Around the Water Cooler: Springtime for Harvard

Published by Robert S Samuels on March 29, 2011 at 3:11AM
around the water cooler

Bobby Samuels

Spring, at long last, has arrived. Yes, the ground looks like the head of a man in desperate need of some Rogaine, but it’s a start. Likewise, in the world of Ivy League sports, we’ve finally closed the book on the winter season, as Yale unexpectedly fell in the second round of men’s hockey’s version of the Big Dance, and spring sports are now in full gear. We’ll explain it all in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.

After one of the greatest seasons in school history, the Yale men’s hockey team couldn’t find a way to keep up with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) on Saturday night. The top seed coming into the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, the Bulldogs narrowly escaped Air Force on Friday, winning 2-1 in overtime.

But the following night, Yale didn’t get quite as lucky.

An unseeded UMD team easily defeated the Bulldogs, 5-3. After UMD opened up a commanding 5-1 lead by the end of the second period, Yale halved the goal differential in the final frame on two power-play goals, but that’s as close as the Bulldogs would come.

With the loss, Yale will have to wait another year to try to claim the school’s first-ever men’s hockey national championship. Only two Ancient Eight schools—Harvard and Cornell—have ever accomplished the feat.

And with that, winter sports in the Ivy League came to a close.

But while the spring is still young, we already have a pretty good idea of who’ll be the movers and shakers this season.

It’s hard to dominate much more than Harvard junior pitcher Rachel Brown has. In the first three weeks of the season, she earned the Ivy League Player of the Week accolade twice. And she doesn’t seem to be slowing down much.  Her last two starts before this afternoon have been dominant: she allowed just one run in 14 innings of work while striking out 25 batters. Not too shabby.

In total, Brown boasts a disgusting 1.56 ERA and a solid WHIP of 0.94. The junior also leads the team in innings pitched (85.1), strikeouts (147), and wins (nine). By herself, she has more wins than six of the other seven Ivy League teams.

Indeed, the other seven squads in the Ancient Eight look pretty weak so far, as no team other than Harvard holds a winning record. At the very least, the Crimson looks like the safe pick to take the North Division for the second year in a row.

While league play has yet to begin in softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse are already duking it out in the Ivies. On the men’s side, last year’s Ancient Eight champion Cornell looks like the team to beat. The only squad still undefeated in league play, the Big Red has already earned its share of recognition—in three of the past four weeks, the Ivy League Player of the Week has gone to a Cornell player.

In women’s lacrosse, Penn, Dartmouth, and Princeton are all tied atop the league standings. But Harvard doesn’t look too bad either, thrashing Yale 19-3 on Mar. 26. In the contest, nine different Crimson players found the back of the net.