Men's tennis projected to earn third straight top three finish in HCAC

Dakota Smith


GREENWOOD, Ind. – With back-to-back top three finishes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings, the league's head coaches have predicted similar results for the Hanover men's tennis team in the spring of 2018.

The Panthers received 66 points in the 2018 HCAC Preseason Poll, which was good enough for third overall. Rose-Hulman (76) and Earlham (74), the top two teams in the poll, tallied all eight first place votes with five and three, respectively.

Rounding out the rest of the preseason poll was Franklin (55), Manchester (45), Defiance (40), Mt. St. Joseph (30) and Transylvania (30). Hanover's third place pick is their second in as many years and marks the third straight season they have been picked inside the top four.

Hanover will be under the guidance of first year head coach Eric LaRue, who helped guide the Panther women to HCAC regular season and tournament titles in the fall. The men are 0-2 on the young season, but both losses came to NCAA Division II or NAIA institutions.

The Panthers have tied or finished better than their predicted placement in each of the last three seasons, including a second place mark after being picked fourth in 2015-16. The squad finished third last year, which is where they were picked.

Hanover has four players returning this season that have all-conference accolades, including junior Brent Barrett (New Palestine, Ind.) and sophomore Landon Carrico (New Albany, Ind.), who are the HCAC's last two Freshman of the Year winners. Joining those two will be senior Dakota Smith (Greenfield, Ind.) and junior Alec Bates (New Albany, Ind.).

The Blue and Red will continue their tough opening stretch to start the 2017-18 season by traveling to face NCAA Division II Bellarmine (Ky.) at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 10.

Contact: Tyler Jester