HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College volleyball team will hit the road this week, with a trip to nationally-ranked Thomas More and a weekend trek to Ohio Wesleyan for three matches at the Bishop Invitational.
PANTHERS TRAVEL TO THOMAS MORE: Hanover will begin the week with a road trip to Thomas More (Ky.). The match is slated for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 12. The Saints have recently been ranked No. 14 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association national top 25 poll and are 8-0 in 2018. Hanover and Thomas More have met once each year since 2012, with four of the six matches going five sets, including each of the last three meetings.
WEEKEND SLATE: The Panthers open the weekend with one match Friday evening, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., as they take on the tournament host, Ohio Wesleyan. Hanover will then square off with Trine (Ind.) and Grove City (Pa.) Saturday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. All three HC opponents currently have a .500 overall winning percentage or lower, led by Trine, who is 4-4.
FAST START: The Blue and Red have made a habit over recent years of getting off to a strong start. Hanover is 5-2 in 2018, marking the four consecutive year the program has at least five wins through its first eight matches. This fall, HC won five straight matches, with five-set losses bookending the opening two weeks of play. The 5-2 overall mark is good enough for the second best record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season.
KETCHAM LEADING THE NATION: Freshman Kelsey Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind.) is currently leading NCAA Division III in triple-doubles with four. Ketcham, who has posted double-digit assist totals in every match, also has five double-doubles over seven matches. For the season, the first-year is averaging 2.56 kills, 4.04 assists and 2.67 digs per set. Both her kill and assist averages rank among the top 10 in the HCAC.
DEFENSE DOMINATING: Part of Hanover's success this season is due to its defensive efforts. After ranking as one of the country's best in terms of blocking last season, the Panthers are at it once again. Hanover leads the HCAC total blocks, 47.0, and blocks per set, 1.74. Senior Claire Dennis (Bloomington, Ind.) is averaging 0.78 blocks per set, placing her second in the HCAC.
As a result, HC has held its opponents to a combined .080 hitting percentage this season, good enough for first in the conference and 29th nationally.
DIGGING IT OUT: Junior Ally Williams (Fountaintown, Ind.) has guided the Panthers to a top three dig per set average in the conference, as the squad is logging nearly 18 digs per frame. Williams leads the team and is third in the HCAC in digs per set, 5.37, while also ranking 44th nationally. Ketcham and sophomore Amber Miller (Louisville, Ky.) are also recording over two digs per set.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will wrap up the non-conference invitational portion of its schedule with a trip to Heidelberg (Ohio) next weekend. Hanover is slated to face Wooster (Ohio) Friday, Sept. 21, before competing against Case Western Reserve (Ohio) and Heidelberg Saturday, Sept. 22.
Contact: Tyler Jester