HANOVER, Ind. - In the final regular season home match for the team's five seniors, the Hanover volleyball team defeated Franklin 3-0 to remain unbeaten in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, and clinch its third straight HCAC Regular Season Championship outright.
With the win, the Panthers are now 23-5 overall and 8-0 in league play. The victory extends their current winning streak to 12 matches, and now gives them a 26-match winning streak in regular season conference contests. Franklin, meanwhile, falls to 10-14 overall and 0-8 in the HCAC.
Hanover won the first set 25-18, but had to earn it. Through the first 17 points, there were seven lead changes. Down 8-7, the Panthers scored four of the next five to go in front 11-9, but the Grizzlies would tie it at 11-11 and 12-12. The Blue and Red answered with the next five points to make it 17-12, and would then finish the set with the final four points to take a 1-0 lead.
Set two was even tighter as Hanover had to rally for a 28-26 win. Franklin led for most of the set, and had two different four-point leads, including a late 23-19 advantage. A ball-handling error and two attack errors cut the deficit to one point at 23-22, but the Grizzlies still had three different set-point opportunities. The Panthers fought back from all three and scored three straight points to cap the set for the two-point victory.
The third set was all Hanover from the start as 11 of the first 12 points went to the Blue and Red. Franklin pulled within seven at 11-4, but would get no closer the rest of the way as the Panthers pulled away for the convincing 25-10 win to complete the three-set sweep.
Hanover got strong efforts by all five seniors as four of them combined for 24 of the team's 33 kills, and the fifth posted a match-high in digs. Senior Kristin Goben (Finchville, Ky.) had a team-high seven kills. Senior classmates Kelsey Brandvik (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Emily Ertel (North Vernon, Ind.) add six each, and Courtney Crawford (Louisville, Ky.) finished with five kills.
The fifth senior, Monique Huynh (Indianapolis, Ind.) posted 19 digs, three assists and two service aces, while juniors Abby Crump (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Haley Alexander (Martinsville, Ind.) combined for 25 assists, nine digs and three service aces.
With the win, Hanover will receive a first-round by in the HCAC Tournament, and then host both the semifinals and finals in Collier Arena Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4-5.
Prior to the tournament, the Panthers will look to make it three straight regular seasons without losing a conference match when they play Anderson Saturday, Oct. 28. The regular season-finale is slated to begin at 1 p.m. in Anderson, Ind.
Contact: Mike Pritchard