HADLEY, Mass. – The Trinity Bantams, the 10-time defending NESCAC Champions, are the top seed for the 11th straight year as the 2017 NESCAC Men's Squash Championship is set to begin on Friday, February 3 on the campus of Amherst College. First-round matches are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Amherst's Davenport Squash Courts. The NESCAC Championship match is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 5.
Trinity stands at 11-1 on the year and is gunning for its 11th straight NESCAC title. The Bantams' only blemish on the schedule is a 5-4 loss at Rochester on January 21. Trinity has posted 9-0 wins over eight opponents this season, including NESCAC foes Bates and Bowdoin. The Bantams have also earned wins against Penn, Princeton and Yale. Last season, Trinity defeated Bates (7-2) to claim its 10th crown.
Trinity will face the winner of Friday's first-round match between eighth-seeded Wesleyan and ninth-seeded Tufts. The Bantams and Cardinals have met only once before in the NESCAC Championships. Trinity came away with a 9-0 win in the 2012 quarterfinals. Trinity and Tufts have never met in tournament play.
Wesleyan (6-7) is the eighth seed for the first time in program history. The Cardinals have advanced to the quarterfinal round each of the last six seasons, but have never reached the semifinals. Wesleyan finished fifth last year with a 5-4 win over Colby in the fifth-place match.
Tufts (11-6) is the No. 9 seed for the second straight year. The Jumbos started the year with a 7-1 mark and enter the tournament having won three of their last five matches. Tufts' last appearance in the quarterfinals came in 2010. The Jumbos and Cardinals faced each other on January 13 with Wesleyan earning a 6-3 victory at home. The two teams are an even 3-3 against each other in NESCAC Championship action. They last met in the 2015 first round with the Cardinals posting a 9-0 victory.
Bates (12-2) is the No. 2 seed for the first time since 2014 and the third time in program history. The Bobcats have advanced to the semifinals every year and enter the NESCAC Championship riding an eight-match win streak. Bates' two losses of the season were at Trinity (9-0) in the season opener and at Middlebury (6-3) in the first match of 2017. The Bobcats are 8-2 against NESCAC teams this season, including an 8-1 win over Williams. Bates looks to advance to the NESCAC finals for the second straight season after making the championship match the first time in program history last year.
Bates will play the winner of Friday's first-round match between No. 7 Bowdoin and No. 10 Hamilton. The Bobcats are 4-0 against the Polar Bears. The two squads last met in the 2012 quarterfinals with the Bobcats registering a 5-4 victory. Bates is 1-0 against Hamilton, earning a 9-0 win over the Continentals in the 2008 quarterfinals.
Bowdoin (3-10) and Hamilton (4-9) will square off in the NESCAC Championship for the second consecutive season. The Polar Bears own a 3-0 advantage over the Continentals in tournament play. Last year, the Bowdoin registered a 5-4 win to move on to the quarterfinals for the 10th straight time. Bowdoin enters the NESCAC Championship as the seventh seed for the second year in a row. After starting the season 0-5, the Polar Bears earned wins over Wesleyan (5-4), Hamilton (8-1) and Connecticut College (9-0). The Polar Bears have reached the quarterfinals every year, but have not advanced to the semifinals since 2010.
Hamilton is the No. 10 seed for the second consecutive season. The Continentals went 2-2 in their last four matches, and are seeking their first quarterfinal appearance since 2013.
Williams (10-8) is the third seed for the second time in four years and third time overall. The Ephs enter the NESCAC Championship having won four of their last five matches, including 5-4 win at Middlebury. Williams has posted 9-0 wins over five opponents this season and is 6-1 versus NESCAC teams. The Ephs are looking to advance to the semifinals for the 11th straight year and capture their first NESCAC crown in program history. Williams had played in the championship match every season until last year, when it finished fourth after falling to Middlebury (5-4) in the third-place match.
Williams will take on the winner of the first-round match between No. 6 Amherst and No. 11 Connecticut College. The Ephs are unbeaten against both squads in its championship history. Williams is 2-0 versus the Purple & White, most recently posting a 6-3 victory in the 2015 quarterfinals. The Ephs won the lone match against the Camels, 9-0, in the 2012 quarterfinals.
Amherst (5-6) earns its highest seed since 2012, the last time the Purple & White were the No. 6 seed. The Purple & White have advanced to the quarterfinals every year, but have not appeared in the semifinals since 2009. Amherst finished seventh last season after posting a 6-3 victory over Bowdoin in the seventh-place match.
Connecticut College (3-11) is the No. 11 seed for the second consecutive season. If the Camels can upset Amherst, it will mark their first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2012. A win in the first round would also snap a 10-match losing streak for Connecticut College. Amherst is unbeaten against Connecticut College in the tournament, owning a 4-0 record. The Purple & White handed the Camels an 8-1 loss in their last meeting in 2015 in the first round. The two teams did not play each prior to the tournament.
Rounding out the tournament bracket is the quarterfinal match between No. 4 Middlebury and No. 5 Colby. The Mules own a 1-0 advantage over Middlebury in championship history, defeating the Panthers (6-3) in the two teams' lone meeting during the consolation round in 2007. Middlebury defeated Colby, 8-1, on January 8.
Middlebury (8-7) has been victorious versus NESCAC opponents in five of six matches this season. The Panthers' only setback to a conference foe was a 5-4 decision to Williams on January 20. Middlebury, which is looking to reach its first NESCAC final, is the No. 4 seed for the first time since 2013 and the fourth time in program history. The Panthers have advanced to the semifinals six straight years and are looking to make their first appearance in the finals. Last year, Middlebury defeated Williams (5-4) to finish third overall for the fourth time in program history. Colby (10-9) is the fifth seed for the third straight year.
The Mules enter the NESCAC Championship having won five of their last seven matches and posted back-to-back wins over MIT (5-4) and Tufts (8-1) in their last outing. Colby is looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time in program history. The Mules placed sixth last year, falling to Wesleyan (5-4) in the fifth-place match.
Results for the NESCAC Men's Squash Championship will be available at the end of each day at nescac.com.