Women's tennis welcomes Anderson this weekend for season opener

Cami Jones

HANOVER, Ind. – After its opening invitational was cancelled, the Hanover women's tennis team will finally begin the 2018-19 season with its home and conference opener against Anderson this weekend.

The Panthers are slated to serve up the new campaign at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 15. The contest will mark Hanover's first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest of the fall.

SEASON OPENERS: The Blue and Red will be opening the new season at home for the first time since 2014. Hanover though, has won two of its past three matches to begin a season and have also logged six consecutive conference-opening victories. Last season, HC defeated Earlham 9-0 in its dual and conference opener.

PRESEASON POLL: The Panthers have once again been picked as the favorite in the HCAC, recording 89 points and eight-of-nine first place votes in the league's preseason poll, conducted by the head coaches. Hanover notched its fourth first place ranking in the preseason prognosis in the past five years. Rose-Hulman, 2016 HCAC Tournament Champion, and Franklin, 2017 HCAC Tournament runner-up, rounded out the top three of the 2018 edition.

HISTORY MADE: Hanover is coming off a 2017-18 season that reset the program's record book. The Panthers tied the single season win record by going 16-6 overall, including a 7-0 mark in conference play for the program's fifth straight regular season championship. Hanover also won its fourth conference tournament title in the past five years, earning them a spot in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. A 5-0 decision in the opening round against Webster (Mo.) also marked the program's first victory at the NCAA's national tournament.

CONFERENCE WINNING STREAK: During HC's stretch of five regular season championships, the team has not dropped a conference match and will enter Saturday having won 40 consecutive HCAC regular season outings. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, the year the winning streak began, Hanover is a combined 55-7 against HCAC opponents in league, tournament and non-conference play.

DOUBLES DELIGHT: The Panthers enjoyed fast starts for much of head coach Eric LaRue's first season at the helm in 2017-18. Hanover produced a 44-22 overall doubles record, including a 19-2 mark in conference matches, good enough for .667 and .905 winning percentages, respectively. Senior Susie Winternheimer (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Meghan Farrell (Indianapolis, Ind.) teamed up last season to go 18-4 overall and 7-0 in league play. The duo of junior Cami Jones (Richmond, Ind.) and sophomore Haley Parker (Leo, Ind.) were also undefeated in conference action, which contributed to a 16-6 total record.

SCOUTING THE RAVENS: After a brief one-year hiatus as a program in 2017-18, Anderson once again has a full squad this fall. The Ravens are off to an 0-2 start this season and posted a 5-6 overall mark, 4-4 in the HCAC, during their last complete campaign in 2016-17. Anderson has been picked to finish seventh in the nine-team league this fall.

Contact: Tyler Jester