Hanover College is Coaches Pick to Lead HCAC Volleyball Race

Hanover College is Coaches Pick to Lead HCAC Volleyball Race

GREENWOOD, IN – The Hanover College volleyball team has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. In a poll of the 10 HCAC head coaches, the Panthers received a total of 98 points and nine first place votes.

Bluffton University placed second in the poll with 88 points and one first place vote, while Transylvania University is picked to finish third in the conference standings this fall with 76 points. Franklin College (70 pts), Defiance College (60), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (46), Mount St. Joseph University (43), Manchester University (35), Anderson University (22), and Earlham College (12) round out the poll.

The Panthers are coming off of a 23-9 season and 9-0 conference record in 2015, handing the school's first HCAC regular season title since 2011. Hanover's season ended when the Bluffton University Beavers handled the Panthers in three straight sets in the HCAC Tournament Championship last fall.

Coach Preocanin's Panthers look to be a formidable opponent once again in a highly competitive HCAC.  Hanover returns three All-HCAC selections to the lineup this fall, including the HCAC Most Valuable Player.  Junior outside hitter Courtney Crawford (Louisville, Ky. / Our Lady of Mercy) was named the league's MVP in 2015. Crawford played in 113 sets for the Panthers last season, posting a conference-best .354 hitting percentage with a league-high 131 total blocks.  She averaged 1.85 kills per set and 2.8 points per set as a sophomore during Hanover's 32 matches. The Louisville, Kentucky native led the conference with a .467 hitting percentage and 54 total blocks during HCAC matches this season.  

Junior Kelsey Brandvik (Indianapolis, Ind. / North Central) and freshman Haley Alexander (Martinsville, Ind. / Plainfield) earned All-HCAC accolades. Brandvik led Hanover with 2.19 kills per set, and saw action in 31 matches last year. The junior also posted 0.48 digs per set and 56 total blocks in 2015.  Alexander led the Panthers in assists last season with 506 total and 4.69 assists per game. Hanover starts their season on September 2 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bluffton University finished second in the standings last season with an 8-1 conference mark and a 19-13 record overall.  The Beavers ended their season with a 3-1 loss to Wittenberg University in the first round of the Division III NCAA Tournament. The Beavers return two All-HCAC honorees from last season's team.  First-team All-HCAC selection outside hitter Mackenzie McFarlin (Ashland, Ohio / Ashland) tallied 2.90 kills preset and 1.59 digs per set last season as a junior.  Sophomore setter Erin Weisbarger (Bolivar, Ohio / Tuscarawas Valley) landed a spot on the All-Freshman team last fall after posting 10.39 assists per set and 228 digs last season. Bluffton kicks their season off at the Elmhurst tournament on September 2.

Transylvania University finished third in the standings last season after being predicted to finish seventh.  The Pioneers ended their season with a 5-4 conference record and a 16-10 overall record.  Transylvania only returns one All-HCAC honoree who tabbed a spot on the All-Freshman team last fall.  Sophomore middle hitter Darby Bourdon (Harrodsburg, Ky. / Mercer Co.) played in 95 sets for the Pioneers posting a total 97 kills and averaged 1.02 kills per set.  Transylvania begins their season in Atlanta, Ga. On September 2.

The 2016 volleyball season is scheduled to open on September 2.

Players to Watch

Anderson   Courtney Copp   Sophomore   OH
Vincennes, Ind. / South Knox
               
    Hannah O'Brien   Junior   MH
Crawfordsville, Ind. / North Montgomery
               
    Riley Troyer   Senior   Setter
Syracuse, Ind. / Fairfield
               
    Megan Wade   Senior   Libero
Evansville, Ind. / Evansville North
                 
Bluffton   Mackenzie McFarlin   Senior   OH   Ashland, Ohio / Ashland
                 
    Lauren Weisbarger   Senior   MH   Bolivar, Ohio / Tusarawas Valley
                 
    Sydney Mohler   Junior   Libero   Lima, Ohio / Central Catholic
                 
    Becca Tourney   Junior   OH   Columbia City, Ind. / Columbia City
                 
    Erin Weisbarger   Sophomore   Setter   Bolivar, Ohio / Tusarawas Valley
                 
Defiance   Ari Mahaffey   Senior   S/OPP   Porter, Ind. / Chesterton
                 
    Meredith Shank   Junior   OH   Maumee, Ohio / Springfield
                 
Earlham   Ashleigh Burton   Sophomore   MH
Indianapolis, Ind. / Bishop Chatard
               
    Megan Hedinger   Sophomore   DS
Germantown, Wis. / Germantown
               
    Skylar Muckway   Sophomore   CH/RS
Indianapolis, Ind. / Franklin Central
               
    Meredith Beed   Junior   MH
Berlin, Md. / US Embassy New Delhi
                 
Franklin   Ashley Brazier   Senior   Setter
Terre Haute, Ind. / Terre Haute South
               
    Amanda Lelivelt   Junior   MH
Chippewa Falls, Wis. / Riverside Brookfield
               
    Brooke Harvey   Junior   OH
Clinton, Ind. / South Vermillion
               
    Lauren Harmon   Junior   OH
Greenfield, Ind. / Eastern Hancock
                 
Hanover   Kelsey Brandvik   Junior   OH   Indianapolis, Ind. / Lawrence North
                 
    Courtney Crawford   Junior   OH   Louisville, Ky. / Our Lady of Mercy
                 
Manchester   Courtney Chowning   Senior   OH
Yorktown, Ind. / Yorktown
               
    Dakota Stanichuk   Sophomore   Setter
Troy, Mich. / Athens
               
    Hannah Tevis   Sophomore   MH
Royal Center, Ind. / Pioneer
                 
MSJ   Jessica Wilgenbusch   Senior   OH
Sunman, Ind. / East Central
               
    Hannah Losey   Senior   OPP
Tipp City, Ohio / Tippecanoe
               
    Riley Brunner   Sophomore   OH
Lawrenceburg, Ind. / Lawrenceburg
                 
Rose-Hulman   Emily McLendon   Senior   MH
Lexington, Ky. / Henry Clay
               
    Gabi Razma   Junior   Libero
Durango, Colo. / Durango
               
    Julia Hammond   Sophomore   OH
Geneva, Ill. / Geneva
                 
Transylvania   Darby Bourdon   Sophomore   MB
Harrodsburg, Ky. / Mercer Co.
               
    Marissa Coutinho   Junior   DS
Terre Haute, Ind. / Terre Haute South Vigo
                 
    Hannah Talkers   Freshman   Setter
Villa Hills, Ky. / Notre Dame Academy
                 
    Sarah Shively   Freshman   OH
Brighton, Co. / Brighton
                 
    Hadley Trenaman   Freshman   DS   Louisville, Ky. / Christian Academy
                 
    Jordan Horne   Freshman   RS
Louisville, Ky. / Male