The first of several weekends with championships at stake has arrived, and teams are poised to make their final push as the team championships approach.
This weekend, five conference champions will be crowned through tournament play, while two others will be on the brink of clinching outright titles.
Championship play starts on Friday afternoon at the Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference (MASC) Championships, hosted by George Washington University. MASC is up to five women’s teams and seven men’s teams, with more looking to join in future years.
Both Drexel University teams captured the top seeds for the second-year championship event. The women’s division will be sorted through round-robin play, while the men’s championship has a seven-team bracket, with the Dragons earning a first-round bye. University of Virginia, the second seed in both divisions, will be battling to repeat their titles from a year ago.
The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women’s Championship also kicks off on Friday evening with matches between the sixth- through eleventh-seeded teams.
The Trinity women, currently ranked third in the country and top seed in the event, will aim to bounce back from a close battle with top-ranked Harvard on Wednesday. The Bantam women are heavy favorites to repeat. If the regular season competition is any indication, however, the matches between the teams seeded second through fifth – Williams, Amherst, Bates, and Middlebury, respectively – will be the results to keep an eye on. Conference results are factored in to the final rankings in preparation for the CSA team tournaments.
The Liberty League Championships get started early on Saturday morning in a five-team men’s round robin format and a four-team women’s round robin competition. University of Rochester and Hobart and William Smith Colleges are the co-hosts this year, with the hosts looking grab some hardware in front of the home crowd. Rochester is the highest seeded team on the men’s side, while William Smith comes in ranked highest among the women’s teams.
The last full weekend of Ivy League play takes place this weekend with split home-and-away travel weekends. The Ivy match-ups add to the intrigue of Friday night, particularly with Yale teams hoping to solidify their resume with a winning trip to Dartmouth, and the Columbia women trying to justify the jump over their opponent, Penn, in the most recent rankings.
With two wins over Brown (Friday) and archrival Yale (Sunday), defending champions Harvard will clinch at least a share of the Ivy League titles for this season. The Crimson’s match at Cornell next weekend is the final contest of the season-long Ivy League round robin competition.
Even with all of the championship play taking place, there are several other matches among CSA member teams this weekend. Round robins scheduled at Northeastern University in Boston and Kenyon College in Ohio provide great opportunities for teams to grab more match experience. Additionally, Haverford welcomes Denison and Bucknell to suburban Philadelphia and Richmond hosts local rivals Duke and William & Mary.
The order of play for the week from February 6 to February 12 is:
- 3-court system: 1,2,3 / 5,6,4 / 7,8,9
- 5-court system: 1,2 / 4,3 / 5,6 / 8,7 / 10,9