John Ciraci pre­pares to return a serve during a game against Indiana Tech in Sep­tember. (Ryan Goff | Col­legian)

The Hillsdale College Chargers will travel to Lex­ington, Ohio to take on Ashland Uni­versity in their first game of the spring season on Sat­urday at Lakewood Racquet Club at 2 p.m. The Chargers return home on Sunday to host Dav­enport Uni­versity in the Biermann Ath­letic Center. A start time for the game has yet to be announced.

The Chargers won G-MAC regular season cham­pi­onship and the G-MAC tour­nament cham­pi­onship in 2018. They enter the season as clear favorites to repeat as con­ference cham­pions in 2019, according to a recent G-MAC coaches’  poll. Hillsdale received five of seven first-place votes. The Uni­versity of Findlay and Tiffin Uni­versity also received first-place votes.

Junior Freddy Heegan, who joined the team last semester, said he’s enjoying the expe­rience thus far and looking forward to the upcoming season

“Before I started playing in Sep­tember, I hadn’t picked up a racket for two years,” Heegan said. “Since joining, I’ve become closer to the guys on the team and improved a lot. [Head coach Keith] Turner is really good at moti­vating us, and making me feel welcome on the team. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Heegan said during the off­season the team not only pre­pared well but feels con­fident about the upcoming season.

“We’ve put a lot of time into in the off­season and the past few weeks,” Heegan said. “We have good chem­istry and feel pretty opti­mistic about the season, espe­cially coming off of a really good season, last season. We’ve made a few adjust­ments, but have a really good outlook. I think we’ll be ready to hold our own in the G-MAC.”

Heegan said Ashland and Dav­enport aren’t nec­es­sarily intim­i­dating com­pe­tition for Hillsdale, as long as the team sticks to what it knows will pave the way for success.

“Every match – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing — we’re going to prepare the same, and not deviate from the process,” Heegan said. “We’re going to approach it like we would any other match. As the first match, it’s really going to set the tone for the season.”

The Chargers won their only official game in the fall against Indiana Tech Uni­versity on Sept. 18, while Ashland and Dav­enport enter the weekend with no official games on their record from the fall. The Chargers didn’t play Ashland or Dav­enport last season.

Hillsdale’s con­ference schedule begins March 22. Last season, the Chargers went 14 – 6 during the regular season and a perfect 8 – 0 against con­ference oppo­nents.