9. Anderson 23
10. Earlham 20
• Rose-Hulman 3, Franklin 0 — At Franklin, Rose-Hulman clinched a bid to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament with a 25-23, 25-23, 25-23 victory over Franklin on Wednesday night.
With this victory, the Engineers (14-17 overall, 4-4 HCAC) clinched one of six spots for the league tournament regardless of potential tiebreakers.
Sophomore Sarah Jensen narrowly missed a triple-double with 14 kills, 13 assists and nine digs to lead the Engineers. Freshman Katelyn Race added 12 kills and freshman Morgan Dreyer helped propel the offense with 30 assists.
Senior Kate Dangel led the Engineers in two statistical categories with 27 digs and three service aces.
Franklin was eliminated from conference tournament contention and dropped to 14-14 overall and 2-6 in league play.
Rose will play host to Manchester in its Senior Day match at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Engineers will honor Dangel, Fiutem and Casey Levitt before the final regular-season home match.
• Earlham 1, Rose-Hulman 0 — At Richmond, Earlham’s goal in the 59th minute ended up being the only offense in an important Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s matchup Wednesday as the Quakers handed Rose-Hulman its first conference loss of the season.
The Quakers’ (10-8, 6-2 HCAC) Ameer Yusuf struck for his ninth goal of the season via an assist from Michael Nsoesie early in the second half to break a scoreless tie. Despite outshooting the Quakers 11-10, the Engineers were unable to connect for a score.
The Engineers (8-5-4, 5-1-2 HCAC) now need a win or draw in their final regular-season match against Manchester on Saturday to clinch a bid into the four-team HCAC tournament, set to begin Tuesday.
Junior keeper Drew Miller stopped five Earlham shots in Wednesday’s setback and teammate Will Senat led Rose in shots with four.
The Engineers will host their Senior Day — honoring Senat, Drew Belk, Mike Schiff, Alec Houpt, Marshall Ishmael, Spencer Johnson, John Munson, Max Brown and Ben Green — against Manchester (3-12-2, 2-6) at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Intramural Field.
• Mackinson honored — Indiana State senior Loni Mackinson and Loyola Chicago’s Nick Miller have been selected Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Week, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced Wednesday.
The two were honored for their performances during the period of Oct. 21-27.
Now in its 15th year of existence, The Valley’s Scholar-Athlete program honors its student-athletes for their athletic performance for a one-week period and academic success in the classroom.
Mackinson was instrumental in a pair of home volleyball wins for the Sycamores this past week, recording 44 set assists as ISU defeated Saint Louis 3-2 on Tuesday and accumulating a season-high 53 set assists as the Sycamores knocked off Illinois State 3-1 on Friday.
Mackinson’s 97 assists on the week moves her to 2,136 for her career, which ranks eighth on the university’s all-time list and is the most assists for a Sycamore under the current scoring system. The senior also had a kill, two service aces, 21 digs, and a block for the week. Mackinson is a baccalaureate nursing major with a 3.54 grade-point average.
Mackinson is only the second Sycamore volleyball player to earn the award, with Stacy Qualizza being honored on Nov. 11, 2010. She also is the first ISU athlete to receive the award for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Miller’s performance at the Illini Open on Oct. 25 helped the Loyola men’s cross country squad secure the team championship. The sophomore completed the 8k course in 25:48.