Two-Time Defending Champion Trinity Once Again Earns Top Seed, First Round Bye
HADLEY, Mass. - Trinity College will look to earn a third NESCAC crown this weekend when the two-time defending champion Bantams compete in the 2009 NESCAC Women’s Squash Championship. The three-day event begins Friday afternoon with first round action at Trinity’s George A. Kellner Squash Center in Hartford, Conn. The tournament continues throughout the weekend with championship bracket matches taking place at Trinity and consolation matches at Wesleyan’s Rosenbaum Squash Center. The 2009 NESCAC Women’s Squash Championship concludes with the final match on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 2:00 p.m.
Top-seeded Trinity (7-1) had its seven-match streak halted on Saturday in a 5-4 setback to Pennsylvania. The Bantams’ only other close match so far this season came against Yale on Jan. 21 with host Trinity earning a 5-4 win. Against NESCAC foes, the Bantams hold a 3-0 record, claiming 9-0 wins over Amherst (12/2), Tufts (11/21) and Williams (12/6) this year. Trinity will play in one of the two early quarterfinal contest on Saturday, Jan. 31, against the winner of the Tufts-Colby contest.
Eighth-seeded Tufts (1-6) will take on ninth-seeded Colby (7-7) in what will be the first meeting between the two squads since February of 2006, a match the Mules won 6-3. The Jumbos earned their first win of the season on Saturday in a 7-2 decision over Connecticut College. The Mules went 4-2 in six matches over this past weekend, claiming victories over Franklin & Marshall (5-4), Smith (9-0), Wesleyan (5-4) and William Smith (5-4). Against NESCAC opponents this season, Tufts holds a 1-4 record while Colby is 2-4. The Jumbos advanced to the quarterfinals during last year’s championship over Wesleyan, while the Mules made it to the semifinals in 2008 after earning a first round bye, falling to eventual champion Trinity 9-0.
The other early first round match on Friday features seventh-seeded Amherst (10-7) against No. 10 Wesleyan (8-8). The Jeffs had a successful weekend at the Smith/Mt. Holyoke Invitational, winning all four of their matches, while the Cardinals came away with a 2-3 showing at the event, picking up victories over Smith (7-2) and William Smith (9-0). Amherst has posted a 3-2 mark against conference foes while Wesleyan holds a 1-4 record, and these two teams are scheduled to meet on Feb. 7. The winner of Friday’s contest will go on to face Little Three rival and second-seeded Williams (8-7) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Ephs earned a road split on Sunday, falling to Cornell 8-1 but coming away with a 9-0 decision over Hamilton. With a 5-1 record against NESCAC teams so far this season, Williams will face Stanford on Friday evening. The Ephs have finished as the runner-up to Trinity at each of the last two NESCAC championships.
The final first round game will feature sixth-seeded Hamilton (8-5) facing No. 11 Connecticut College (3-13). These two teams have already clashed once this season, with the Continentals winning 7-2 all the way back on Nov. 23. Hamilton is an even 3-3 since the start of 2009 and holds a 4-3 against conference foes this season. The Camels’ only victory in January came against Wellesley on Jan. 18, an 8-1 decision, and they are currently 0-8 against NESCAC opponents, most recently falling 7-2 to Tufts on Jan. 24 and 9-0 to Bates on Jan. 25. Friday’s winner will move on to meet third-seeded Bowdoin (6-7) on Saturday morning. The Polar Bears have already recorded a win against both programs this season, earning an 8-1 victory against Connecticut College on Nov. 22 and a 6-3 win over Hamilton on Jan. 17. After falling 8-1 at Brown on Saturday, the Polar Bears rebounded Tuesday evening with a hard-fought 5-4 victory at Maine rival Bates.
Fourth-seeded Middlebury (15-5) will meet fifth-seeded Bates (5-7) in the quarterfinals on Saturday morning. The Panthers edged the Bobcats by a 5-4 score nearly three weeks ago, part of a stretch that has seen Middlebury win seven out of eight matches. Bates went 1-1 in its most recent outings over the weekend, falling to Yale on Saturday 9-0 but rebounding with a win over Connecticut College on Sunday 9-0. The Bobcats dropped a heartbreaker to Bowdoin on Tuesday night, 5-4. During last year’s tournament, Bates advanced out of the quarterfinals with an 8-1 win over Tufts before succumbing to Williams 9-0 in the semifinals. Middlebury, meanwhile, has never advanced to the semifinals.