FRANKLIN – The Franklin College women's tennis team begins their quest for their third Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) championship on Saturday afternoon at the West Indy Racquet Club in Indianapolis, Ind.
Head coach Rusty Hughes and the Grizzlies enter the six-team field as the No. 2 seed after going 6-1 in conference play this year. Franklin earned a first-round bye for their efforts this year, and will take on the winner of Friday's match between No. 3-seed Rose-Hulman and No. 6-seed Earlham. Earlier this year, the Fightin' Engineers earned a 9-0 win over the Quakers. Franklin defeated both teams in the regular season.
The Grizzlies are expected to have their full lineup ready to go on Saturday afternoon. Karen Dringenburg and Rachel Rose are expected to line up as the top doubles tandem after going 12-1 in dual matches this year. Holyn Eldridge and Alexa Schofner will be the Grizzlies' No. 2 doubles team after going 6-1 as a tandem. Megan Battles and Lilly Bushong finished 9-3 as a team this year and will take the court as the No. 3 team.
The Grizzlies will likely send out their normal lineup for singles play as well. Dringenburg will be the No. 1 singles player after going 11-2 from the top spot this year. Eldgridge will slide in as the No. 2 singles player, a spot she went a perfect 7-0 from in dual matches. Rose, Schofner, Battles and Bushong round out the Grizzlies' 3-6 positions in the lineup.
On the other side of the bracket, fourth-seeded Manchester and fifth-seeded Transylvania will compete to move on and face top-seeded and four-time reigning HCAC champion Hanover. The Panthers went 7-0 in league play this year, handing the Grizzlies their lone conference loss earlier this season.
First serve for the Grizzlies' match on Saturday is set for 1:00 p.m. The winner of that match will go on to the championship match on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. The winner of the HCAC championship will earn an automatic berth into the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament.