DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Hanover College Panthers opened Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action with a five set thriller defeating the Yellow Jackets of Defiance (23-25, 25-16, 24-26, 25-20, 15-8).
The Panthers (12-5 overall, 1-0 HCAC) finished the contest with a game-high 25 blocks.
Hanover found themselves trailing early in set one as the Yellow Jackets rattled off four straight points to take the 8-3 advantage before a series of miscues halted Defiance. Junior Amber Miller (Louisville, Ky.) would find success behind the service line as she connected for an ace that pulled HC within 14-13. The two teams continued to battle for much of the set as freshman Adrianne Vance (Indianapolis, Ind.) got an assist from senior Ally Williams (Fountaintown, Ind.) tying the set at 23-23 but a Panther miscue would cost them late as the Yellow Jackets held on for the 25-23 victory.
Miller stepped up big in set two leading a five-point rally with back-to-back service aces to give the Blue and Red the 6-1 advantage. The excitement continued for the Panthers as a kill by senior Carlie Burson (Corydon, Ind.) pushed the lead to 17-10. Sophomore Kelsey Ketcham (Mishawaka, Ind.) found sophomore Emma Rolf (Lebanon, Ind.) late in the set before Vance sealed the win, 25-16.
Defiance looked to use the home court advantage as they jumped out to the 5-0 lead before the Panthers responded. Hanover slowly chipped at the lead as Burson landed a kill that cut the deficit to 9-6. Ketcham helped Rolf setup the perfect kill down the line before freshman Josie McClara (Jamestown, Ind.) attacked the Yellow Jacket defense pulling HC within 19-17. Moments later Ketcham would tie the contest with a kill of her own, 20-20 before the Yellow Jackets rattled off the sets final three points, 26-24.
The Panthers remained poise in set four as they used a series of runs led by Vance to take the 13-7 lead. Hanover continued to rally as Burson and Rolf hit back-to-back kills extending the lead to 20-15. The Blue and Red would force a familiar set five after another Vance kill secured the set victory, 25-20.
In the final set, the Panthers and Yellow jackets battled for several points before, libero Ally Williams tallied a kill giving HC the 12-8 lead. The team never looked back as they went on to win the match with the final set win, 15-8.
The team returns to action on Wednesday, October 9 when they welcome Mt. St. Joseph to Collier Arena. First serve is set for 7 PM.