PREVIEW | Grizzlies Set to Tangle with Panthers in HCAC Semifinal Showdown

Photo: Quinn Fitzgerald
Photo: Quinn Fitzgerald

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FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin women's soccer team begins their quest for a second Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) tournament championship on Tuesday (Nov. 5) afternoon, when the third-seeded Grizzlies take on second-seeded Hanover College in a conference semifinal showdown.

The Path to the Post-Season
Following a difficult month of September, the Grizzlies turned their season around in October, going 7-2 against HCAC competition while playing a particularly stingy brand of soccer. The Grizzlies conceded seven goals in conference play, recording all seven of their league victories by shutout.

Always one of the league front-runners, the Panthers went 7-1-1 against HCAC competition and enter Tuesday night's matchup with a 10-5-2 record. Hanover will be looking for their sixth HCAC Tournament championship, having claimed the title in 2011 and 2013-16. The Panthers went 5-1-2 on their home field this season and did not drop a league home match in 2019.

Statistical Leaders
The Grizzlies' leading scorer through 19 matches is freshman Elaina Page, who topped the team in the regular season with 11 points and five goals. Right behind her on the score sheet are a pair of seniors in Taylor McDaniel and Jalynn Gorman, both of whom were vital members of Franklin's 2017 HCAC Tournament championship team.

McDaniel finished second on the team with 10 points, scoring a pair of goals and handing out a team-high six assists. The Indianapolis, Ind.-native has accumulated five points in conference tournament play during her career, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Gorman's nine points (4G, 1A) are the third-most on the team entering play Tuesday with the Clayton, Ind.-native leading all FC strikers with 37 shot attempts and 20 shots on target.

In goal is the backbone of the Grizzlies in senior Lexi Short, who is carrying a shutout streak of 280:27 into the conference tournament. The Avon, Ind.-native ranks third in the league with 112 saves and her .812 save percentage is the fifth-best among all qualified keepers.

Sophomore forward Autumn Boothby leads the way for the Hanover offense with 11 goals and three assists for 25 points on the year. She's one of four players to rack up double-digit point totals in 2019 along with Kelsey Hughes (13 pts), Brandi Brock (12 pts) and Anna Smith (12 pts). In goal, sophomore Amanda Carmosino carries a 1.03 goals against average and .846 save percentage into the match.

Last Meeting
The two long-time rivals clashed back on Oct. 9 in Hanover, with the Panthers taking a 2-1 decision in overtime. Gorman netted the lone goal for the Grizzlies and Short made eight saves on the afternoon, but Hanover claimed victory on a successful penalty kick in extra time. The two teams have split the last two meetings in Hanover, with Franklin winning for the first time in enemy territory in the regular season two years ago.

Griz in the HCAC Tourney
Franklin is making their sixth ever appearance in the conference tournament, having won the event in their last appearance back in 2017. The Grizzlies and Panthers are no stranger to each other in post-season play, with Hanover knocking off the Grizzlies in the HCAC title game each year from 2014-16.

Franklin is 5-3 all-time in the conference tournament, having notched past wins over Anderson, Mount St. Joseph and Rose-Hulman.

How to Follow
Links to live video and stats are available at the top of the page, as is a link to the HCAC Tournament page. In-game updates will be provided on our Twitter account @FCGrizAthletics.