INDIANAPOLIS – The Hanover women's lacrosse team has been picked as one of the favorites to win the inaugural Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference title this spring, as the league's head coaches placed the Panthers second in a preseason poll that was released Tuesday afternoon.
Hanover, along with five other members from the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference, have come together to form the HCLC. A first-year program in Anderson will also join the group, giving the league seven members in its first season of existence. The Panthers received one first place vote and 64 total points in the preseason poll.
Transylvania, who won the 2018 ORLC regular season and tournament championship, took the top spot with 69 points and six first place votes. The Pioneers finished last season 18-2 overall en route to an NCAA Division III National Tournament second round appearance.
Rounding out the remainder of the poll is Mount St. Joseph (50), Franklin (49), Earlham (47), Anderson (34) and Thomas More (30). The Panthers produced a 4-2 record against its 2019 league opponents last season, with both losses coming at the hands of Transylvania.
Hanover's second-place preseason prognosis is its highest in program history and would mark the squad's best finsh as well. The program's previous best ranking came last season, when the Blue and Red were picked to finish fourth in the ORLC, which is where they concluded the campaign. The Panthers have either improved or finished in their predicted spot in each of the last three seasons.
In its fourth year of existence as a program, Hanover produced an 11-7 overall mark during the 2018 season. Under second year head coach Brandon Allwood, the Panthers set a new program record for wins in a single season.
Despite the loss of a talented senior class, the Blue and Red do have the luxury of returning four of their top five point scorers from last season, including 2018 honorable mention all-conference selection Rachel Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.). The now senior is the active program leader in goals (55), assists (51) and points (106).
A trio of juniors return as well, including Kinna Laymon (Fishers, Ind.), who is the team's top returning goal scorer from last spring, where she found the back of the net 47 times. Emma Boomershine (Louisville, Ky.) and Meg Finn (Newburgh, Ind.) each added 34 offensive points as well.
Hanover is set to open the 2019 season at home, beginning with a 4 p.m. contest against Asbury (Ky.) on Friday, Feb. 22. The Panthers' conference slate kicks off Monday, March 18, with a trip to Earlham.
Contact: Tyler Jester