After a wildly exciting first month of 2020, the calendar turns to February this weekend, the last month of the college squash regular season. Although there are not as many matches between teams right next to each other in the polls this weekend, the spotlight will still be just as bright as teams look for those extra wins polish their records.
Critical match-ups among Ivy League foes take center stage this weekend with both men’s and women’s top-8 positioning hanging in the balance.
The Yale women – currently ranked No. 4 – face the toughest challenge and arguably have the most to play for. An upset at No. 2 Princeton on Saturday would give Yale two wins over the top three teams and an even stronger case for a higher ranking. The Bulldogs will need to bounce back quickly from that match because a showdown in Philadelphia with No. 5 Penn looms large on Sunday. The No. 8 Yale men have a difficult road ahead as well, taking on No. 4 Princeton and No. 3 Penn on back-to-back days.
Dartmouth, coming off two big victories and a jump into A Division contention, also make a southern swing, taking on Cornell (Saturday) and Columbia (Sunday). The Dartmouth women’s move to No. 7 in the rankings bumped Columbia to No. 9, but the Lions will be on the prowl looking to reverse that change with a win. With the women’s teams ranked 5 through 9 closer than ever, many eyes around the CSA will be on that match this weekend.
There is also a logjam around the lower end of the B Division for both men and women, and this weekend’s results could go a long way toward clarifying both pictures.
Newly-minted No. 16 Williams men will play a prominent role with a busy weekend ahead. After leapfrogging No. 17 MIT in the latest standings, Williams travels to Cambridge to meet the Engineers head-to-head on Saturday. There will be no rest for the weary, though, as the Ephs return to western Massachusetts on Sunday for the Little Three competition against Amherst and Wesleyan. Amherst, currently tied for 20th after upsetting MIT last weekend, will aim to play spoiler again on their home courts.
On the women’s side, there is already a three-way tie for 15th between Amherst, Bates, and Middlebury, but the weekend’s matches could break up that deadlock thanks to matches with No. 18 Franklin & Marshall, No. 19 Tufts, and No. 20 Wesleyan. With five of those six teams being competitors in the NESCAC, this weekend’s results take on an added layer of importance due to the NESCAC women’s championships being right around the corner.
Another team with a challenging weekend ahead is the No. 24 Hamilton women. Currently seeded in the last position in the Walker (C) Division, they will want to solidify their place with strong performances against No. 26 Colby and No. 23 William Smith on Saturday.
Several club teams also have busy weekends ahead as they look to gain their first taste of match experience in the spring semester.
The order of play for the week from January 30 to February 5 is:
- 3-court system: 1,3,2 / 4,5,6 / 7,9,8
- 5-court system: 2,1 / 4,3 / 5,6 / 8,7 / 10,9