Middlebury

Women's Squash To Vie For NESCAC Title

January 31, 2012

Trinity College will look to add a sixth conference crown to its trophy case this weekend when the top-seeded Bantams host the 2012 NESCAC Women’s Squash Championship. The three-day tournament features all 11 conference teams with opening round action beginning Friday evening at Trinity’s George A. Kellner Squash Center in Hartford, Conn. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches will take place at Trinity on Saturday and select consolation matches will occur at Wesleyan’s Rosenbaum Squash Center. The tournament wraps up Sunday, Feb. 5, with the final taking place at 1:30 p.m.

Trinity (11-2) enters this year’s championship following a pair of wins last weekend, downing Dartmouth 9-0 on Jan. 28 and Penn 5-4 the following day. The Bantams’ two setbacks this season came within the past month, falling at Yale on Jan. 18, 7-2, and to Harvard on Jan. 21, 8-1. Trinity has already faced half of the tournament field during the 2011-12 campaign, sailing past Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, and Williams by 9-0 scores while taking down Bates 8-1. During the 2011 championship, the Bantams dropped only one game en route to the title with victories over Bowdoin, Bates, and Middlebury, as Trinity has won 13 of 15 matches by 9-0 decisions in the five-year history of the tournament.

Battling for the right to face Trinity in Saturday’s quarterfinals will be ninth-seeded Colby (9-12) and eighth-seeded Wesleyan (10-10). The two squads have already seen each other twice this year, and on both occasions the Cardinals have had the edge in 5-4 finals. The Jan. 18 meeting between the two proved to be the last win for Wesleyan, as the Cardinals have lost their last six matches. The Mules, meanwhile, are 4-6 during that same period. Colby is just 2-8 against NESCAC teams this season, while Wesleyan in 5-6. Last winter, Wesleyan advanced to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row with an 8-1 victory over Tufts. Colby suffered a first round setback in 2011 to Bowdoin, 6-3.

Eleventh-seeded Tufts (7-9) will take on sixth-seeded Amherst (8-7) Friday evening for the chance to take on third-seeded Williams (10-10) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. This will be the second time in two weeks that the Jumbos and Jeffs have seen one another, as Amherst claimed a 9-0 win as part of a 4-1 performance at the Pioneer Valley Invitational on Jan. 20-22. Amherst and Tufts met during the first round of the inaugural tournament in 2007 with the Lord Jeffs posting a 9-0 victory. Amherst is 4-4 against NESCAC foes this season, losing to Williams 9-0 in the Jeffs’ most recent outing on Jan. 28. Tufts is 1-5 against league opponents and has not faced the Ephs this year. Although 10-10 overall, Williams is 7-2 versus NESCAC teams with the only setbacks coming against Trinity, 9-0, and Bates, 7-2. During last year’s NESCAC championship, the Ephs were ousted in the semifinals for the first time ever, falling to Middlebury 6-3.

The third match in Friday’s opening round will pit seventh-seeded Bowdoin (9-9) against tenth-seeded Connecticut College (4-12). The Polar Bears closed out the fall semester with a 7-2 victory over the Camels on Dec. 4, the only meeting between the two prior to this weekend’s tournament. More recently, Bowdoin went 4-2 at the Maine Event with a 9-0 victory against Tufts among the four wins. Connecticut College is looking to make its first-ever quarterfinal appearance, but it won’t be easy, as the Camels hold a 1-9 record against NESCAC teams, the lone win coming over Tufts on Jan. 22, 6-3. Whichever team advances will take on second-seeded Bates (15-4). It’s the highest seeding ever for the Bobcats, who enter the weekend 7-1 in conference competition, the blemish coming at the hands of Trinity on Nov. 20, 8-1. Bates hopes to turn the high seed into a first-ever appearance in Sunday’s championship match. During last year’s tournament, the Bobcats moved past Amherst in the quarterfinals, 6-3, before stumbling to eventual champ Trinity in the semis, 8-1.

For the second year in a row, Hamilton (5-5) will take on Middlebury (6-6) in the quarterfinals. However, unlike last year, both teams will have a first round bye. The Continentals matched their highest seeding in tournament history with the five spot, going 4-2 against the NESCAC teams they have faced. The Panthers head into the weekend as the fourth seed, owning a 3-2 mark against conference opponents. Interestingly enough, the quarterfinal contest between the two will be the first of two over a four-day period, as Hamilton and Middlebury are scheduled to meet on Feb. 8. In 2011, the third-seeded Panthers downed the Continentals 9-0 en route to their first-ever championship appearance, falling to Trinity 9-0 in the final.

COMPLETE BRACKET

--courtesy NESCAC--