It’s been a crazy year for Harvard athletics. Titles, both Ivy (football, men’s basketball, women’s soccer) and national (Rebecca Nadler, Ali Farag, Amanda Sohby) poured into Cambridge at an unprecedented rate in the year’s first two seasons. Can the run continue in the spring? That remains to be seen, but a handful of squads look posed to claim—or, in some cases, defend—Ancient Eight crowns. We break it all down in this week’s Power Rankings.
5. Women’s Lacrosse (2-4, 0-2 Ivy)
After two victories in its first three outings, including a 9-8 double-overtime win against No. 13 James Madison, the women’s lacrosse team has struggled of late. Currently on a three-game skid, the Crimson has a chance to reverse its current streak and notch its first conference win on Saturday against a middling Yale squad. Co-captain midfield Melanie Baskind and junior midfield Danielle Tetrault each have 10 goals so far, tops for a squad that averages 8.50 scores a game.
4. Men’s Lacrosse (3-3, 1-0 Ivy)
After coming into the season with a top-20 national ranking and what some believed was the best recruiting class in Ivy League history, the men’s lacrosse team split its opening six contests. Despite the run-of-the-mill start, perhaps no Crimson athlete has been more dominant this spring than senior Jeff Cohen. The attackman has tallied 23 goals this season, and his 3.83 goals per game was tied for second best in Division I lacrosse through March 18.
3. Men’s Volleyball (13-3, 5-2 EIVA)
Oh, how the times have changed. Through 16 contests at this point last year, the men’s volleyball team was 7-9 and in the midst of a six-game skid. Fast forward to 2012, and the Crimson holds a 13-3 mark and has won eight of nine. The one loss in that span? To Pepperdine, then ranked eighth in the country. Harvard sits at second in the conference standings, a half game up on St. Francis.
2. Softball (10-4)
The rust showed in the Harvard softball team’s first matchups of the season as the squad dropped three of five at the South Florida Tournament. But over spring break, the Crimson found its 2011 form and steamrolled to eight victories in nine tries. And so far, last year’s biggest stars are shining again. Sophomore third baseman Kasey Lange, the defending Ivy League Rookie of the Year, currently sports a .400 batting average along with three home runs, 12 RBI, and a 1.711 OPS. In the circle, senior Rachel Brown has made hitters look silly and boasts a miniscule 0.64 ERA.
1. Men’s Tennis (14-1)
No Harvard team is hotter right now than men’s tennis. Having won 14 of 15, including 10 in a row, the Crimson captured the ECAC Division I Indoor Team Championship and the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic, bested No. 16 University of San Diego, and leapt into the national rankings at the No. 16 spot. The Crimson will begin its quest for yet another honor—the Ivy League title—on April 7, when the squad travels up to Ithaca, N.Y. to face off against Cornell in Harvard’s Ivy opener.