Four-Time Champ Trinity Looks to Continue Winning Ways This Weekend
HADLEY, Mass. – Trinity College, winners of the last four conference crowns, will look to add to its storied legacy this weekend during the 2011 NESCAC Men's Squash Championship. The three-day tournament begins Friday evening with three first round matches at Trinity's George A. Kellner Squash Center and continues through the weekend with championship bracket matches taking place at Trinity and select consolation matches at Wesleyan's Rosenbaum Squash Center. The championship wraps up on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Trinity (11-0) garnered the top seed in the NESCAC championship for the fifth year in a row, which is not very surprising considering the 12-time CSA National Champions have not lost in their last 235 matches - the longest winning streak in all of intercollegiate athletics. While the Bantams once again enter the tournament without a loss, they have not been as dominant against opponents. A year ago, Trinity won all five matches leading up to the NESCAC championship by 9-0 scores. This winter, the Bantams have won only two of their last five matches by 9-0 decisions. Even still, the Bantams managed to handily move past everyone they have faced, including a 7-2 win over Yale on Jan. 19 and, more recently, an 8-1 win against Middlebury on Monday. During last year's championship, Trinity downed Hamilton and Bowdoin by 8-1 scores before earning a 9-0 victory over Williams for the NESCAC title.
Trinity will face the winner of Friday's first round match between eighth-seeded Colby (11-9) and ninth-seeded Hamilton (2-11) in a rematch of last year's eight-nine contest. In 2010, the lower-seeded Continentals upended the higher-seeded Mules and advanced to the quarterfinals for the fourth year in a row with a 5-4 decision. This season, Hamilton has struggled to get into the win column, earning victories over Tufts on Jan. 22 and Drexel on Jan. 29. Colby, meanwhile, has been impressive as of late, winning nine of its last 11 matches, including its last five in a row. The recent hot streak started on Jan. 21 with a 6-3 victory over Hamilton in the lone meeting so far this season. A win for the Mules on Friday would put them into the quarterfinals for only the second time in tournament history, as they last advanced past day one in 2009 before falling to eventual champ Trinity, 9-0.
No. 11 Connecticut College (5-13) faces sixth-seeded Bowdoin (7-8) for the second time in less than a week. The Polar Bears rolled to an 8-1 victory over the Camels on Jan. 30, their fourth-straight win. While Bowdoin has been heating up at the right time of the season, Connecticut College will be looking for their second win since the start of the New Year this Friday. The Camels' only quarterfinal appearance came during the inaugural championship in 2007, falling to Trinity 9-0. The Polar Bears have benefitted from a first round bye in each of the last four years, reaching the semifinals twice. Friday's winner will then take on third-seeded Bates (14-7). The Bobcats handed the Camels a 9-0 decision last weekend but have yet to face the rival Polar Bears this season, as their scheduled meeting will take place following the tournament on Feb. 11. Bates has reached the semifinals every year the tournament has been held, and in every year the Bobcats have come up short in their quest to reach the championship to Williams.
Seventh-seeded Wesleyan (10-7) will take on No. 10 Tufts (4-12) in the remaining first round contest. The Cardinals' seeding in this year's championship is their best-ever, as they had never been seeded higher than 11th in the previous four tournaments. Although Wesleyan came up short during the Little Three championship against fellow NESCAC members Amherst and Williams this past weekend, it has registered victories over Tufts, Colby, and a pair of wins over Connecticut College this year. The Jumbos will be looking to get back in the win column after falling in their last six outings, and history may be on their side. Tufts has won its first round match in three of the last four years, including two decisions over Wesleyan, while the Cardinals are hoping to pick up a win on Friday for the first time in tournament history. Friday's victor will meet second-seeded Williams (9-8). The Ephs are 7-0 against conference foes, posting 9-0 victories over both Tufts and Wesleyan. Williams made it to Sunday's final for the fourth consecutive year last winter, downing Tufts 9-0 in the quarterfinals before dispatching Bates 6-3 in the semifinals. The Ephs enter the weekend having won five of their last seven matches, including the Little Three title on Jan. 29.
Fourth-seeded Middlebury (8-6) and fifth-seeded Amherst (10-7) received a first round bye and will meet on Saturday. The Panthers claimed the only meeting between the two this season back on Jan. 15 during the Pioneer Valley Invitational, recording an 8-1 victory over the Lord Jeffs. Although Middlebury has struggled as of late, going 1-5 over its last six matches, the Panthers have managed to record some impressive wins this season, including edging Bates by a 5-4 score on Jan. 21, and have lost only one match to a member of the tournament field. The Jeffs have won six of their last eight outings, most recently suffering a 7-2 setback to rival Williams which snapped a four-game winning streak. Amherst has managed to reach the semifinals on two occasions, both times advancing to face Trinity. Middlebury will be looking to move into the semifinal round for the first time in tournament history after coming up short to Bowdoin in last year's quarterfinals, 8-1.
Complete results for the championship will be available throughout the weekend at www.nescac.com.