Around the Water Cooler: The Changing of the Seasons

Published by Robert S Samuels on April 06, 2011 at 3:11AM
around the water cooler

Bobby Samuels

League play is now underway in the Ancient Eight. The baseball and softball teams just finished two league double-headers and will play again this weekend, assuming the weather clears up a little. But the biggest news this week came from winter sports: Princeton’s basketball coach made a surprising announcement, and an Ivy League hockey player passed way after a two-year bout with leukemia. We’ll give you all the details in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.

The week in Ivy League sports began in tragedy. After battling leukemia for the past two years, Mandi Schwartz, a former Yale hockey player, died on Sunday. She was 23.

Schwartz played in 73 consecutive games for the Bulldogs until receiving the grim diagnosis in the middle of her junior season. Shortly thereafter, she began an ardent search for a bone-marrow donor which in the end proved fruitless. But thanks to her efforts, more than 4200 people were added to the donor lists in Canada and the United States.

In other news around the Ivies, the Princeton men’s basketball team won’t be quite as tough next year after graduating Dan Mavraides and Kareem Maddox, two of the team’s top players.

But as of yesterday, Princeton will lose another key part of its 2010-2011 team: its coach.

Tigers coach Sydney Johnson announced yesterday that he will leave his post at Princeton to assume the head coach job at Fairfield College.  A former basketball player at Princeton, Johnson led the Tigers to a share of the Ivy League Championship this year and a berth into the Big Dance, where Princeton nearly upset a stacked University of Kentucky team in the second round. In four seasons under Johnson, the Tigers went 66-53.

Thanks to this news and the departure of two of Princeton’s stars, things are looking pretty good for the Harvard men’s basketball team right now.

The same can’t be said about the Crimson baseball team.

After losing its first nine games in a row, Harvard has continued to struggle and currently holds a meager 3-20 record. League opponents have steamrolled the Crimson, defeating Harvard by an average of six runs. What’s more, the Crimson is the only Ancient Eight team that has yet to win a league contest.

Harvard has a chance to turn things around this weekend as it plays double-headers against Princeton and lowly Cornell.

The Crimson softball team’s season couldn’t be more different than its baseball counterpart. 4-0 so far in league play, Harvard is already two games ahead in the North Division. But, this weekend won’t be as easy for the Crimson, as Harvard will square off in a double-header against Cornell, the defending Ivy League champion. Though the Big Red lost to Brown on Sunday, they still may be the team to beat in the Ancient Eight, thanks in large part to the play of Kristen Towne. Last week’s Ivy League Player of the week, the catcher/outfielder leads the team in home runs (6), RBI (23), total bases (53), and is second on the squad in slugging percentage (.654).