Fighting off opponents and officials with equal ease, the Harvard Men's Rugby Football club earned a berth in the England Championship finals with its 9-6 victory over Brown in Providence, R.I. yesterday.
The Crimson--which toppled Amherst, 20-6, and the University of Rhode Island, 26-12, Saturday--rebounded from a 6-0 halftime deficit to bull past the Bruins, gaining one of the tourney's final spots. Holy Cross, by beating Boston College, also moved into the final, rescheduled for Wednesday night.
Sloppy weather forced the postponement, as Providence city officials denied the teams access to the municipial fields originally designated for the tournament. All four semifinal teams moved across town to Brown, using university fields for the semifinal matches.
After the conclusion of the penultimate round, however, university officials followed their city counterparts's example, disallowing the late afternoon final--at least on university fields.
Both Harvard and Holy Cross agreed to play Wednesday, once again in Providence, to decide the regional champion. The Crimson has dominated the Crusaders in regular league play for years, so the Brown game was, in all likelihood, the true championship contest.
The Crimson needed only Andy Howard's try early in the second half and two kicks--conversion and penalty--by Rob Santos to triumph over the Bruins by the same 9-6 score that clinched the Ivy title two weeks ago.
It was with a taste of "disappointment" and "frustration" that the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club returned home on Saturday. Radcliffe narrowly missed capturing the Ivy League Tournament Championship, falling to Dartmouth, 6-4, in the finals.
Radcliffe paid for its last-place finish in the tournament last year, having to play its two preliminary games at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., leaving it less than an hour to rest for the finals.
"The tiredness factor really affected our game," Co-Captain Iris Tong said. "It's unfortunate that scheduling was able to play a factor.
The team looked anything but tired in the first game, thrashing Pennsylvania, 24-0. After the Quakers, Radcliffe faced two-time defending champion Princeton, playing the Tigers to a 4-4 tie.
"Going into the tournament we thought, beside us, that Princeton was the strongest team," Tong said. "It was a well-matched, good game.
Flanker Claudine Moreno put the Black and White on the scoreboard in that game when she blocked a kick and carried the ball in for a score.
Radcliffe advanced to the finals against Dartmouth despite the tie by virtue of the fact that it had scored more points in its first game. Princeton had beaten Penn, 11-0. Dartmouth advanced to the finals with wins over Brown and Cornell Saturday morning.
The better rested Big Green squad downed Radcliffe, 6-4, winning by only a conversion.
"The game was a little sloppy on our part," Tong said. "But we're looking forward to next week when we play Dartmouth at home."
That game gets under way at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ohiri Field.
Track & Field
This weekend's men's and women's track meets against Yale were scheduled to be held at Gordon Track, but a buckle in the track forced the teams to move the meet to New Haven.
The Harvard men's team followed the lead of its facility and buckled as the Elis Coasted to a 93-70 win. The Crimson women's team wasn't disturbed by the unexpected road trip, however, as it easily handled Yale, 86-47.
"As usual, we were led by the women's weight people," Harvard's Leslie Carson said. The Crimson dominated the throwing events as Co-Captain Cathy Griffin led the way, winning the hammer throw and the discus, while coming in second in the shotput. Nicole Carkeek led the Crimson sweep of the shotput, while Stacey Caldwell's win in the javelin set the tone for another 1-2-3 Harvard finish.
Among the few Harvard men's highlights was the performance of jumpers Derrick Horner and Ed Rios. Horner won the long jump with a leap of 6.71 meters, while Rios took the high jump with an effort of over 6'6".
Freshamn Michael Belbeck turned in an impressive performance in the 800, winning the race in 1:51.
"It was a disappointing meet," Captain John Mee said. "A lot of runners were injured. But we've got to hand it to Yale. They came ready to perform."
Women's Water Polo
The Harvard women's water polo team travelled down the river this weekend for the annual MIT tournament, turning in a mixed 2-2 performance.
Harvard fell to strong Metro-Boston and Brown teams, but conquered their M.I.T. hosts and Queens, pushing the Crimson's record to 9-7.
In the final game on Saturday, a traditionally weak M.I.T. squad shocked Harvard by opening up a 9-6 lead entering the final frame. But the weary Crimson rose to the occasion, firing in a mammoth seven goals in the closing period to lift Harvard to dramatic 13-11 victory.
"This was probably our best game of the year," Co-Captain Melanie Berger said. "It would have been easy for us to get discouraged. The weekend ended on a really great note."
Earlier that day, the Crimson had fallen, 14-8, to the powerhouse Metro-Boston club team, a squad Harvard has traditionally struggled against. Harvard was coming off its solid 10-7 defeat of Queens, a New York club team, earlier that day.
On Firday, the Crimson opened up the tournament with a 9-7 loss to Brown. The tow teams have traded victories all season long, and, despite shelling the Bears net, the Crimson could not pull through.
Co-Captain Liz Drummond led the Crimson during the weekend, netting six points against both M.I.T. and Queens.
M. Lightweight Crew
The men's lightweight crew team continued its unbeaten ways on Saturday as the Crimson easily defeated host Navy in Annapolis, MD.
All five Harvard boats emerged victorious, with the first boat beating Navy's top entry by twelve seconds. Wind conditions forced the crews to adopt a floating start, but the altered course didn't deter the Crimson. Harvard led the race wire-to-wire as the Midshipmen were lost in the water.
"Navy traditionally has not been one of the stronger squads in the league,' Harvard's Chip Dixon said. "But we didn't know how they'd be because they hadn't raced anyone that we had."
The Crimson travel to New Haven this weekend for a Big three regatta against Princeton and Yale.