Hanover's volleyball falls a match short of HCAC championship
Monday, November 11, 2013 10:00 AM
Hanover's improbable run through the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference volleyball tournament ended in the championship match on Sunday with the Panthers falling to Bluffton 3-1.
Just like Hanover, Bluffton (16-18) was on a magical run of its own in the tourney, coming back from 0-2 deficits to upset third-seed Mount St. Joseph and second-seeded Transylvania before defeating the fifth-seeded Panthers for the HCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
The Beavers reversed their luck in the title match and jumped out to a 2-0 lead, winning game one 25-16 and game two 25-22. The Panthers, who had not lost a set prior to Saturday, came back to win game three 25-22 before the Beavers sealed the deal in game four by a convincing 25-11 score.
All-Tournament selection Rachel Hasewinkel and teammates Rachel Regenauer, Nicole Blevins and Maggie Huffer combined for 30 kills in the match. Hasewinkel had seven of the kills along with 12 digs while Regenauer posted 10 kills. Blevins added seven and Huffer had six kills with four block assists.
Senior Kylie Justus, the Panthers' other All-Tournament team member, had a team-high 22 digs, ending her Hanover career ranked second in school history with 2,108 digs.
In Saturday's semifinals, Hanover upset top-seed Defiance 3-0. Defiance, which did not lose a game in the HCAC during the regular season and had smashed the Panthers 3-0 just two weeks ago, fell 25-20, 26-24, 25-21 on its home floor.
Rachel Hasewinkel and Regenauer each had a match-high 10 kills with Hasewinkel adding 15 digs, one ace and one assist. Justus had 14 digs while Alli Deaton and Molly Murphy had 16 assists and 19 assists, respectively.
Hanover finishes the season with a 16-16 record. It is the fourth consecutive season the Panthers have reached at least 16 wins.