Meeting with No. 23 Sewanee headlines Kentucky trip for men's tennis

Jonathan Helmers

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's tennis team will compete in its first official matches of the spring this week with two contests at the Top Seed Tennis Club.

SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers, who opened the spring with an exhibition against nationally-ranked, NCAA Division II Indianapolis, will travel south to Nicholasville, Ky. to face Midway (Ky.) and Sewanee (Tenn.) this week. Hanover opens the stretch at 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, against Midway, who is a scholarship-based institution from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The week concludes against No. 23 Sewanee at 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16.

PANTHERS PICKED THIRD IN HCAC POLL: The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference recently released its preseason coaches poll for the 2019 season, as the Panthers were picked third. In the nine-team ranking, Hanover accumulated 71 total points. Defending champion, Rose-Hulman, was once again tabbed the favorite, tallying eight first place votes and 89 total points. Earlham was second with 81 points and the remaining first place vote. The full preseason poll can be found here.

FALL RECAP: A weather-shortened fall campaign saw the Blue and Red compete in just one head-to-head match, a 9-0 triumph over Oakland City (Ind.). Hanover shutout the Mighty Oaks in eight of the 13 sets played. Four players – junior Martin Zarate (San Miguel De Tucuman, Argentina), junior Jonathan Helmers (Cincinnati, Ohio), sophomore Roger Trombley (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and freshman Keith Asplund (Jeffersonville, Ind.) – won singles and doubles matches versus OCU.

The Panthers also sent a select number of athletes to the highly-competitive Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Regional meet. Freshman Pablo Gallart (Serra, Spain) highlighted play with an upset win in the opening round of his singles draw.

TOUGH SPRING STRETCH: Hanover has setup a challenging start to its spring slate, which began with the exhibition against UIndy. Over the next month, HC will also face scholarship-based institutions Midway, Davenport (Mich.) and Bellarmine (Ky.), a nationally-ranked Sewanee squad, as well as tough opponents in Augustana (Ill.) and St. Mary's (Minn.).

SCOUTING MIDWAY: The Eagles enter competition this week with a 3-1 overall record, with all four matches coming in the fall. Midway has wins over Shawnee State (5-0), Oakland City (9-0) and Kentucky Wesleyan (9-0), while falling to Wittenberg, 5-3. The Eagles went 8-11 last season en route to a River States Conference (RSC) Tournament semifinal appearance.

SCOUTING SEWANEE: The Tigers will be competing in their first head-to-head matches this Saturday, a day they are currently slated to appear in three contests. Sewanee will face Transylvania and Hanover at Top Seed Tennis Club, while also hosting Tennessee Wesleyan. The Tigers lone competition in the fall was the ITA Atlantic South Regional, which they combined for 51 victories over three days. Sewanee is currently ranked No. 23 in ITA's national poll for Division III and is coming off a 22-6 campaign in 2017-18, which was good enough for their 10th NCAA National Tournament appearance since 2000.

UP NEXT: Hanover will trek to Orlando, Fla. for three matches during the school's annual Winter Break. The Panthers open the stretch Sunday, Feb. 24, against Augustana. Matches with Davenport and St. Mary's occur the following two days and all three contests will have a 6 p.m. start at the USTA National Training Center.

Contact: Tyler Jester