College squash action was in full gear this past weekend as the run-in to the championship weekends began in earnest. Teams were active all over the map, including club round robin competitions in Baltimore and Palo Alto, CA.
As anticipated, the mid-Atlantic region was the hub of many of the weekend’s closest matches, especially on the men’s side. Franklin & Marshall hosted four 5-4 matches on its own, while Penn battled Trinity on Drexel’s courts.
The men’s matches in Lancaster showed just how tight the competition for a B Division spot is going to be this year. No. 14 Virginia beat No. 17 F&M and No. 18 Middlebury by 5-4 scores, but F&M recovered for two 5-4 victories of its own against No. 16 Cornell and Middlebury. Cornell, itself, handled a quick turnaround with a 7-2 upset victory over host No. 13 Navy.
The No. 4 Trinity men traveled down to Philadelphia to take on newly-minted No. 1 Penn. As expected, the match was close, but Trinity prevailed in an upset, handing Penn their first loss of the season, 6-3. Trinity’s 3rd-ranked women’s did not suffer the same fate of the higher seeded team against No. 5 Penn, prevailing handily 8-1.
In other notable men’s matches, No. 3 Harvard and No. 6 Dartmouth made the upstate New York swing to visit No. 2 Rochester and No. 11 St. Lawrence. Harvard solidified its position as a team to beat with a 2-0 weekend, sweeping St. Lawrence and beating Rochester 7-2. Dartmouth lost to Rochester, but then squeezed out a 5-4 victory over the Saints on Sunday.
In addition, No. 37 Bucknell showed their skill as one of the top men’s club teams with victories over No. 32 Fordham and No. 34 New York University. Fordham, themselves, upset No. 30 Hamilton later in the day on Saturday.
Fewer matches on the women’s side produced notably close matches, but the results show again that competition for a Top-16 place will be exciting. No. 19 Bates were active in Massachusetts, first losing to No. 17 Tufts 3-6 on Friday night. The Bobcats recovered over the next two days, though, handing a spirited No. 25 Mount Holyoke squad an 8-1 loss and then upsetting No. 16 Amherst 5-4 on Sunday.
Other matches between closely ranked teams proved to be lopsided contests. No. 12 Cornell traveled to No. 13 George Washington and came away with a 9-0 victory, while No. 15 Williams upended Amherst by the same score. On Friday evening, Mount Holyoke hosted No. 24 William Smith and scored the upset, also 9-0.
We would be remiss if we did not include a special shout-out to The Jesters Club, who provided significant support to two club squash round robins this weekend. Thank you!