GAME 5: WOMEN’S WATER POLO 6, BROWN 5, 4/23/06
Harvard’s archrival in women’s water polo is Brown, and the Crimson had fallen to its neighbors from the south the first three times they had met that season. But none of those games were as important as this one, taking place at the semifinals of the College Water Polo Association Northern Division Championships in Harvard’s own pool. The Crimson had to win to guarantee itself a spot at the Eastern Championships the next week, and if tensions were not high enough, Harvard had to live down losing its previous three meetings with the Bears, as well as having suffered a blowout by Hartwick the previous night. No matter, as the players overturned a 5-4 deficit with two goals early in the fourth quarter, then bolted the door on defense to hold on for the win. Crimson coach Erik Farrar was quite visibly pumped and was much more excited to talk about that game than he had been the previous night. No surprise there, as this was an exponentially more important contest, and the players performed appropriately.
GAME 4: SOFTBALL SWEEPS PENN 4-0, 4-2, 5/6/07
Upsets like water polo’s victory over Brown are thrilling, but not if you are rooting for the favorite. Instead, there can be just as much beauty in watching a team you support and expect to win go out and show its superior talent in bringing home victory. That is what the softball players did on their home field in the Ivy League Championship against the Quakers. Shelly Madick ’08 threw a no-hitter in the first game, then got the save in the second, shutting Penn down when it had the winning run at the plate in its last at-bat. Shortstop Lauren Brown ’07 provided the winning margin with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. The players and coach I interviewed afterward were so excited and happy that they thanked my fellow beat writer and me for our work throughout the year. In my experience, players and coaches, unsurprisingly, are better to talk to after a win than after a loss, so talking to them after they had just won a championship was fantastic.
GAME 3: MEN’S BASKETBALL 62, MICHIGAN 51, 12/1/07
This is the loudest crowd I have ever heard at a Harvard sporting event. The atmosphere rocked with a sizable number of Michigan fans and a student section that stood and screamed the entire game, resembling students at games in bigger and better conferences. An excellent performance on both ends saw the Crimson take each Wolverine blow in stride before scoring the final 11 points to win. Harvard students high on euphoria then stormed the court. Michigan may have been a terrible team in the Big 10 that year, but it still is a big-time program, and its visit to Lavietes Pavilion was a big deal.
GAME 2: MEN’S BASKETBALL 71, CORNELL 70, 2/28/09
Two years ago, Harvard beat Cornell at Lavietes with a last-second layup. The next year, the Crimson gave the Big Red its toughest test in an undefeated league campaign before losing a five-point lead in the final half-minute.
This time, in arguably the most gut-wrenching game I covered here, the Crimson did what it could not do a year ago. It finished the game, thanks to an excellent defensive effort that preserved a one-point lead against what was easily the best team in the league for the final 1:46 of the game, sending the boisterous Cornell fans home empty-handed and silent.
GAME 1: BASKETBALL 82, BOSTON COLLEGE 70, 1/7/09
As a fan of Boston College basketball, I was quite excited by the chance to watch that team play up close as it hosted Harvard. As the game went on, my excitement grew. The Crimson was not playing the traditional role of a mid-major visiting a big conference team and getting blown out.
It grabbed a lead by halftime, then kept the distance throughout the second half with tremendous offensive execution and tenacious defense. Junior Jeremy Lin, the best player on the court that night, fouled out with time winding down and the game in hand. He left to rousing applause from the Boston College fans, an acknowledgment of not just his amazing feats, but the entire team’s. That day was truly amazing.
—Staff writer Ted Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.