FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College women's tennis team gets post-season play underway on Friday (Oct. 19) night when they face the Earlham Quakers in the opening round of the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Championships at the West Indy Racquet Club in Indianapolis, Ind.
HOW WE GOT HERE: The Grizzlies finished the fall season with a 7-2 record and a 6-2 mark in conference play that earned them the third seed overall in the tournament. The Grizzlies and Quakers will wrap up day one of the tournament with the 3-6 matchup, which follows the meeting between fourth-seeded Anderson and fifth-seeded Rose-Hulman.
The two teams with byes into the semi-finals are the only two teams to hand head coach Rusty Hughes' team a loss this fall. Hanover earned the top seed in the conference tournament after going unbeaten in the regular season with Transylvania collecting the number two seed and a spot in the final four.
SINGLED OUT: The Grizzlies' singles lineup should feature no changes heading into the opening round match. Senior Karen Dringenburg turned in another stellar regular season as the team's No. 1 singles player, going 7-2 from the top spot. Senior Holyn Eldridge and Alexa Schofner are expected to take the second and third spots in the lineup on Friday night. Eldridge is 4-1 in dual matches this fall while Schofner comes into the weekend with a 6-3 record after splitting time between the second and third positions.
Freshman Maddie Bright turned in a strong debut season, going 7-1 in dual matches while playing primarily from the number four position. The final two spots in the lineup will be filled by either senior Brianna Hutton (1-3), freshman Grace Otte (4-4), freshman Madison Pifer (1-6), senior Tapanga Gauck (2-0) or sophomore Emily Seger (1-0).
DOUBLE YOUR FUN: Each of Franklin's three prominent doubles teams had great success during the fall with the Grizzlies dropping just four doubles matches in total coming into the tournament. The Grizzlies' top tandem of Dringenburg and Bright were a perfect 7-0 this fall, with Bright yet to taste defeat in doubles competition.
Now in their second year as the team's primary number two tandem, Eldridge and Schofner carry a 5-1 record this fall and are 11-3 all-time as a pairing. Otte and Hutton have teamed up to give the Grizzlies a formidable third pairing after going 6-2 as a team this fall.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: The winner of the match between the Grizzlies and Quakers moves on to take on Transylvania on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The championship match and a berth in the 2019 NCAA DIII Championships will be decided on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.