The college squash schedule started with two upsets on Friday evening, and then the excitement continued from there for a great weekend of competition.
No. 18 Navy made the tough road trip to Williamstown, Mass. for a showdown with No. 20 Williams, and the hosts were up to the challenge, taking down the higher-ranked Midshipmen 7-2. In one of the first of many NESCAC contests this weekend, the No. 28 Hamilton women staked their claim for a Top-24 spot with an upset win over No. 23 Conn College.
Saturday featured the headlining match of the weekend with the No. 3 Penn men traveling to Hartford to meet No. 2-ranked Trinity. The match was tightly contested throughout, but Trinity went 2-1 in each wave of matches to capture the critical contest 6-3. The No. 2 Trinity women also burnished their resume with a convincing 8-1 win over the Quakers.
Other teams sharing the spotlight on Saturday were the No. 10 Virginia women and the No. 26 Dickinson men. The Cavalier women have gradually worked their way up the rankings, and their match-up with No. 9 Cornell this weekend was the next major test on their march upward. Virginia ultimately outlasted the Big Red, 5-4, to take the next step toward a Top-8 spot. After a slow start in the first semester, the Dickinson men looked to get back on track at home against No. 22 Tufts. Strength at the top of the ladder made the difference for the Red Devils, as they captured five of the top six positions on their way to the 5-4 win.
The notable results on Sunday confirmed just how tight the competition will be for Top-8 positioning for both the men and the women throughout the rest of this season. On the men’s side, two upsets will impact the next set of rankings, due to be released this week.
No. 7 Rochester welcomed No. 6 Yale to upstate New York and took care of business against a depleted Bulldogs squad 7-2. Yale will have to get healthy and remain steady over the next few weeks if they want to hold off two talented teams just behind them who met this weekend. No. 9 George Washington and No. 11 Dartmouth met at Williams, and it was the Big Green who captured the 6-3 upset win. Dartmouth controls their own Top-8 destiny, with matches against Rochester, Yale, and Columbia still to come this season.
For the women, positions four through eight in the team rankings became quite a bit murkier since the beginning of January. After Columbia upset Yale last weekend, they welcomed Stanford and Harvard to the Big Apple on Sunday. Like almost every other match among the teams in these positions, the Stanford-Columbia match finished 5-4 with the Cardinal prevailing in the end. Yale, Drexel, Stanford, Penn, and Columbia all have at least one loss against another team in that group. With several more match-ups between these teams still to come, the battle for Top-8 positioning will be very interesting.
A few local rivalry matches dot the schedule during this week before competition ramps up again in earnest next weekend. Yale welcomes cross-state rival Trinity on Wednesday, while the battle among the northern states continues with Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, and Middlebury all in action.