Hopefully college squash fans have caught their breath after a scintillating weekend of matches.
The contests from Friday to Sunday lived up to the pre-weekend hype with over a third of the matches finishing 5-4 or 6-3 and several upsets being captured throughout.
Things could not have gotten off to a more exciting start with several upsets and close matches playing out on Friday evening. As predicted, Drexel’s trip to Dartmouth proved to be too tall of a task for both higher ranked Dragons squads. Bolstered by the home crowd, Dartmouth captured two upset victories – 6-3 for the men and 5-4 for the women.
Meantime, just down the road at Amherst, the opening night of the Pioneer Valley Invitational was not friendly to higher placed teams. In fairly rapid succession, the No. 27-ranked Conn College men fell to No. 28 Wesleyan and then held off a tough challenge from No. 34 Hobart. Their counterparts, No. 24-ranked Conn College women also suffered a close loss to No. 27 William Smith.
Perhaps the shocker of the night, however, was No. 16 MIT falling 6-3 to No. 22 Amherst on the Mammoths’ home courts. MIT has had a few close matches recently, and it finally caught up to them against a pumped up Amherst squad. The upset throws the rankings into a bit of upheaval, with several teams now in the running for the coveted No. 16 spot and a berth into the Hoehn (B) Division at the National Collegiate Men’s Team Championships.
The close contests continued through the weekend, this time with Yale playing host to the excitement. Not only did Yale capture a few big wins, including a critical 6-3 win for the women against Stanford, but several other teams met on Yale’s courts as well. The Cornell teams may have found a second home in New Haven, going 4-0 on the neutral courts. The No. 14 Cornell men, in particular, had two crucial upset wins against No. 10 George Washington and No. 13 Franklin & Marshall that will boost their candidacy in the next set of rankings.
With the NESCAC Championships only a few weeks away, a few key results will help clarify the placements for that conference tournament. The No. 19 Middlebury men held off challenges from No. 20 Colby and No. 23 Bowdoin, while No. 29 Hamilton upset No. 28 Wesleyan at Amherst.
True to the theme of the weekend, the Virginia-Columbia match-ups in Charlottesville on Sunday also were close contests, as expected. Although the higher-ranked teams – the Virginia men and the Columbia women – avoided upsets, the back-and-forth affairs and close final scorelines (5-4 for the women, 6-3 for the men) were fitting culminations to the weekend.
In other notable results, the top-ranked Harvard teams had another unblemished weekend, this time against Drexel and Rochester. Rochester did hold their standing with their victory against Dartmouth. The Trinity women also handled challenges from Stanford and Cornell.