Three-time defending conference champion Trinity College will be in pursuit of a fourth NESCAC title this weekend during the 2010 NESCAC Women's Squash Championship. The three-day tournament kicks off on Friday afternoon with first round action at Trinity's George A. Kellner Squash Center in Hartford, Conn. The event continues throughout the weekend with championship bracket matches taking place at Trinity and consolation matches at Wesleyan's Rosenbaum Squash Center. The 2010 NESCAC Women's Squash Championship will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 7, with the final taking place at 1:30 p.m.
Trinity (10-1), the number-one seed for the third year in a row, opened up the season with 10-straight victories before falling in its most recent match, a 7-2 setback to Harvard on Saturday afternoon at home. Although seven out of the Bantams' 10 wins have been by 9-0 decisions, there have been some close matches this year for the squad, such as the 5-4 wins over Yale (Jan. 20) and Pennsylvania (Jan. 23). Among conference foes this season, Trinity has only seen Bates and Williams, picking up 9-0 wins over both teams.
Facing the Bantams in Saturday's quarterfinals will be the winner of the first round match between eighth-seeded Wesleyan (10-10) and ninth-seeded Bowdoin (4-9). For the Cardinals, the eighth seed is the highest-ever in tournament history. Wesleyan went into winter break with a 6-3 showing during the first half of the season but has only won four outings since, most recently dropping a pair of 9-0 matches to rivals Amherst and Williams during the Little Three championship. Bowdoin, meanwhile, suffered through a seven-game winless streak during the middle of its 2009-10 campaign but has managed to go 2-2 over its last four matches, highlighted by a win over Columbia (6-3) and a loss to Brown (9-0) this past weekend. The Polar Bears and the Cardinals met in the first round of the 2008 championship, as Bowdoin claimed a 9-0 decision.
Sixth-seeded Hamilton (11-4) will battle No. 11 Connecticut College (6-11) for the second year in a row in the first round. Last winter, the Continentals gained an 8-1 victory over the Camels before falling to Bowdoin in the quarterfinals. This will be the third first-round meeting between the two squads in the history of the tournament, as Hamilton won the initial match by a 5-4 margin in the inaugural 2007 championship. Both teams faced each other just over a week ago at Amherst College with the Continentals coming away with a 9-0 victory. Friday's winner will get the right to face third-seeded Bates (15-6) on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats have only seen the Camels so far this season, posting a 9-0 win over Connecticut College on Nov. 21 at Harvard. More recently, Bates has been victorious in eight of its last 10 matches, the two setbacks coming at the hands of top-seeded Trinity (9-0) on Jan. 17 and to Brown (7-2) this past Sunday. Bates will be looking to return to the semifinals after being edged by Middlebury in the quarterfinals a year ago, 5-4.
Seventh-seeded Colby (11-7) will take on No. 10 Tufts (1-10) in the other first round rematch from last year's championship. In the winter of 2009, the Jumbos managed to edge the Mules by a 5-4 score before falling to eventual champ Trinity in the quarterfinals. The two teams have already met this season with Colby earning a 9-0 win at Tufts on Jan. 23. Heading into the weekend, the Mules are 5-4 over the past two weeks, recording a split against Columbia (9-0 win) and Mount Holyoke (7-2 loss) this past Saturday afternoon. The lone victory for the Jumbos this season occurred on Dec. 3 against Wellesley, 9-0. Friday's winner will face second-seeded Williams (13-5) in the quarterfinals. The Ephs have reached the championship match in each of the last three tournaments, and all three times have fallen by 9-0 scores to eventual tournament winner Trinity - the only conference club that the Ephs have fallen to this season. Last year, Williams rolled past both Amherst and Bowdoin by 9-0 scores to reach the final. Against their potential quarterfinal opponents, the Ephs have already recorded 9-0 wins in 2009-10, downing Tufts on Nov. 22 and Colby on Jan. 9.
Fourth-seeded Middlebury (18-5) and fifth-seeded Amherst (8-5) are the two remaining teams with first round byes. The tandem will face one another for the second time this winter in Saturday's quarterfinals, after the Panthers upended the Jeffs by a 7-2 score on Jan. 9 in Middlebury, Vt. Middlebury has been busy over the past four days, playing in six matches and posting a 4-2 showing that was capped with a 7-2 win at Hamilton on Monday evening. The Panthers put together a 14-game winning streak earlier in the season before a 5-4 loss at Mount Holyoke brought their run to an end. For Amherst, the Jeffs had their own unbeaten streak of six games snapped over the weekend during the Little Three championship with a 9-0 setback to rival Williams on Saturday. Amherst, which earned its highest seed ever in the conference championship this year, has never reached the semifinals, while Middlebury advanced to the round of four for the first time in tournament history in 2009. The two teams have met twice in tournament play in the past three years, the Jeffs winning the first round match in 2008 following a victory by the Panthers in the consolation round in 2007.
Complete results for the championship will be available throughout the weekend at www.nescac.com .
-- courtesy NESCAC --