On the last weekend of match play for colleges before the winter break, teams always want to finish on high note. With finals and the holidays looming, a successful weekend can really set the tone for the critical second half of the season.
No team will be riding higher heading into the break than the Drexel men, who swept three huge matches at home to close the fall season. After dispatching No. 15 St. Lawrence comfortably on Friday night, two top-10 foes awaited the Dragons on the weekend.
No. 5 Yale came calling on Saturday, but Drexel’s No. 11-ranked men came out firing, ultimately shocking the Bulldogs by a 6-3 score. Drexel’s depth proved to be the difference with the Dragons winning at positions seven through nine. Less than 24 hours later, University of Rochester’s No.6-ranked squad arrived on the heels of a tough 2-7 loss to No. 3 Penn. Drexel jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first wave of matches and then had to hold on as Rochester came roaring back. In the end, Drexel freshman Gautam Nagpal prevailed in a very tight four-game match at No. 8 for the clincher.
In their bid to make it a clean sweep for Drexel teams, the No. 8 Drexel women fell to an experienced No. 5 Yale squad, 3-6.
Drexel was not the only team to post upsets on the weekend. Brown’s No. 18 men’s team traveled to Boston to take on No. 17 MIT, and they successfully avenged their loss in the Summers Cup championship match a season ago with a 6-3 road victory. Also, for the first time in program history, the No. 36 Bard men bested their Liberty League foes Hobart College, No. 32, by a close 5-4 scoreline.
Wesleyan University, hosting a large round robin with eight other teams present, posted some impressive results, including the women’s team winning three out of four matches on Saturday alone. Only Bates College spoiled Wesleyan’s perfect weekend with a pair of wins over the Cardinals.
In the first match of Ivy League play for both teams, Cornell welcomed Columbia for critical match-ups on Sunday. While close matches were expected for both matches, the higher ranked Columbia teams emerged unscathed with two secure victories.
Other notable results of the weekend include the second-ranked Trinity teams cruising to comfortable 9-0 victories over Bates and Colby, Tufts sweeping conference foes Bowdoin, albeit with a tight 5-4 win for the men, and the New York University and Fordham men sweeping all visitors to the Big Apple.