INDIANAPOLIS – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference head coaches have once again picked Hanover men's tennis to finish near the top of the league standings, as the Panthers placed third in the preseason poll that was released Friday afternoon.
The Blue and Red were picked third in the preseason prognosis for the third consecutive year and earned their fourth straight top four prediction as well. Hanover received 71 points in the 2019 edition.
The nine-team poll was led by defending HCAC champion, Rose-Hulman. The Fightin' Engineers tallied eight first place votes and 89 total points. Earlham garnered the remaining first place vote en route to accumulating 81 total points.
Transylvania and Franklin tied for fourth with 53 points apiece. Manchester (50), Anderson (39), Defiance (31) and Mt. St. Joseph (19) rounded out the remainder of the poll.
The Panthers are currently in Year Two of the Eric LaRue era. In LaRue's inaugural campaign with the Blue and Red, HC produced a 12-11 overall record, including a 5-2 mark in HCAC play. Hanover was picked to finish third in the league standings prior to the 2017-18 campaign, which is where they finished en route to their third consecutive HCAC Tournament semifinal appearance.
A weather-shortened fall slate has the Panthers at 1-0 this season, which includes a 9-0 triumph over Oakland City (Ind.). Hanover also had a select number of athletes compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Region Championship this past fall.
The Blue and Red have the luxury of returning two-time all-HCAC selection Landon Carrico (New Albany, Ind.) this spring. A trio of newcomers, Martin Zarate (San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina), Keith Asplund (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and Pablo Gallart (Serra, Spain) joined Carrico on the HCAC's watchlist for this season as well.
Hanover opened its spring slate with an exhibition against NCAA Division II, nationally-ranked University of Indianapolis. The Panthers first official match of the spring will come Thursday, Feb. 14, with a neutral site contest against Midway (Ky.). The 4 p.m. match is scheduled to take place in Nicholasville, Ky. at Top Seed Tennis Club.
Contact: Tyler Jester