Princeton, NJ and Philadelphia, PA — The finals are set for all divisions at the 2012 Men’s National Team Championships.
Potter Cup (A Division): Trinity College will attempt to win a fourteenth consecutive national title when they take on tournament hosts Princeton in the Potter Cup final tomorrow at 12:30 pm. These two squads have a history: the last time the Men’s National Team Championships were held at Princeton, the two teams met in the finals. That match came down to the fifth game of the final individual match, when Trinity’s Baset Chaudhry defeated Princeton’s Mauricio Sanchez to claim the 2009 national title. Chaudhry and Sanchez have graduated, but a new group of players is eager to make history of their own. Trinity hosted Princeton in early February, and the Bantams won that match 7-2. But Princeton packed the stands today for their semifinal match against Cornell, and tomorrow the Tigers will have home court advantage. Both squads were pushed hard by their semifinal opponents, and if history tells us anything, it’s that tomorrow’s final could be one for the books.
In the consolation bracket, Yale defeated Dartmouth and Rochester defeated F&M. Yale and Rochester will play for 5th and 6th in the tournament tomorrow, and Dartmouth and F&M will play for 7th and 8th.
Hoehn Cup (B Division): Penn looks to claim the B Division title that eluded them last season when they lost in the 2011 finals to Western Ontario. Penn, the top seed in the division this year, advanced to the finals with a 5-4 win over St. Lawrence. They’ll be facing a surging Columbia squad, whose 5-4 win over Williams in the semifinals was a program first that guarantees them their highest finish ever at the Men’s National Team Championships. The two teams played on February 10, and in that meeting Penn won 7-2. Will Columbia be able to continue their historic run into the finals, or will Penn take the Hoehn Cup back to Philadelphia?
Summers Cup (C Division): George Washington has been to the C Division finals before; last season they narrowly lost the Summers Cup to Bowdoin. They’ll have a shot at the title again, but they will have to go through Colby, who have already pulled off two upsets over Amherst and Hamilton. The two teams have not yet played this season, so expect the unexpected.
Conroy Cup (D Division): Both teams in the Conroy Cup finals have had to battle to get there. Tufts defeated Georgetown by one match thanks to wins from five players: Zachary Schweitzer at #1, Alex Nalle at #2, Henry Miller at #3, Gordon Silverman at #6, and Elliot Kardon at #8. Hobart also advanced to the finals with a 5-4 win. Daniel Pelaez at #2, McGee O’Neil at #3, Kevin Kent at #5, William Boyle at #6, and Grant Bercari at #7 all earned wins over Northeastern. Another 5-4 match may be in the cards for the final. When the two teams played in late January, Tufts won 5-4, and tomorrow it could go either way.
Chaffee Cup (E Division): Traffic almost kept Bucknell from making it to their first round match, and it’s a good thing the Bison made it. They regrouped and swept Washington University in St. Louis and went on to defeat Denison 7-2 in the semifinals today. BC’s trip to the finals was somewhat less eventful, although they had competitive matches with Vassar (7-2) and Cal (6-3) along the way. The two teams have not played each other nor have they played any common opponents this season. While BC is seeded first in the division and Bucknell is seeded second, the title is up for grabs.
Serues Cup (F Division): On paper, Haverford and Virginia have had similar paths to the finals. Second-seeded Haverford swept Bryant in the opening round, and they defeated Illinois Champaign 8-1 in the semifinals. Third-seeded Virginia likewise blanked Lehigh in their opener and won 8-1 over Swarthmore in the semis. Of all those matches, the Virginia-Swarthmore contest was the closest with four four-game individual matches, but in general the Cavaliers and Fords have had dominant performances en route to the final. Against common opponents, Haverford lost to Georgetown 3-6 in October and defeated Ithaca 5-4 in November, while Virginia lost to Georgetown 2-7 in February and swept Ithaca in January. But the score will be even when the two teams step on court tomorrow at 2 pm, and it could be anyone’s match.
Hawthorn Cup (G Division): The top two seeds in the Hawthorn Cup have advanced to the finals. Charleston and Boston University will square off early Sunday at Penn. Charleston’s road to the finals went through Ithaca and Sewanee. BU narrowly defeated Northwestern in the quarterfinals, and they beat New York University in the semis. Although both teams won their semifinal matches 7-2, Charleston had a real duel with Sewanee while BU only had one match go past three games against NYU. Will that give the Terriers an edge, or will Charleston pull off an upset and take home their first division title?
Emerging Teams: Minnesota earned their first National Championships win in program history with a 6-0 victory over Duke. Tomorrow Maryland will play Duke, and Minnesota will play Bard. Maryland is currently leading the round robin with two victories, and Bard and Minnesota have one win apiece.