HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover College Panthers rallied past the Spalding University Golden Eagles in a five set thriller (26-28, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20, 15-9) as part of their home opener Tuesday evening at Horner Center.
Hanover was led in the contest by senior Ally Williams (Fountaintown, Ind.) with a game-high 21 digs.
The Golden Eagles took the early one set advantage before Hanover looked to stifle the Spalding attack. In set two the Blue and Red surged ahead 8-2 following a four point rally led by back-to-back kills from freshman Josie McClara (Jamestown, Ind.) and Junior Emily Diehr (Greenfield, Ind.). However, SU responded as they used a rally of their own to erase a five point deficit and knot the contest at 14-14. The Golden Eagles would extend their lead after a pair of Panther miscues pushed the advantage to 17-14. HC rallied late in the set as back-to-back kills and a Spalding error pulled the Panthers within 24-23 before a service error sank the Blue and Red.
In set three, with their backs against the wall, Hanover responded using an 8-0 rally to claim its largest lead to date, 8-3. The momentum continued for the Panthers as a service ace by Williams and kill from sophomore Emma Rolf (Lebanon, Ind.) gave HC the 11-7 advantage. The Blue and Red continued to rattle the Spalding Golden Eagles as a series of miscues extended the Hanover lead, 18-11. Williams sealed the set three victory from behind the service line as she connected for the 25-15 set point.
The two teams exchanged points for much of set four before a four point surge, sparked by the attack freshman Adrianne Vance (Indianapolis, Ind.) gave HC the 12-7 advantage. However, the Golden Eagles soared back once more rattling off three straight points to claim their first lead of the set, 15-14. The Panthers remained poise as sophomore Kelsey Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind.) connected with McClara to put the Blue and Red on top, 20-18. The Panthers never looked back capitalizing off the attack of Vance to force a set five, 25-20.
The excitement continued in set five as the two teams exchanged points for several minutes before a kill by Vance capped off a six point run to seal the 3-2 match victory.
The Panthers return to action Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 7 as they compete at the Sommer Spiketacular hosted by Bluffton University.