Undefeated Trinity Looks for Fourth Consecutive Title
HADLEY, Mass. – Trinity College will look to win its fourth consecutive conference title this weekend during the 2010 NESCAC Men’s Squash Championship. The three-day event starts Friday evening 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 on Saturday. The 2010 NESCAC Men’s Squash Championship wraps up on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Trinity (15-0) earned the tournament’s number-one seed for the fourth year in a row. Not surprising, since the 11-time CSA National Champions have not dropped a match in their last 217 outings - the longest winning streak in all of intercollegiate athletics. The Bantams head into the tournament having won each of their last five matches by 9-0 scores, most recently downing Tufts on Friday and Harvard on Saturday. Trinity will face either Colby or Hamilton on Saturday morning, as the Bantams are one of five teams that have earned a bye into the quarterfinals.
Eighth-seeded Colby (8-11) will face ninth-seeded Hamilton (6-11) during one of Friday’s three first round matches. The Mules and the Continentals have already met once this season, just over a week ago during a busy weekend at Amherst College. Colby won the top four matches in the ladder, but it was Hamilton that came away with the 5-4 overall win thanks to victories in the bottom five spots - including 3-2 victories by Hal Lee at No. 5 and George Whiteley at No. 9. The Mules head into the weekend with a bit of momentum, taking 3-of-4 matches this past weekend during the Maine round robin with wins over MIT (9-0), Columbia (9-0), and Denison (5-4), while the Continentals have suffered a setback in three of their last four outings, most recently to Middlebury at home on Monday, 7-2. Hamilton has reached the quarterfinals in each of the last three years, including a 6-3 victory over Colby in the first round of the 2008 tournament. Colby advanced to the quarterfinals last year for the first time with a 6-3 win against Tufts.
No. 11 Wesleyan (7-12) will clash with Amherst (8-6), the sixth seed, for the second time in less than a week. The two squads met at Williams on Saturday afternoon for the Little Three championship, with the Lord Jeffs moving past the Cardinals by an 8-1 score. After starting the season with three straight victories, Amherst lost five-in-a-row before rebounding to win five-straight matches. The streak came to a halt at the hands of rival Williams on Saturday (9-0) during the Little Three championship. Since returning from an early January swing through California, Wesleyan has had some difficulty getting into the win column, as the Cardinals have fallen in each of their last eight contests. Friday afternoon’s winner will advance to take on third-seeded Bates (17-6) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Bobcats have won 11 of their last 12 matches, their lone blemish during that period coming on Sunday to Dartmouth, 6-3. Bates earned a 9-0 win over Wesleyan all the way back on Nov. 21 but has not yet faced Amherst this season. The Bobcats are still in search of their first appearance in the conference finals, having fallen to Williams in the semifinals in each of the last three years.
The remaining first round match will feature No. 10 Connecticut College (11-8) against seventh-seeded Tufts (7-7). These two squads last faced each other in the consolation round of last year’s tournament after both teams were unable to advance past the first day. The Jumbos ended up with a 9-0 victory in what was the second meeting of the 2008-09 season. For Tufts, last year was the first time that the Jumbos were unable to reach the quarterfinals of the championship. Connecticut College, meanwhile, has only made it to Saturday once, during the inaugural tournament in 2007. Winners of four of their last five matches, the Jumbos will have the opportunity for a pre-championship tune-up on Tuesday evening at Northeastern. The Camels are 5-3 through their previous eight matches, including a 7-2 victory against Northeastern on Saturday. Friday’s winner will battle second-seeded Williams (12-6). The Ephs have finished as the runner-up to Trinity in all three of the previous conference championships, last winter downing Hamilton and Bates en route to Sunday’s final. Against league foes this season, Williams is 8-1, the lone setback coming against Trinity on Dec. 12. The Ephs already have a win over the Jumbos, a 9-0 decision which occurred on Nov. 22, but have yet to play the Camels this year.
Earning a first round bye for the fourth year in a row is Bowdoin (10-7), the fourth seed. The Polar Bears went 4-2 this past weekend during the Maine round robin, downing Columbia, Denison, MIT and Stanford all by 9-0 scores on Friday and Saturday before falling to Brown (5-4) and Dartmouth (9-0) on Sunday afternoon. Bowdoin will take on fifth-seeded Middlebury (15-6), the highest seed for the Panthers in the history of the tournament. Middlebury was also productive over the past weekend, putting together a 3-1 showing with wins against Drexel, Haverford and Vassar. The Panthers also came away with a 7-2 victory against Hamilton followed by a 9-0 win over Colgate last night at Hamilton. The only meeting of the season between the Polar Bears and the Panthers went to Bowdoin on Jan. 17 during the Yale round robin. Bowdoin has advanced to the NESCAC semifinals only once, in 2008, while Middlebury has never made it past the quarterfinals.
Complete results for the championship will be available throughout the weekend at www.nescac.com.