While freshman standout Bente van Vlijmen earned Athlete of the Week honors for her three-goal weekend performance on the field hockey pitch, other Crimson athletes had solid games of their own.
PAIGE KEBE, OUTSIDE HITTER, WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
In its first Ivy League matchup of the season, the Harvard women’s volleyball team defeated rival Dartmouth with an offensive performance from junior outside hitter Paige Kebe.
Despite losing the conference opener to Dartmouth (6-5, 0-1 Ivy) in the two seasons prior to this one, Friday’s match was won handedly by the Crimson (3-7, 1-0) in three sets (27-25, 25-16, 25-23). Kebe led the team in kills with 11, while teammates sophomore Christina Cornelius, freshman Maclaine Fields and freshman Grace Roberts Burbank each added seven of their own. Kebe also tallied a dig, a block and, with her 26 total attempts, a hitting efficiency of .346. Overall, the junior hitter led the team with 11.5 points on the match.
With the win, Kebe’s kills for the season rise to 76, the second best for the team behind only Cornelius, who currently sits at 83. Now with 270 total attempts, her hitting efficiency has risen to .167 and her total points to 82.5, the third highest for the team.
This Friday, the women’s volleyball team looks to maintain their undefeated Ivy League record in a match at Princeton. The Tigers (7-3, 1-0) are also looking to sustain an unblemished conference record as they are coming off a close five-set victory against Penn.
DEFENSIVE BACKS, FOOTBALL
Traveling to Providence to play Brown in their annual Homecoming game, the Harvard football team (2-0, 1-0) held its pass-happy opponent to only three touchdowns through the air in the path to a 32-22 victory.
The Crimson’s defensive backs played a heavy hand in holding Brown (1-1, 0-1) standout senior receiver Alex Jette to 79 yards, in addition to intercepting quarterback Kyle Moreno on three separate occasions. The first of these came early in the second quarter at the hands of senior safety Kolbi Brown. Grabbing the ball at the Brown 45, the Crimson safety returned it to the 20, giving the offense the opportunity to capitalize on the turnover with a field goal.
Up 32-16 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Crimson defense struggled as the Bears marched down the field. As Brown drove to the Harvard 19, their offensive push was stopped with a well timed interception by junior safety Tanner Lee on the Crimson’s own two-yard line. Lee would return the ball 21 yards to the Harvard 23. However, the drive would end in a fumble for Harvard.
Again, Brown charged down field, stopped by yet another interception, this time by sophomore cornerback Wesley Ogsbury on the Harvard 37 yard-line. It would be these two late interceptions that kept the Brown offense at bay throughout the fourth quarter, securing the win for the Crimson.
Considering the magnitude of The Game, especially this year with Harvard chasing its third straight Ivy title, a standout performer on the football field against Yale was likely to take home Athlete of the Week honors. Justice Shelton-Moseley was the star to take advantage of the big stage, as he delivered several game-changing plays at the Yale Bowl on Saturday. Several other Crimson athletes had performances that were just as commendable, however, as they helped their respective teams secure strong finishes to their seasons.
Although many Crimson supporters will be wholly focused upon “The Game” between the Harvard and Yale football teams this coming weekend, there are a few other Crimson squads that have competitions this weekend with major NCAA implications.
Women’s Volleyball vs. Princeton (Friday 7:00p.m.)
Harvard Women’s Volleyball clinched a share of the Ancient Eight title for the second straight season with its 3-1 victory against Brown this past Saturday. Sitting atop the league with Princeton, the Crimson (14-10, 10-4 Ivy) relishes the chance to compete against the Tigers (15-8, 10-4) in a deciding play-in game to earn the Ivy League’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Whether they’re kicking off a season, in the midst of one, or drawing it to a close, several Harvard teams are playing key matchups that you’ll want to keep an eye on this weekend.
Women’s Volleyball at Yale (Friday 7 p.m.), at Brown (Saturday 7 p.m.)
The Harvard women’s volleyball team, currently possessing sole first in the conference standings, is set to conclude its season this weekend with nothing less than the Ivy League title at stake.
The Crimson (13-9, 9-3 Ivy) very much controls its own destiny—a weekend sweep would clinch a second straight Ivy championship. However, a myriad of possibilities, including potential two-through-four team playoffs, await if the weekend games play out differently.
Yale (12-9, 7-5) sits two games back in the division and would need some help from Harvard, as well as the other two teams mathematically still in the hunt, Dartmouth and Princeton, in order to have a shot at winning the title.
Brown (10-14, 4-8) is currently second-to-last in the conference standings and has lost four in a row.
Although the Crimson won’t play them this weekend, the Tigers (13-8, 8-4) have won five in a row and are hard-charging towards the front. Princeton now sits a game behind Harvard as the teams get set to play their last two scheduled regular-season games.
Men’s Ice Hockey at Quinnipiac (Friday 7 p.m.)
The No. 6/7 Harvard men’s ice hockey team (3-0-1, 3-0-1 ECAC) takes on its highest ranked opponent thus far this season, No. 3/4 Quinnipiac, on Friday in a meeting of two high-powered offenses.
The undefeated Bobcats (8-0-0, 2-0-0), last year’s regular season ECAC champions, received five first-place votes in the latest USA TODAY/USA Hockey magazine rankings, and match up against a conference rival Crimson team that has outscored its first four opponents by a combined margin of 19-6.
Quinnipiac is also having a dominant season, however, posting a goal differential of +21 over eight games.
Friday’s game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Last year, Harvard took the season series 2-1 over Quinnipiac.
Men’s Basketball vs MIT (Friday 7:45 p.m.), at Providence (Saturday 7 p.m.)
The Harvard men’s basketball team returns from a fourth straight NCAA Tournament trip to tip off its 2015-16 campaign with a home opener against MIT on Friday, then will head to Providence on Saturday to play the Friars.
The Crimson took 2009 NCAA champion and perennial heavyweights North Carolina down to the wire in last year’s first-round tournament game, rallying and leading the Tar Heels late before losing 67-65.
Providence is also coming off of an NCAA tournament appearance. It did not find success, though, likewise being ousted in the first round.
Harvard and MIT played last year, with the Crimson winning, 73-52.
As some teams near the end of their seasons and others look to start with a bang, this weekend at Harvard will have a host of worthwhile games to follow.
Men’s Swimming and Diving versus Bryant
In its season-opener this Friday at Blodgett Pool, Harvard will take on Bryant for the first time ever in a regular season dual.
Harvard is a historically strong team that has never finished lower than second in the Ivy League conference. Returners include sophomore divers Bobby Ross and David Pfeifer, both of whom qualified for the 3-meter diving final last season. Junior Jack Manchester also returns as a formidable force in the backstroke events, having competed in the NCAA Championships last year and currently holding the conference record for the 200 backstroke.
The Bulldogs (4-1) have already competed in five meets this season, and are coming off a win over Iona. This meet will be one of four at home this year, and the only one this semester.