INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Franklin College women's tennis team was in search of their third Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) tournament championship on Sunday morning. Standing in the second-seeded Grizzlies' way was four-time defending champion Hanover College.
The Grizzlies threw everything they had at the top-seeded Panthers, but Hanover's reign as conference champions continued with a 5-1 win.
Franklin finishes the year with a 12-3 record, suffering just two HCAC losses along the way.
"I'm really proud of our team because we had a great year," Franklin head coach Rusty Hughes said after the match. "We battled two really good teams on back-to-back days with some kids fighting injuries and those injuries caught up to us today. Credit to Hanover because they have a great team and they earned this win. But this team battled hard all year and they can hold their heads high."
The Panthers grabbed the first two points of doubles play, but Franklin would cut the Panthers' lead in half thanks to a big win from the team's top pairing of Karen Dringenburg and Rachel Rose. The pair would best Alana Feely and Caroline Millard in a marathon 9-8 (7-3) match.
But the Panthers would waste little time wrapping things up, taking one point via retirement and the final two points at the No. 4 and No. 5 singles spots for their fifth straight conference championship.
Sunday's match was the final post-season match for Franklin seniors Megan Battles, Jessica Baker and Claire Hirsch. The Grizzlies will have the winter off before embarking on a short spring season. Franklin resumes play on Feb. 3.