HADLEY, Mass. - Top-seeded Trinity looks to hoist its tenth straight conference trophy this weekend when the three-day 2016 NESCAC Men’s Squash Championship opens on Friday, February 5. Trinity’s George A. Kellner Squash Center will serve as the host for all of this year’s championship bracket matches, while Wesleyan’s Rosenbaum Squash Center will host select consolation matches on Saturday. The NESCAC Championship match will be played on Sunday, February 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Reigning College Squash Association (CSA) National Champion Trinity has posted an unblemished 14-0 record so far this season with wins against national powers Penn, Harvard and Yale. The Bantams also registered victories over NESCAC opponents Bates and Bowdoin on December 5. Last year, Trinity defeated the Polar Bears and the Bobcats on the way to the final match against Williams, which the Bantams have battled in the title bout of every conference championship.
| 2016 NESCAC Men's Squash Championship
Hosted by Trinity/Wesleyan
Trinity will face the winner of Friday’s first-round match between eighth-seeded Amherst (4-6) and ninth-seeded Tufts (6-5). The Purple & White have appeared in the quarterfinals every year, but have not reached the semifinals since 2009. The Jumbos, who achieved their highest seed since 2010 when they were the No. 7 seed, last appeared in the quarterfinal round in the same year. The programs did not meet during the season, but Amherst is undefeated against Tufts in conference championship play with a 3-0 mark, including an 8-1 win in a 2012 first-round match.
Middlebury (10-3) earned the No. 2 seed for the first time in program history courtesy of a 6-0 record against NESCAC opponents, including a 5-4 win at Bates on January 8 and the Panthers’ first-ever win over Williams (7-2) on January 23. The Panthers aim to reach their first NESCAC final after placing fourth each of the last three years. Middlebury’s best finish at the NESCAC Championship came in 2011 and 2012 when the Panthers placed third.
Middlebury will face the winner of the first-round match between seventh-seeded Bowdoin (5-11) and tenth-seeded Hamilton (4-12). The Polar Bears have a pair of wins over NESCAC opponents, including an 8-1 win over the Continentals on January 23. Bowdoin has reached the quarterfinal round each year of the NESCAC Championship, but has not advanced to the semifinals since 2010. Hamilton aims to play in its second quarterfinal round in five years, with its most recent quarterfinal appearance coming in 2013. Last year, the programs squared off in the first round, with No. 8 Bowdoin coming out on top by the score of 8-1. The Polar Bears won the only other conference championship meeting between the teams in the quarterfinal consolation round, 9-0.
Bates (9-6) is seeded third for the first time since 2013 and the sixth time overall after posting a 6-2 record against NESCAC opponents, including a 6-3 victory over Williams on January 9. After dropping a pair of tight 5-4 matches two weeks ago, the Bobcats have got back on track by winning their last four contests heading into the NESCAC Championship. Bates has advanced to the semifinal round every year, but looks to appear in its first final after placing third each of the last three seasons and seven times overall.
The winner of Friday’s match between sixth-seeded Wesleyan (7-3) and 11th-seeded Connecticut College (2-11) will earn the right to take on Bates. After losing their first two matches of the season, the Cardinals have come on strong, winning seven of their last eight matches. During that stretch, Wesleyan pulled out a trio of tight victories against Amherst, Bowdoin and Colby by identical 5-4 scores. The Cardinals have finished fifth each of the last two years after suffering 5-4 quarterfinal losses to Middlebury. The Camels are facing a different opponent in the first round for the first time since 2012, having previously played Amherst each of the last three years. Connecticut College is pursuing its third overall quarterfinal appearance, with its most recent appearance coming in 2012. Wesleyan handed the Camels an 8-1 loss on December 11 in the only meeting between the programs this season. In NESCAC Championship meetings, the Cardinals claim a 3-0 lead over Connecticut College, but the teams have not played since the 2011 consolation round.
Fourth-seeded Williams (6-11) and fifth-seeded Colby (10-5) have received first-round byes and will square off in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. The Ephs are 5-2 against league opponents, most recently recording a pair of 8-1 wins over Amherst and Wesleyan on Sunday. Williams is in pursuit of reaching its tenth consecutive NESCAC final, but will have to do so for the first time as the No. 4 seed. The Mules earned the No. 5 seed for the second consecutive year after going 8-1 in their last nine matches. This is Colby’s fifth overall quarterfinal appearance, but it has yet to reach the semifinals. The two teams have never met in the NESCAC Championship.
Results for the NESCAC Men’s Squash Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.