Panthers open season with 9-0 victory over Oakland City

Keith Asplund

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's tennis team opened the 2018-19 season in style Thursday evening, defeating Oakland City (Ind.) at home, 9-0.

Hanover picked up its third season-opening victory in the past four years, and its first 9-0 decision in an opener since the 2016-17 campaign. With the loss, the Mighty Oaks falls to 1-4 overall.

The Panthers, who featured a total of five newcomers in the lineup Thursday, cruised during doubles play, taking all three matches by a count of 8-0. Junior Martin Zarate (San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina) and freshman Keith Asplund (Jeffersonville, Ind.) blanked their OCU opponents in the top spot during their HC debuts. Zarate went on to take the No. 1 singles match 6-2, 6-0, while Asplund tallied a 6-0, 6-0 decision at No. 2.

A pair of returners, junior Jonathan Helmers (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Roger Trombley (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), competed in the No. 2 doubles match. With the team decision already accounted for, Helmers and Trombley also added 8-0, pro-set victories at No. 5 and 6 singles, respectively.

The third doubles duo of sophomore Jed Fajt (Greencastle, Ind.) and freshman Jalen Simmons (Indianapolis, Ind.) picked up their first win of the season as well. Neither player competed in singles competition Thursday evening.

Rounding out the Panthers' singles lineup were freshmen Pablo Gallart Polo (Serra, Spain) and Connor Garrison (Louisville, Ky.) at the No. 3 and 4 spots, respectively. Gallart won 6-1, 6-1 in his collegiate debut, while Gibson's first career collegiate match ended in his favor, 6-1, 6-2.

With the win, Hanover has now defeated Oakland City three times in the 2018 calendar year for a combined score of 25-2. Dating back to last spring, HC has also won nine of its last 10 overall outings.

The Panthers will break from dual play over the next few weeks and will next be in action Sept. 28 through 30 at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Championships. The individual-based tournament will feature some of the nation's best singles and doubles players and will be hosted by Washington University in St. Louis.

Contact: Tyler Jester