School’s back in session, and so are a bunch of Ivy sports. Others–like football–will have to wait a little while before opening the book on the 2011 campaign. With no intra-league contests this week, some of the biggest Ivy news was made in a place where few Ancient Eight athletes venture: the sphere of professional sports. We’ll sort out what’s going on in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.
Ivy Leaguers have famously made a habit of dominating many fields. Sadly, professional sports just isn’t one of them.
The NFL is evidence of that: other than a few notable exceptions (See Matt Birk '98 and Ryan Fitzpatrick '05), the league has been harsh to Ancient Eight grads.
Two former Crimson men’s soccer standouts currently playing in Major League Soccer—Michael Fucito ’09 and Andre Akpan ’10—are making their presences felt as the 2011 MLS season continues into the late regular season and into the CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage.
On Aug. 16, former Crimson midfielder Fucito scored two goals for the Seattle Sounders in the team's 4-1 Champions League victory against Guatemalan side Comunicaciones. While a day later, former Harvard forward Andre Akpan had a goal and an assist to lead the Colorado Rapids to a 3-2 comeback win over the El Salvadoran club Metapán. On Aug. 27, Fucito scored the fourth goal in the Sounders’ 6-2 demolition of the Columbus Crew.
Fucito, who has been receiving more playing time with the Sounders as of late, has appeared in 17 games and started in 10 so far in 2011. Out of his 17 appearances, 13 have come in regular-season MLS play, with his remaining appearances shared between the U.S. Open Cup and during continental club play in the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League.
At 13-5-9 on the year, Fucito and the Sounders currently hold the second-best record in MLS and stand in second in the Western Conference with 48 points, four points behind the LA Galaxy.
During his time at Harvard, Fucito completed his collegiate career ranked fourth in scoring in Crimson soccer annals with 32 career goals. He also boasts 24 assists despite playing injured in his final two seasons.
In just his second year in the MLS, Akpan has similarly been featured in many of the Colorado Rapids games this season. In his 12 game appearances, Akpan has started in five. During his time at Harvard, Akpan scored 47 goals and added 33 assists to finish his collegiate career as the Crimson’s all-time leading scorer.
At 10-7-11, the Rapids currently stand in fifth in the Western Conference with 41 points.
College is all about time management. With only 24 precious hours each day, we are constantly making choices about how to plan our schedules so that we can pass our classes and still make room for life’s important things: racking up kill streaks in Call of Duty, sinking jumpers at the MAC, and complaining about Ron and Sam’s dysfunctional relationship.
When all the day’s hours are finally divvied up, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that, for most students, not much time is left over for attending Harvard sporting events. (If this doesn’t apply to you then you should probably comp The Crimson’s sports board this semester).
For those of you who are only planning to make the trip across the river a few times this fall, we at The Back Page are here to help out. We’ve compiled a list of the top five Harvard sporting events to attend this fall so you can be a Crimson Crazy without spending too much time away from video games (or the library).
No. 5: Football vs. Penn. Nov. 12, 12 p.m.
“The Game” may get all the hype, but if the past two seasons are any indication, the Harvard-Penn matchup will be the one that decides who takes home the Ivy League title. This year appears to be no different, as the Quakers and Crimson enter the 2011 season predicted to finish first and second, respectively, in the Ancient Eight by the members of the media. This time around, Harvard will have home-field advantage, as the two-time defending champs will travel to Harvard Stadium in November.
No. 4: Men’s soccer vs. Northeastern. Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Fans looking to get in a few games before classes start to heat up should take a trip to the Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium this Sunday for the men’s soccer team’s season opener. The lights will be on as the Crimson take the pitch against cross-town rival Northeastern.
No. 3: Women’s soccer vs. Penn. Sept. 23, 6 p.m.
Talk about jumping right into the thick of things. The Harvard women’s soccer team kicks off its conference schedule against the reigning Ivy champions. And with only seven Ancient Eight matchups, an early loss would be disastrous for a Crimson squad seeking its third title in the last four years.
No. 2: Head of the Charles. Oct. 22-23.
While it’s not exactly clear how one should actually watch a crew race (are you supposed to run with the boats along the banks of the river or just sit there and watch for a few seconds as they pass by?), the Head of the Charles is not to be missed. The world’s largest two-day regatta will be back in Cambridge once again this October. If rowing doesn’t excite you, never fear. There should be enough free ice cream and popcorn in the tents set up along the river to keep you happy.
No. 1: Football at Yale. Nov. 19, 12:00 p.m.
I don’t think this one needs much explanation, but being in the stands (or parking lot) for “The Game” is well worth the trip to New Haven. The stakes could be even higher than usual when the two squads meet for the season finale this year, as both squads boast championship-caliber rosters.
Harvard sophomore Andrew Campbell made his third world championship final in two years after he finished second in today's lightweight single semifinals at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia. In the process, he became the first lightweight to make the finals of the event since Steve Tucker achieved the same feat in 2002.
In the first semifinal of the event, Campbell finished five seconds behind Henrik Stephansen of Denmark and posted the fifth fastest time of the day.
The result followed an impressive heat win in which Campbell pushed past Italian sculler Pietro Ruta in the final sprint of the race to take the heat by .3 seconds. Ruta, who took second in the day's other semifinal, will have another shot at the Crimson sophomore in the final.
Earlier this summer, Campbell took bronze at the U23 World Championships. The 19-year-old took silver at last year's junior world championships.
Also in the running for a World Championship tomorrow is Esther Lofgren '07-'09. Lofgren, racing in the bow seat of the women's eight, is aiming for her second straight world championship in the event.
Former men’s basketball starter Max Kenyi will not be back in a Harvard uniform this fall, Kenyi told The Crimson this afternoon.
“I won’t be back,” said Kenyi, who took a voluntary leave of absence from Harvard for personal reasons this past October—just two months into his junior year.