With only one week to go until the first of three straight CSA championship weekends, teams will be maneuvering for final rankings position and looking for that final competitive tune-up this weekend.
The only conference tournament on the docket is the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women’s Championship, which kicks off this evening at Trinity College. Along with the NESCAC Women’s Champion, the Ivy League will crown its men’s and women’s champions after the final matches of the round robin take place on Sunday.
Harvard University has a stranglehold on the top spot in both sets of rankings, with both teams undefeated heading into their final two matches. They will look to clinch at least a share of the league titles at home tonight against archrival Yale before they travel to Brown on Sunday with eyes on the outright championships. The Harvard women, in particular, will be eager to clinch a uniquely impressive feat: an undefeated regular season without having dropped an individual match.
The battle for Top-8 positioning on the men’s side will be fierce this weekend. The No. 5 Columbia men hope to bolster their resume and play spoiler in their match at home against No. 2 Penn on Sunday. A Quaker victory will almost certainly solidify the current three-way tie in the second spot of the rankings, forcing a tiebreaker. First, the Lions will have to overcome a tricky road match at No. 8 Princeton this evening. The I-95 corridor north from New York will be abuzz with Club Locker updates on Sunday, as Yale hosts Dartmouth, including a match between the No. 6- and No. 7-ranked men’s teams.
Not to be outdone, there are several other men’s matches with important rankings implications. No. 19 MIT makes a challenging road trip with upsets on the mind, heading to No. 18 Middlebury first on Saturday before traveling down to No. 17 Williams for a Sunday match. Teams moving in opposite directions in recent rankings releases – No. 13 Naval Academy and No. 15 Franklin & Marshall – will meet in a crucial match-up in Annapolis.
At the NESCAC Women’s Championships, No. 3 Trinity will be the heavy favorites on their own courts. If the seedings play out as structured, however, the competition will be fierce for Nationals B Division positioning. One of those matches is already set in the 4-seed-versus-5-seed contest between Amherst and Tufts, who are currently tied at 16th in the latest national rankings. No. 13 Williams and No. 14 Middlebury are the 2- and 3-seeds, respectively, and could meet in a monumental semifinal match. Amherst and Middlebury won those match-ups during the regular season, but the slate is clean when it comes to the conference championships.
Three other regional competitions will provide final competitive playing opportunities before the championship season. Most of the Centennial Conference teams – Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Haverford, and Johns Hopkins – will meet in Lancaster, PA for an informal league championship. The No. 28 Wesleyan men will host a round robin with No. 29 Conn College, No. 34 Fordham, and No. 39 New York University. In the largest competition of the weekend, Virginia will play host to several men’s and women’s teams aiming for crucial additional match experience.
Live Scoring will be available for many matches during the weekend on Club Locker.