Fifth-seeded Middlebury will be in pursuit of a conference title this weekend when the three-day 2014 NESCAC Women’s Squash Championship begins on Friday. An institution other than Trinity will be hosting the championship for the first time in the history of the event, as Hamilton’s Little Squash Center will serve as the host for this year’s championship bracket matches, while select consolation matches will take place at Colgate’s Huntington Gymnasium. The NESCAC title will be decided on Sunday, February 2 at 1:30 p.m.
After falling to Harvard in its sixth overall College Squash Association (CSA) National Championship Final appearance last year, Trinity has rolled to an 8-0 mark this winter, including wins against national powers, Penn, Yale and Stanford over the past 10 days. Trinity has registered victories over Bates and Bowdoin thus far this season.
The Bantams cruised to the NESCAC title last year, dropping just one match in wins over Hamilton, Bates and Williams. In the seven-year history of the tournament, they have shut out 17 of their 21 opponents.
Battling for the right to take on Trinity in Saturday’s quarterfinal will be eighth-seeded Wesleyan (8-7) and ninth-seeded Colby (4-11). The Cardinals, who opened the season with six straight wins, came out on top, 6-3, when the two squads met on January 18 at the Amherst Round Robin. Wesleyan will be looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time in program history, while the Mules aim to make their first semifinal appearance since 2008. In conference championship play, the series is split 1-1, as Colby defeated Wesleyan, 9-0, in the first round in 2007 and the Cardinals won, 5-4, in the first round in 2012.
Bates (8-5) received its second ever No. 2-seed, as it looks to make its seventh overall semifinal appearance. The Bobcats, who also earned the second seed in 2012, posted a record of 6-1 versus NESCAC foes. The lone blemish on their record is a loss to Trinity on November 23, but they bounced back by winning five-consecutive matches.
Bates will await the winner of the first round match between seventh-seeded Bowdoin (6-10) and 10th-seeded Tufts (7-8). Four of the six Polar Bear wins have come against conference opponents, including Tufts, which Bowdoin defeated, 9-0, back on November 23. The Jumbos carry some momentum into the weekend, having won four of their last six contests. Bowdoin has made two semifinal appearances in 2007 and 2009, while Tufts is looking to make its first quarterfinal appearance since 2009. In the only NESCAC Championship meeting between the programs, the Polar Bears defeated Tufts, 9-0, in the first round last year.
Third-seeded Williams (12-9) will be looking to return to the NESCAC Finals for the sixth time. The Ephs have posted a solid 8-1 mark against NESCAC opponents this season, with their only loss coming to Bates on January 11. They swept Amherst and Wesleyan over the weekend to secure their 15th consecutive Little Three Title.
Williams will face the winner of the first round contest between sixth-seeded Amherst (4-7) and eleventh-seeded Connecticut College (6-11). The Jeffs were 2-3 against league opponents, while the Camels were 0-8. Both squads have never met in the NESCAC Championship. Connecticut College will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time ever, while Amherst is looking for its first semifinal appearance.
Fourth-seeded Hamilton (9-3) and fifth-seeded Middlebury (6-6) has received a first round bye into Saturday’s quarterfinal round. The Continentals, who are in pursuit of their first semifinal bid after making eight consecutive quarterfinal appearances, earned their highest seed in the history of the program. Hamilton is 5-2 versus NESCAC opponents, and is riding a five-match winning streak into the weekend and has yet to lose on its home courts. The Panthers are seeking their sixth straight semifinal round appearance and second final appearance after playing in the 2011 NESCAC Final. Middlebury, which is 3-2 against conference rivals, has knocked the Continentals out of the championship each of the last two years by the scores of 9-0. This season Hamilton defeated Middlebury, 5-4, at Little Squash Center.
Results for the NESCAC Women’s Squash Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.
2014 NESCAC WOMEN’S SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIP
Championship Schedule - at Hamilton
Friday, January 31
Match 1: #8 Wesleyan vs. #9 Colby - 7 p.m.
Match 2: #6 Amherst vs. #11 Conn. College - 5 p.m.
Match 3: #7 Bowdoin vs. #10 Tufts - 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 1
Match 4: #4 Hamilton vs. #5 Middlebury - 12 p.m.
Match 5: #1 Trinity vs. Winner Match 1 - 12 p.m.
Match 6: #3 Williams vs. Winner Match 2 - 1:30 p.m.
Match 7: #2 Bates vs. Winner Match 3 - 1:30 p.m.
Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. Winner Match 5 - 6 p.m.
Match 9: Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7 - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 2
Match 10: Loser Match 8 vs. Loser Match 9 - 12 p.m.
Match 11: Winner Match 8 vs. Winner Match 9 - 1:30 p.m.
Consolation Schedule - at Colgate
Saturday, February 2
Match A: Loser Match 2 vs. Loser Match 3 - 9:30 a.m.
Match B: Loser Match 1 vs. Loser Match 2 - 12:15 p.m.
Match C: Loser Match 1 vs. Loser Match 3 - 3 p.m.
Consolation Schedule - at Hamilton
Saturday, February 2
Match D: Loser Match 4 vs. Loser Match 5 - 6 p.m.
Match E: Loser Match 6 vs. Loser Match 7 - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 3
Match F: Loser Match D vs. Loser Match E - 10:30 a.m.
Match G: Winner Match D vs. Winner Match E - 10:30 a.m.