By Michael T. Bello
Published Feb 27, 2010 at 9:15 AM ET; Updated Feb 27, 2010 at 9:15 AM ET

New Haven, CT — The 2010 Women’s College Squash Association National Team Championships (Howe Cup) began on Friday at Yale University’s Brady Squash Center.

This year, there are over forty teams participating in six divisions.

In the Howe Cup (“A” Divison), the top three seeds, Harvard, Trinity, and Penn, advanced as expected. In the every challenging 4/5 matchup, Princeton and Yale met.  The two teams had met earlier in the year with Princeton earning the victory.  Yale took advantage of their home courts and defeated the fourth-seeded Tigers 6-3.

There were no upsets in the “B” Division, with the top four seeds all advancing to the semi-finals. The two closest matches were Bates’ 5-4 win over Amherst and Mount Holyoke’s 6-3 win over Middlebury. On Saturday Bates will play Brown, who defeated Hamilton 8-1, and Mount Holyoke will play Dartmouth, who swept Colby.

In the “C” Division, top seeds Wesleyan and Vassar advanced with convincing wins over William Smith and Georgetown, respectively. George Washington defeated Saint Lawrence 7-2 to move on to the semi-finals. The most exciting match in the division was between F&M and Bowdoin; F&M edged out the Polar Bears 5-4 to move on in the main draw.

The first round of the “D” Division saw three teams sweep their opponents 9-0: Tufts, Columbia, and Connecticut College. Northeastern and Smith battled it out in a close match, with Northeastern coming away with a 5-4 win.

In the first-ever “E” Division matches, Wellesley defeated Drexel, and Rochester squared off with Notre Dame. Notre Dame was one of several teams whose travel was affected by the winter weather; half the squad was stuck in a Chicago airport due to travel delays.

Ethusiastic teams from Vermont, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, and California competed in the Emerging Teams Division. Bucknell will join the Emerging Teams action tomorrow.