Third-seeded Middlebury will be in search of a NESCAC crown this weekend when the three-day 2017 NESCAC Women's Squash Championship begins on Friday. Amherst's Davenport Squash Courts will serve as the host for all of this year's championship bracket matches, while Smith's Squash Courts will host select consolation matches on Saturday. The NESCAC Championship match will be played on Sunday, February 5 at 3:00 p.m.
Middlebury will face either No. 6 Tufts or No. 11 Connecticut College in the quarterfinal round. The Panthers and the Jumbos could meet for the first time in the tournament, while Middlebury is 1-0 against the Camels in the championship, having earned a 7-2 victory in the 2008 consolation round.
Tufts is the No. 6 seed for the first time since 2008. The Jumbos went 12-0 to start the year and enter the tournament with a 13-3 record. Tufts is 4-2 against NESCAC teams and will face Connecticut College for the second time in a week. The two teams met on January 28 with the Jumbos coming away with a 7-2 victory over the Camels. A second straight victory over Connecticut College would propel Tufts into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009.
Connecticut College (4-11) is the No. 11 seed for the fourth consecutive season. The Camels are 3-6 against Tufts in the NESCAC Championship. The two teams last faced each other in the consolation round last season with the Jumbos recording an 8-1 victory.
Trinity is the top seed for the 11th straight season and is aiming for its 11th consecutive NESCAC title. The Bantams are 10-1 overall, their only blemish is a 5-4 loss at Penn on January 16. Trinity has won five matches by a 9-0 score and has wins over Yale (8-1) and Drexel (8-1) this season. The Bantams swept Williams, 9-0, to capture the NESCAC title in 2016.
Trinity will face the winner of Friday's first-round match between eighth-seeded Wesleyan and ninth-seeded Colby. The Bantams own 3-0 records against both schools in tournament play. Trinity met Colby in the 2016 quarterfinals, posting an 8-1 win. The Bantams last faced Wesleyan in the quarterfinal round in 2014, defeating the Cardinals 9-0. Trinity only played Colby in the regular season, winning 9-0, in Hartford on December 4.
Wesleyan and Colby will meet up in the first round for the fourth straight season and the fifth time in six years. The Mules, who were the higher seed in each of the last two meetings, have won the last two matches in the first round. Last season Colby handed Wesleyan an 8-1 defeat, while the Mules pulled out a 5-4 victory in 2015. The two teams met twice this year, both earning 5-4 victories to split the series.
Wesleyan enters the 2017 tournament with an 8-8 mark and is the No. 8 seed for the first time since 2014. The Cardinals have won four of their last seven matches, but fell to Little Three rivals Amherst (8-1) and Williams (8-1) to close out the month. Wesleyan is aiming to make its first quarterfinal appearance since 2014 Ninth-seeded Colby owns a record of 8-12. With two straight wins over Wesleyan in the last two years, the Mules look to make their third straight appearance in the quarterfinals. Colby enters the tournament coming off a pair of wins over Wellesley (9-0) and Tufts (7-2).
Williams (15-4) is the No. 2 seed for the third straight year and ninth time overall after posting a 7-0 mark against NESCAC opponents. The Ephs have won 11 of their last 13 matches and finished January with wins over Little Three rivals Wesleyan (8-1) and Amherst (9-0). Williams has advanced to the semifinals each year of the tournament and looks to make an appearance in the championship match for the third straight season.
The Ephs will face the winner of the first-round match between seventh-seeded Bowdoin and No. 10 Hamilton. Williams is 3-0 against the Polar Bears in the tournament. The two teams last met in the 2015 quarterfinals with the Ephs winning 9-0. The Ephs also earned a 9-0 win over Bowdoin on January 6 this season. Williams has played Hamilton only once in the championship, earning a 9-0 win over the Continentals in the 2007 quarterfinals. This season, the Ephs swept the Continentals, 9-0, in Clinton, New York on November 20.
Bowdoin is the seventh seed for the fifth time in championship history. The Polar Bears enter the tournament with a 4-8 record, but earned a 7-2 victory over Hamilton on January 13 when the two teams met in Brunswick, Maine. A victory over the Continentals would put Bowdoin into the quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive season. Hamilton (3-10) is the No. 10 seed for the first time in program history. The Continentals own a 3-2 record over the Polar Bears in NESCAC Championship play. Friday will be the first meeting between the two schools since the 2015 quarterfinal consolation round, where Hamilton recorded a 6-3 win.
Middlebury (8-7) is the No. 3 seed for the third straight year and fifth time in program history. The Panthers own a 5-1 record against NESCAC opponents this season. Middlebury's only setback to a conference foe was a 6-3 decision to Williams on January 20. The Panthers, who are looking to reach the championship match for the first time since 2011, defeated Amherst, 6-3, in the third-place match last season.
Fourth-seeded Bates (12-3) and fifth-seeded Amherst (6-6) have received a first-round bye into Saturday's quarterfinal round. Bates is the fourth seed for the third time in five years and is looking to reach the semifinal round after missing it in 2016 for the first time in seven seasons. Bates has won six straight matches entering the tournament, including an 8-1 win at Amherst on January 22. The Bobcats are 3-0 against the Purple & White in championship play. The two teams last met in the 2015 quarterfinal round with the Bobcats earning a 6-3 win.
Amherst is the fifth seed for the second time in three years. The Purple & White have played in the quarterfinals every season and made its first semifinal appearance in last year. Last season, the Purple & White finished fourth following a 6-3 loss to Middlebury in the third-place match. Amherst split its Little Three matches on January 28 in its last time out. The Purple & White defeated Wesleyan, 8-1, but dropped a 9-0 decision to Williams.
Results for the NESCAC Women's Squash Championship will be available at the end of each day at nescac.com.
2017 NESCAC WOMEN'S SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIP
Championship Schedule - at Amherst
Friday, February 3
Match 1: #8 Wesleyan vs. #9 Colby – 4:30 p.m.
Match 2: #11 Connecticut College vs. #6 Tufts – 4:30 p.m.
Match 3: #7 Bowdoin vs. #10 Hamilton – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 4
Match 4: #4 Bates at #5 Amherst – 8:00 a.m.
Match 5: #1 Trinity vs. Winner Match 1 – 8:00 a.m.
Match 6: #3 Middlebury vs. Winner Match 2 - 9:30 a.m.
Match 7: #2 Williams vs. Winner Match 3 - 9:30 a.m.
Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. Winner Match 5 – 2:00 p.m.
Match 9: Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7 - 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 5
Match 10: Loser Match 8 vs. Loser Match 9 – 1:00 p.m.
Match 11: Winner Match 8 vs. Winner Match 9 - 3:00 p.m.
Consolation Schedule - at Smith
Saturday, February 4
Match A: Loser Match 1 vs. Loser Match 2 – 9:00 a.m.
Match B: Loser Match 1 vs. Loser Match 3 - 12:00 p.m.
Match C: Loser Match 2 vs. Loser Match 3 – 3:00 p.m.
Consolation Schedule - at Amherst
Saturday, February 4
Match D: Loser Match 4 vs. Loser Match 5 – 2:00 p.m.
Match E: Loser Match 6 vs. Loser Match 7 - 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 5
Match F: Loser Match D vs. Loser Match E – 9:00 a.m.
Match G: Winner Match D vs. Winner Match E – 9:00 a.m.
-- Courtesy of the NESCAC --