Volleyball preview: Middle Hitters, Outside Hitters

Kelsey Brandvik hitting from outside position.



HANOVER, Ind. – With less than two weeks until the season-opening match, our second part of the Hanover volleyball preview series takes a look at the team’s middle and outside hitters.

Head coach Peter Preocanin will have a wealth of talent and experience to work with at these two positions this fall and will count on four seniors and two juniors to lead the way.

Senior Courtney Crawford (Louisville, Ky.) and junior Claire Dennis (Bloomington, Ind.) return as two of the top middle hitters in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Crawford, the league’s top freshman in 2014, and conference MVP as a sophomore, was a first team all-HCAC pick again last year. In 31 matches, she recorded 188 kills and had a conference-best .360 hitting percentage. Crawford also ranked in the top five in the league in total blocks (113), solo blocks (22), and assists (91).

Dennis earned her first all-conference recognition a year ago after she led the HCAC and ranked among the NCAA leaders in total blocks (165) and assists (143). She also tied for fourth in solo blocks, was second on the team with 322 digs and added 185 kills in 33 matches.

Senior Kelsey Brandvik (Indianapolis, Ind.) is back after a strong year as one of the team’s top outside hitters. An all-HCAC Tournament selection, Brandvik tied for fifth in the league and second on the team in kills with 303 and second on the team with 21 service aces.

Seniors Emily Ertel (North Vernon, Ind.) and Kristin Goben (Finchville, Ky.), and junior Margo Main (West Lafayette, Ind.) are also back and have the ability to play both positions along the front line.

Along with Crawford and Dennis, Ertel was a first team all-conference pick last year. The third-year player was fourth on the team with 224 kills and tied for fourth with 62 total blocks. She ranked in the top 10 in the league in both total blocks and solo blocks.

Goben ranked fourth in the HCAC in both kills (311) and assisted blocks (88) and was fifth in total blocks with 100. Main also ranked in the top 10 in the HCAC in assisted blocks (7th – 55), total blocks (9th – 62) and kills (10th – 264).

Sophomores Ally Davis (Sanford, N.C.) and Madie Snyder (Boonville, Ind.) will also look for increased rolls and provide valuable depth in 2017. Snyder played in 16 matches at outside hitter, while Davis saw action in eight matches at middle hitter.

In addition, three talented freshmen will be welcomed to the program and compete right way for playing time.

With talent, experience, and depth in place this fall, the Panthers are primed to have another big year in 2017.

Hanover will play its first matches of the season Friday, Sept. 1 as part of the Bluffton University Sommer Spiketacular. A season-opening contest against Heidelburg (Ohio) at 4 p.m. will be followed by a match against Kalamazoo (Mich.) at 8 p.m. on the first day.

Preview No. 1: Defensive Specialists, Setters

Contact: Mike Pritchard


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