Thursday, November 04, 2010
The biggest weekend of the fall season is upon us - Championship Weekend. To the winner goes the spoils ... the championship trophy and a trip to the NCAA championship tournament. To the losers, it's wait-and-see if an at-large invitation is forthcoming to the NCAAs. It's high drama on the Centennial's biggest stage!
Can Ursinus make it seven titles in a row? Or is this the year that Johns Hopkins, Haverford and Washington College will break the streak? The tournament takes place in Collegeville for the eighth straight season and everyone is chasing the third-ranked Bears. Ursinus (16-1) takes on the Shorewomen (9-9) in the first semifinal, while the Blue Jays (11-6) and the Fords (12-4) meet in the nightcap. UC is 12-1 in its eight CC tournament appearances with 12 straight wins since a 1-0 loss to Hopkins in the 2003 semifinals. Washington is winless in four trips to the semis. The Jays are making their 10th trip to the CC tourney and are 8-1 in semifinal contests and 11-7 overall. Haverford is making its second straight trip to the semis, looking for its first-ever appearance in the final. Championship website
The Johns Hopkins Class of 2011 looks to join the JHU classes of 2009 and 2010 in winning Centennial championships in all four seasons. The Blue Jays have won five straight crowns and take on Haverford in the semifinals in Carlisle. Top-seeded Dickinson plays host to Ursinus in the opener. The Red Devils (14-2-1) have won all four tournament games prior to the final in their history, but are 0-3 in title matches. Ursinus looks to get back to the final for the first time since 2005. The Bears (10-6-1) are dangerous historically in penalty kicks, winning all three matches decided by PKs. Hopkins (15-3) has a 14-3 CC tourney record, including an 8-1 mark in semifinals. Haverford (12-5) has yet to win a tournament match in five outings. Championship website
For the longest time, Centennial titles in even-numbered years belonged to Johns Hopkins. The Jays won CC championships in 1996-98-00-02-04-06, but were denied in 2008 by Swarthmore. It is the showcase match of Saturday's semifinals at Clothier Field, as the top-seeded Garnet takes on Hopkins ... which won the '09 title. Swat (14-1-2) is 2-4 all-time in the tourney, while JHU (13-3-3) is 13-4, including a 7-1 mark in semis. The opener pits Franklin & Marshall and Muhlenberg. The Mules (10-1-6) have won two Centennial titles, but have not been to the final since 2005, and have a 4-7 mark all-time in the tourney. The Diplomats (9-3-3) are 2-4 all-time and look for a trip to the title match for the first time since 2006. Championship website
The road to the Centennial championship goes through Haverford, as the four-time defending Conference titlists welcome Hopkins, F&M and Swarthmore to the Main Line. The Fords (18-12) are riding an eight-match CC tourney win streak and meet the Garnet (18-10) in Saturday's opening semifinal. Swarthmore, fresh off its second straight first-round win, looks to advance to its first-ever Centennial final. The nightcap pits the Blue Jays (19-11) and the Diplomats (20-6) in the sixth-ever playoff meeting between the teams. F&M holds a 4-1 playoff advantage and a 21-12 all-time lead, but Hopkins won the regular-season clash in straight sets. The Jays look to return to the final for the first time since 2004, while the Diplomats have not been to the title match since 2006. Championship website