Hanover volleyball picked to win HCAC
Hanover College’s volleyball team has been picked win its third straight league title in preseason voting by Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches. The HCAC Preseason Volleyball Poll was announced Friday with the Panthers taking the top spot for the second consecutive year. Hanover received eight first place votes and 98 total points. Coach Peter Preocanin’s Panthers are coming off a record-breaking 2016 campaign that saw the team go 25-8 overall and 9-0 in conference play for a second straight season. The team will carry an 18-game regular season winning streak into conference play this year. Preocanin, a four-time HCAC Coach of the Year, returns 13 players from the 2016 HCAC regular season championship team, including a trio of first team all-conference selections in seniors Courtney Crawford of Louisville, Kentucky and Emily Ertel of North Vernon and junior Claire Dennis of Bloomington. Bluffton, winner of four straight HCAC tourneys, claimed the final two first place votes and totaled 85 points for second place in the poll. The Panthers and Beavers will open conference action against each other this fall at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Hanover’s Collier Arena. Other 2016 HCAC Tournament qualifiers, Transylvania (73), Rose-Hulman (65), Defiance (63) and Manchester (59), earned the third through sixth spots, respectively, while Franklin (46), Anderson (27), Mount St. Joseph (21) and Earlham (13) round out the poll. Hanover opens its 2017 season at the Bluffton Sommer Spiketacular with four games over the first two days of September. The Panthers season opener will come against Heidelberg (Ohio) at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1.