Women's tennis opens spring slate with three matches

Haley Parker

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's tennis team will travel south to open its spring slate with three matches this weekend.

The Panthers begin the weekend with a pair of matches at Covenant (Ga.). Hanover will face Belhaven (Miss.) at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, before squaring off at 5:30 p.m. against the host school. Rounding out the busy weekend for HC will be a 1 p.m. match at Sewanee (Tenn.), Sunday, Feb. 18.

GEARING UP FOR NATIONAL TOURNAMENT: The Panthers will open the spring schedule, which currently features nine matches, as they begin preparations for the NCAA Division III National Tournament at the end of May. Hanover will be making their fourth trip in the past five seasons to the national spectacle and are still in search of their first program victory in the Big Dance.

CHAMPIONS OF THE HCAC: The Blue and Red won their fifth straight HCAC regular season championship in the fall and added a conference tournament championship as well to earn the league's automatic bid into the national tournament. Hanover won all seven regular season HCAC matches, giving them 40 straight victories in league play. The team added 5-0 and 5-1 wins over Manchester and Franklin in the HCAC Tournament, securing its fourth championship in five seasons.

LaRUE, PARKER WIN YEARLY AWARDS: Head coach Eric LaRue and freshman Haley Parker (Leo, Ind.) each took home yearly honors from the HCAC in the fall. LaRue was named the conference's Coach of the Year, while Parker was tabbed HCAC Freshman of the Year. LaRue guided the team to a 9-2 overall mark in the fall, including a 7-0 HCAC record. Parker finished 6-1 in HCAC play en route to an 8-2 overall singles record. She also teamed with sophomore Cami Jones (Richmond, Ind.) to post a 10-1 record in doubles matches.

JONES NAMED HCAC TOURNAMENT MVP: Jones picked up the maximum four points for her team in the two HCAC Tournament matches, as she was named the event's most valuable player. The sophomore won doubles matches against Manchester and Franklin with Parker, before earning a pair of singles victories via retirement. She was joined by junior Susie Winternheimer (Indianapolis, Ind.) and sophomore Meghan Farrell (Indianapolis, Ind.) as all-conference selections in the fall.

FRESHMEN STREAKING: Parker and classmates Addison Laker (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Mia Katzenberger (Crawfordsville, Ind.) combined to win their last 16 singles matches in the fall. Laker and Katzenberger, competing in the fifth and sixth spots respectively, are tied for the longest current winning streak on the squad at six matches.

THE OPPONENTS: Hanover's opponents enter the weekend with a combined 1-3 overall record. Belhaven has dropped its first two matches of the season, while Covenant is 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the spring. The two sides will meet Friday before welcoming the Panthers Saturday. Sewanee was ranked No. 17 in ITA's first edition of it national poll on Jan. 18. The Tigers, who have not yet competed in 2017-18, will face HC in what will be their fourth match in three days on Sunday.

UP NEXT: The Panthers will return to Florida for the second straight year, as the Sun. Feb. 25 through Tuesday, Feb. 27 trip will feature four matches.

Contact: Tyler Jester