Panthers' 27-match conference win streak comes to a close with loss at Bluffton

Kelsey Ketcham

BLUFFTON, Ohio – The Hanover volleyball team opened Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play Saturday evening at Bluffton, falling on the road, 3-0.

The Panthers (7-8, 0-1 HCAC) struggled offensively, as they logged season lows in kills (26) and hitting percentage (.059). The Beavers (9-9, 1-0 HCAC) conversely, hit .170 as a team with 43 kills. Both sides also logged 10 total blocks.

Highlighting play for HC was freshman Kelsey Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind.), who tallied a team-high 11 kills. The freshman also posted 13 digs, eight assists and a team-best .250 hitting percentage.

Defensively, senior Claire Dennis (Bloomington, Ind.) paced the Panthers with six total blocks. Junior Ally Williams (Fountaintown, Ind.) and sophomore Amber Miller (Louisville, Ky.) each joined Ketcham with double-digit digs. Williams led the team with 15, while Miller pitched in with 12. Senior Abby Crump (Indianapolis, Ind.) had seven digs also, while leading the squad with 12 assists.

Hanover fell victim to early-set runs by the Beavers in all three sets. The Panthers found themselves down five or more points early in each frame. As a result, the Panthers were on the wrong side of a 25-17, 25-13, 25-21 decision.

With the loss, HC's 27-match HCAC regular season win streak has come to an end. The Blue and Red had gone 9-0 in conference play each of the past three seasons, with the last league loss for the program coming at Mt. St. Joseph on Oct. 29, 2014.

Hanover will look to bounce back quickly, as the team travels to face Defiance Sunday, Sept. 30. The Panthers and Yellow Jackets are scheduled for a 1 p.m. first serve.

Contact: Tyler Jester