Panthers prepped for three matches at Heidelberg this weekend

Emma Rolf

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover volleyball team will travel to Tiffin, Ohio this weekend for its final preparations prior to the start of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.

NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE INVITATIONAL: Hanover (6-5) will be taking part of the No One Fights Alone Invitational, hosted by Heidelberg (Ohio), this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21 and 22. The Panthers open tournament play at 8 p.m., Friday, against Wooster (Ohio). Saturday will feature two matches for HC, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., versus Case Western Reserve (Ohio) and Heidelberg, respectively.

The last time Hanover faced either Wooster or CWRU was in 2013, with the Panthers defeating the Fighting Scots 3-0 and losing to the Spartans, 3-1. Both matches came at a Mount Union-hosted invite. Wooster is 10-3 this season and has won nine of its last 10 entering this weekend. Case Western Reserve is 8-3 and will face Baldwin Wallace Wednesday night before opening tournament play this weekend against fellow HCAC institution, Mount St. Joseph.

The host, Student Princes, are 8-5 this fall, with all five setbacks coming against teams that have received recognition in the American Volleyball Coaches Association national top 25 poll. Hanover and Heidelberg had not met since 2008 prior to last year's season-opening contest. The Panthers took the 2017 matchup, 3-1.

CHANEY RECEIVES AWARD: For her play at the Ohio Wesleyan Bishop Invitational last weekend, sophomore Blaise Chaney (Mason, Ohio) was named to the all-tournament team. Over three matches, Chaney logged 24 kills and eight blocks, while hitting nearly .300. For the season, the sophomore is averaging 1.9 kills and 2.3 points per set. Her season hitting percentage of .253 is also among the top 10 in the conference for those with at least 150 total attacks.

KETCHAM LEADING THE NATION: It has been a stellar start to freshman Kelsey Ketcham's (Mishawaka, Ind.) collegiate career, as she leads NCAA Division III for the second consecutive week in season triple-doubles. The freshman has four triple-doubles this fall and has also notched seven double-doubles in 11 appearances. For the season, Ketcham's kills (2.48), assists (3.90) and digs (2.48) per set averages are among the top two on the team.

BLOCK PARTY: After ranking as one of the country's best, in terms of blocking last season, the Panthers are at it once again this fall. Hanover currently leads the HCAC and is among the top 60 nationally in rejections per set, 1.88. Senior Claire Dennis (Bloomington, Ind.) has been a big reason why, as she is second in the conference and ranks nationally as an individual with 0.83 blocks per set. For her career, Dennis is sending back 1.17 attempts per set.

ACE UP HER SLEEVE: Freshman Emma Rolf (Lebanon, Ind.) has been able to record points in a hurry for HC, as she has a team-high 13 service aces. Rolf has two matches with three-plus aces, including a four-ace performance against Trine (Ind.) this past weekend. With 0.76 aces per set, Rolf ranks second in the HCAC.

UP NEXT: Hanover will begin conference play and put its 27-match conference win streak on the line when the team travels to face rival Bluffton. The Panthers and Beavers have met in each of the past five HCAC Tournaments, including last season, when HC defeated Bluffton in the semifinal round, 3-1.

Contact: Tyler Jester