HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover volleyball team opened the 2018 season with a doubleheader split Friday at the Otterbein/Capital Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
The Panthers (1-1) opened the day with a five-set loss to Otterbein (Ohio), 25-21, 12-25, 20-25, 25-21, 11-15. Hanover though, bounced back with a sweep of Capital (Ohio), winning 25-21, 25-23, 25-17.
Highlighting the opening day's performance were a pair of freshmen, Kelsey Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Maddie Edwards (Jasper, Ind.). Ketcham posted 20 kills, 30 assists and 16 digs over the two matches. Edwards followed closely behind with 15 kills, while adding four blocks as well.
Sophomore Blaise Chaney (Mason, Ohio) and junior Carlie Burson (New Salisbury, Ind.) also finished the day with double-digit kills, as Chaney also paced the Panthers with eight total blocks, including six against Otterbein. Burson added five rejections as well, all of which came in the opener.
Defensively, junior Ally Williams (Fountaintown, Ind.) led the team with 29 digs and three service aces over eight sets. Williams recorded 19 digs and two aces against the Cardinals. Senior Abby Crump (Indianapolis, Ind.) pitched in with 15 digs, while also leading the squad with 31 assists.
MATCH ONE (vs. OTTERBEIN)
The first match of the day saw the Blue and Red jump out to a one-set lead, taking a 25-21 decision against the host, Otterbein. A 5-0 run put the Panthers up 9-4 early in the set and a 6-2 spurt later in the frame gave HC its largest advantage, eight points, at 19-11.
After dropping back-to-back sets, Hanover needed to take the fourth frame to force a decisive final set. Trailing by two near the midway point, the Panthers rattled off six of the next eight points, highlighted by two aces from sophomore Brynn Durecki (Winona Lake, Ind.) to lead 16-13. Kills from Burson and Ketcham put HC in front 23-18 and a point from Edwards capped the set at 25-21.
In the fifth and final frame, Hanover led at the halfway point, 8-7. Unfortunately, the Cardinals exited the brief intermission with six of the next seven points to take control of the set at 13-9. Eventually, Otterbein, who received votes in the national preseason coaches' poll, would hold off HC, 15-11, taking the battle between two 2017 NCAA National Tournament qualifiers.
MATCH TWO (vs. CAPITAL)
Hanover's defensive effort, along with timely errors from the Crusaders gave the Panthers their fifth win over Capital in as many years. The Blue and Red outhit Capital .245 to .069 in the three-set match.
Finding itself down one early on, HC exploded for an 11-2 scoring spurt, capped by a Ketcham kill, to take an 18-10 advantage in the first set. The Crusaders though, responded with six consecutive points to pull within two points, 18-16. A kill from Chaney doomed any Capital comeback hopes, as HC won 25-21.
In the second set, again, Hanover found itself down early, but capitalizing on four Crusader errors, HC used a 7-1 run to lead 7-4. In a tightly contested second frame, Capital led late, 23-21. Hanover though, grabbed the final four points, two coming on CU errors and the other two coming from an Edwards ace and a Ketcham kill.
Riding the momentum from the come-from-behind second set victory, HC tallied eight of the opening 11 points in the third frame. The Panther advantage ballooned to as many as nine points, 23-14, before earning a 25-17 decision.
Hanover will conclude play at the Otterbein/Capital Classic Saturday with a pair of neutral site matches. The Panthers open play against Muskingum (Ohio) at noon, before a 4 p.m. match against Adrian (Mich.).
Contact: Tyler Jester