Different sport, same two schools once again battling with high stakes on the line-- this Thursday's doubleheader between the Harvard women's softball team (16-18, 9-0 Ivy) and Dartmouth (25-11, 8-2) will determine whether the Crimson will put together its second perfect Ivy season in three years, or be come the fourth women's sports at Harvard this year to have its championship dreams ruined head-to-head against the Big Green.
This has been a banner year for Big Green women's sports, much to the chagrin of Harvard's women's basketball, hockey and field hockey teams.
Dartmouth softball wasn't supposed to be this good this year. Harvard, perennial-power Princeton, and defending champ Cornell were supposed to the teams at the top. The Big Green was coming off of a 2-10, last-place finish. But in this landmark year for Dartmouth sports, it seems like anything can happen.
The Crimson and the Big Green are the only two teams still mathematically alive for the Ivy title.
The Ivy struggles of Cornell (26-15, 3-6) have been a huge surprise. The Big Red got off to a fast 17-4 start in non-conference play, earning the team a the No. 9 spot in the Northeast Region softball rankings.
Then came the Ivy opener against the Crimson. Harvard upended the Big Red at home 1-0 on a solo home run by Deborah Abeles off of Cornell ace Nicole Zitarelli, right before the game was cut short in the sixth due to rain.
Zitarelli hasn't been the same pitcher since then. After posting a 21-3 record last year and an 11-1 record to start the season, since that Harvard loss she has been a dismal 2-7.
Princeton (19-25, 6-6) watched its Ivy season come to an end last weekend with four straight league losses, one pair to Dartmouth and another pair to the Crimson.