HANOVER, Ind. – With the start of the 2019-20 season upon us, we take an in depth look into the Hanover men's tennis team and where they rank among the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The Panthers are coming off their fourth consecutive season with a winning record as well as fourth straight visit to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals. Under the guidance of head coach Eric Larue, the Panthers have concluded the regular season placed third or better, including a third place mark a season ago.
The Blue and Red return a slew of talent for the upcoming campaign including four First Team All-HCAC selections in senior Landon Carrico (New Albany, Ind.), sophomore Pablo Gallart (Serra, Spain), senior Jonathan Helmers (Cincinnati, Ohio), and sophomore Keith Asplund (Jeffersonville, Ind.).
A three-time first team selection, Carrico returns as one of the team's top singles players. The senior enters the 2020 campaign with a 39-20 overall singles record, including a 9-1 mark at No. 2 singles. Last season, Carrico posted a 12-3 record with a perfect 7-0 HCAC mark at No. 2 singles.
Gallart, in his first year in a Panther uniform, made his name known posting a 4-4 overall record at No. 1 singles while dominating No. 3 doubles with a 7-3 overall mark. Gallart and Asplund appeared to be the dynamic duo as they tallied seven straight regular season victories, including a 6-1 mark in regular season HCAC action.
Asplund, the sophomore phenom, dominated No. 3 singles play for the Blue and Red stringing together six straight wins including a victory at No. 2 singles against Manchester. He finished the year 10-5 overall with a 10-6 mark in doubles play.
Helmers, one of two seniors on the squad this season, has tallied a career 27-28 singles record including an impressive 8-3 mark at No. 6 singles. In the 2018-19 he posted his best singles record to date at 9-5 overall with a perfect mark at No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles, respectively.
Also returning for Hanover is junior Jed Fajt (Greencastle, Ind.), junior Roger Trombley (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), sophomore Connor Garrison (Louisville, Ky.), and sophomore Jalen Simmons (Indianapolis, Ind.).
Fajt has been a key component of the Panther squad leading the team in singles action with an overall record of 14-5 with a majority of the victories coming at No. 5 singles. Teammates, Trombley and Garrison have teamed up to own doubles play winning six straight regular season matches as the No. 1 duo for Hanover. Rounding out the Panther roster is Simmons who concluded the 2019 campaign on a four-match win streak.
Entering the 2020 season, the Blue and Red are projected second behind 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Champion Rose-Hulman with eight first place votes. The Panthers finished with 65 points, while Earlham took the third spot with 63 points and Anderson the fourth-place mark with 53 points and the final first place vote.
The Panthers are scheduled to open HCAC play on March 28 with Anderson.
2020 Men's Tennis Preason Poll
|Rank||Institution||Pts. (1st Votes)|
|1.||Rose-Hulman||78 pts. (8)|
|4.||Anderson||53 pts. (1)|
|9.||Mt. St. Joseph||18 pts.|