Panthers prep for final week of regular season

Team huddle

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College men's tennis team will look to secure a spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with four matches during the final week of the regular season.

SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers (6-6, 3-1 HCAC) will open the stretch with away contests at Anderson and Mt. St. Joseph on Monday and Tuesday, April 22 and 23. Hanover closes the regular season with a pair of home matches Saturday, April 27. The Blue and Red play Manchester at 11 a.m. before welcoming Rose-Hulman for a 2 p.m. match.

A LOOK AT THE STANDINGS: Hanover enters the week as one of four teams in the HCAC with one or fewer losses. Rose-Hulman is 5-0 in league play, while Franklin (4-1) and Earlham (3-1) match HC with one conference setback. The Panthers can secure a bid to their fourth straight HCAC Tournament with one win during the final week of the regular season.

LAST WEEK RECAP: The Blue and Red were off for an entire week but are coming off a 3-0 stretch prior to final exam week at the College. Hanover defeated Transylvania 5-4 before earning 9-0 decisions against Defiance and Franklin. During the span, HC went 7-2 in doubles matches and 16-2 in singles competition. Junior Landon Carrico (New Albany, Ind.) went a combined 5-1 in doubles and singles play, including an unblemished 3-0 mark at No. 2 singles. Carrico lost just two games over six sets in solo action.

SINGLES STREAKS: A pack of Panthers enter the week with at least a three-game winning streak in singles competition. Carrico is currently riding a six-match winning streak and is 8-3 in singles play this season. Sophomore Jed Fajt (Greencastle, Ind.) has won four straight singles appearances and is 3-1 in HCAC matches. Freshmen Keith Asplund (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and Jalen Simmons (Indianapolis, Ind.) have each won three straight. Asplund is 7-4 on the season, while Simmons is 3-1. The duo is a combined 4-1 in league matches.

DOUBLES DOMINANCE: The duo of Asplund and freshman Pablo Gallart (Serra, Spain) lead the Panthers with a 4-2 record. The freshmen have won three straight outings and are 2-1 in HCAC competition. Carrico and classmate Jonathan Helmers (Cincinnati, Ohio) are 3-3 overall and 2-2 in league play. Competing in the top spot, sophomore Roger Trombley (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and freshman Connor Garrison (Louisville, Ky.) have won two straight to improve to 3-2 this season.

THE COMPETITION: Hanover opens the week at Anderson, who is 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the HCAC. The Ravens are just 1-4 at home this season. The Panthers have won 10 straight against AU, including an 8-1 decision in 2017.

Mt. St. Joseph enters the week at 0-3 overall and in league play. The Lions have dropped three straight to the Panthers, all of which have been by a score of 9-0.

Hanover's first opponent at home, Manchester, is 4-8 overall and 2-5 in the HCAC. The Spartans have lost four of their last five, but did defeat MSJ last time out, 7-2. The Panthers have won three consecutive meetings with MU.

Rose-Hulman, the preseason HCAC favorite, is 5-0 in league competition and 9-9 overall. The Fightin' Engineers need one win in the final week to secure at least a share of its fifth straight regular season conference title. Rose-Hulman has won the last 13 matches against HC and is 13-1 versus the Panthers since joining the HCAC in 2006-07.

Contact: Tyler Jester