INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Hanover College volleyball team has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. In a poll of the ten HCAC head coaches, the Panthers received a total of 91 points and three first place votes.
Transylvania University placed second in the poll with 90 points and four first place votes, while Bluffton University is picked to finish third in the conference standings this fall with 79 points and one first place vote. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (76 pts, two first place votes), Defiance College (56), Earlham College (48), Mount St. Joseph University (41), Manchester University (30), Franklin College (25), and Anderson University (14) round out the poll.
The Panthers are coming off of a 26-6 season and 9-0 conference record in 2017, handing the school's third straight HCAC regular season title. Hanover's season ended in the NCAA Regional Tournament with a 3-2 loss to Berry College last fall.
Hanover returns two All-HCAC selections to the lineup this fall. Senior Claire Dennis (Bloomington, Ind.) and senior Margo Main (Ann Arbor, Mich.) earned 1st Team All-HCAC accolades last season. Dennis contributed 2.14 kills per set, and saw action in 28 matches last year. The senior also posted 1.55 blocks per set and 97 total blocks in 2017. Main totaled 279 kills and averaged 2.45 kills per set last season for the Panthers. Hanover starts their season on August 31 in Westerville, Ohio at the Capital/Otterbein Classic.
Transylvania University finished in a three-way tie for second in the standings last season. The Pioneers ended their season with a 7-2 conference record and a 20-10 overall record. Transylvania returns the reigning HCAC Offensive Player of the Year and the HCAC Freshman of the Year from last season. Junior setter Hannah Talkers (Villa Hills, Ky.) recorded 982 assists and 9.26 assists per set during her sophomore campaign. Sophomore middle blocker Ellie Stigger (Louisville, Ky.) totaled 89 blocks for 0.84 blocks per set in her freshman season. Also returning for the Pioneers is 1st Team All-HCAC seclection Jordan Horne (Louisville, Ky.). The junior right side hitter played in 106 sets for the Pioneers posting a total 346 kills and averaged 3.26 kills per set. Transylvania begins their season at home on August 31 at the Transy Invitational.
Bluffton University finished in a three-way tie for second in the standings last season with a 7-2 conference mark and a 19-11 record overall. The Beavers ended their season with a 3-1 loss to Hanover in the semifinal match of the HCAC Tournament. The Beavers return two 1st Team All-HCAC honorees from last season's squad. Senior setter Erin Weisbarger (Bolivar, Ohio) earned All-HCAC honors last fall after posting 9.37 assists per set and 310 digs last season. Senior outside hitter Bethany Martini (Pickerington, Ohio) also returns for Bluffton after leading the league with 463 kills and 4.25 kills per set during the 2017 season. Bluffton kicks their season off at the Ohio Northern Tournament in Ada, Ohio on August 31.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished in a three-way tie for second in the standings last season with a 7-2 conference mark and a 20-12 record overall. The Fightin' Engineers ended their season with a 3-0 loss to Hanover in the championship match of the HCAC Tournament. The Engineers return 1st Team All-HCAC selection Bailey MacInnis (Boulder, Colo.) from last season's team. The junior outside hitter racked up 3.32 kills per set with a total of 372 kills in 32 matches for the 2017 season. Rose-Hulman kicks their season off at the University of Chicago Invitational on August 31.
The 2018 volleyball season is scheduled to open on August 31 with HCAC play beginning September 22.
Players to Watch
|Manchester||Anna Marie Lawrie||Junior||DS/L|