Sophomore Trio Named Players to Watch as HCAC Drops 2019 Pre-Season Rankings

Photo courtesy of Renee Kean
Photo courtesy of Renee Kean

CARMEL, Ind. – The Franklin College women's tennis team was chosen by the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) coaches to finish fifth in the league this fall when the conference released its pre-season poll on Friday (Aug. 23) morning.

Coming off a 9-4 campaign in 2018-19 that included a 6-2 mark in conference play, the Grizzlies earned 45 points from the nine coaches around the conference. Sophomores Maddie Bright, Grace Otte and Madison Pifer were selected by the league as "Players to Watch" for the upcoming year.

Greenwood, Ind.-native Bright turned in a strong rookie campaign for the Grizzlies, going 8-3 in singles play with a 7-1 record against conference opponents that earned her a spot on the league's honorable mention squad. She spent the bulk of the year entrenched in the No. 4 singles spot, racking up a 6-2 record while also going 2-0 when she was asked to move up to the third position. In doubles play, she complied a 10-2 record, which included a 9-1 record with Karen Dringenburg at the top of the Franklin lineup.

Another Honorable Mention All-HCAC selection, Otte was also a regular contributor to the Grizzly lineup as a rookie. The Seymour, Ind.-native ended her rookie year with a 9-4 record in doubles play, going 8-3 with regular partner Brianna Hutton as the team's No. 3 tandem. In singles competition, Otte finished the year with a 4-6 record, picking up the bulk of her wins from the No. 4 position.

Pifer saw quality competition in her first campaign, holding down the No. 6 position in singles play where she went 2-3 overall. The Seymour, Ind.-native went 1-1 in doubles play, earning her first career doubles point alongside Otte against Oakland City in the team's season opener.

Defending conference champion and perennial league favorite Hanover was picked to repeat as league champions, earning eight first place votes and 80 points. The entire poll can be viewed below.

Franklin opens the fall portion of their schedule on Saturday, Sept. 7 with a home match against Indiana South Bend. First serve from Mickel-Hoover Tennis Complex is set for noon.

2019 HCAC Women's Tennis Preseason Poll  
Team (First Place Votes) Points
1. Hanover (8) 80
2. Transylvania 67
3. Rose-Hulman (1) 58
4. Anderson  57
5. Franklin 45
6. Earlham 34
7. Manchester 26
8. Defiance 20
9. Mount St. Joseph 18