Trinity in Search of Third NESCAC Title
HADLEY, Mass. - Two-time NESCAC Champion Trinity College will be in search of its third conference crown this weekend during the 2009 NESCAC Men’s Squash Championship. The three-day event, hosted by Trinity and Wesleyan, begins on Friday with three first round matches at Trinity’s George A. Kellner Squash Center. The tournament continues throughout the weekend with championship bracket matches taking place at Trinity and select consolation matches at Wesleyan’s Rosenbaum Squash Center. The 2009 NESCAC Men’s Squash Championship concludes with the final match on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 2:00 p.m.
It may surprise few that Trinity (8-0) enters the weekend with the top seed in the tournament for the third year in a row, as the Bantams hold a remarkable 191-match winning streak and have claimed the last 10 CSA National Championships. Trinity most recently picked up 9-0 victories over Yale and Pennsylvania along with an 8-1 decision over NESCAC foe Bates, the lone team to take a game from the Bantams this season. The Bantams are one of five teams that have earned a first round bye and will begin competition in the 11-team tournament on Saturday morning.
Playing for the right to face Trinity on Saturday will be eighth-seeded Tufts (4-6) and ninth-seeded Colby (5-7). The last meeting between these two squads occurred in 2007-08 with Tufts earning an 8-1 victory, the third consecutive victory for the Jumbos over the Mules. After a rocky start to the season, Tufts earned wins in two of its three matches over the weekend, downing Denison 5-4 and Connecticut College 8-1 on Saturday. Colby meanwhile will be looking to bounce back after surrendering four of its last five outings, the lone win coming against Wesleyan 8-1 on Jan. 23. Against NESCAC foes this season, the Jumbos are 1-2 while the Mules hold a 2-3 record.
No. 11 Wesleyan (1-8) will square off against sixth-seeded Middlebury (10-6) in a rematch of the Jan. 18 tilt between the two that went to the Panthers, 8-1. After opening the season with a win over MIT on Nov. 22, 8-1, the Cardinals have struggled to earn another victory, most recently falling to Colby 8-1. The Panthers, meanwhile, have been victorious in five of their last six outings, the lone setback a slim 5-4 loss to Bowdoin on Jan. 16. Middlebury reached the championship quarterfinals for the first time last year as the eighth seed, downing Connecticut College 6-3 before falling to eventual champion Trinity, while Wesleyan has never advanced out of the first round. Friday evening’s winner will face third-seeded Bates (8-6) on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats are 5-3 over the past two weeks, their latest outing an 8-1 decision against Connecticut College on Jan. 25. Bates has already earned 9-0 victories over both Middlebury (Jan. 11) and Wesleyan (Jan. 17) this season, and holds a 4-2 record against NESCAC foes. The Bobcats have moved out of the quarterfinals in each of the last two conference tournaments but have fallen to Williams, a potential semifinal opponent this year, in the semifinals both times.
The remaining first round match pits No. 10 Connecticut College (1-12) against seventh-seeded Hamilton (7-6). The Continentals won the previous meeting this season, 8-1 on Nov. 23 at Dartmouth. Hamilton is 4-3 since the start of the New Year, earning a 7-2 win over Northeastern and dropping 9-0 decisions to Dartmouth and Williams this past weekend. Connecticut College is looking to snap a three-match skid, as the Camels’ only win of the season came on Jan. 18 against Stanford, 6-3. The winner of Friday’s contest will take on second-seeded Williams (6-7) in the quarterfinals. The Ephs split their last two matches on the road, falling to Cornell 8-1 but overcoming Hamilton 9-0 on Jan. 25. Williams owns a 4-1 record against NESCAC foes this season. The Ephs have also finished as runner-up to Trinity in each of the previous two conference championships.
Fourth-seeded Bowdoin (5-10) will meet fifth-seeded Amherst (4-7) in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row. During the 2007 tournament, the Lord Jeffs advanced with a 6-3 win over the Polar Bears, however in 2008 it was Bowdoin that earned the quarterfinal victory over Amherst, 7-2. Although these two teams have not faced each other previously this season, the Polar Bears hold a 4-2 mark against NESCAC opponents while the Jeffs are 1-1 in meetings against league foes. Bowdoin will look to snap a two-match slide after recently falling to Bates (9-0) and Brown (8-1). Amherst heads into the weekend having halted a six-match skid with a 7-2 win at Hobart on Jan. 24.