Around the Water Cooler

Published by Robert S Samuels on May 04, 2011 at 11:05PM

As Harvard students prepare for final tests, so too do Ivy League sports teams. After last weekend’s action, we finally know the playoff pictures in baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse. The playoff action for all four sports begins this weekend, and by this time next week, we’ll have a whole new set of Ivy League champs. So come on, put down those books, as we take a trip through the Ivies in this week’s edition of Around the Water Cooler.

The Harvard baseball team’s season began poorly.  This weekend, it ended poorly as well, as Dartmouth easily swept the Crimson in a four-game series. While Harvard managed to keep it close in the final game of the weekend, the Crimson couldn’t get anything going earlier in the series. In the first three contests, Harvard combined for two run, while the Big Green managed to score 13 times.


Captain Collin Zych Looking to Sign as Undrafted Free Agent

Published by E. Benjamin Samuels on May 04, 2011 at 2:58AM

Captain Collin Zych was not among the 254 players selected in last week’s NFL draft, but the safety still has a shot at making it to the pros

Zych had visits with a number of professional teams, and undrafted players are often signed after the amateur selections to help fill in remaining voids in the roster. Because of the current lockout, the situation becomes more complicated, but he still stands a chance of making it to the NFL as an undrafted signing.

Only one Ivy Leaguer was drafted this year. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Yale’s Shane Bannon, a fullback for the Bulldogs, in the seventh round, with the 223rd overall pick. Bannon is the first Eli to get drafted in seven years.

Per the restrictions of the labor struggles in the NFL, no one can sign contracts, a limitation that affects both drafted and non-drafted prospects.

Zych, the captain of last year’s football team, was first team All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy. His 79 tackles were tied for best on the team with senior linebacker Nick Hasselberg.

Though Harvard has a number of alumni currently in the NFL, no member of the Crimson squad has been drafted since 2005. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick—likely the most famous Harvard graduate in the NFL—was selected with the 250th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams. He started most of last season for the Buffalo Bills.


Women's Lacrosse Posts Strong Numbers

Published by Yoan D. N'Komba on May 04, 2011 at 3:11AM

Three decades ago, the Harvard women’s lacrosse team (9-5, 5-2 Ivy) began what would become an incredible statistic: 11 Ivy League championships in 13 seasons, winning every year from ’81 to ’85 and ’88 to ’93. Today, even after falling short of its 12th-ever title, some of the Crimson’s other statistics are still quite incredible.

Currently, Harvard holds the most potent attack in Ancient Eight women’s lacrosse. The Crimson, amounting for a league-best 174 goals in only 14 games, possesses three of the conference’s most prolific scorers in sophomore Jennifer VanderMeulen, the only Ivy League player to average a hat trick or more per contest; sophomore Danielle Tetreault, 4th in the Ancient Eight goals and 5th in assists; and junior Jess Halpern, tenth in the conference with two scores per game. 


Rugby Clubs Make History

Published by Patrick Galvin on May 03, 2011 at 11:47PM

No. 12 Radcliffe rugby captured the Division II national title this weekend, and the Harvard men's rugby club reached the final four round of the Division I tournament.

Whether they were wearing black and white or classic crimson, Harvard’s rugby clubs steamrolled through their competition this weekend, knocking out opponents in the national bracket even faster than they do on the field.

Radcliffe rugby clinched the Division II national title Sunday in a decisive 22-10 victory over Notre Dame, while the narrow 22-18 triumph of its all-male counterpart over Buffalo earned Harvard men’s rugby the chance to fly to Palo Alto on May 12 and face Davenport University in the final four round of the men’s national tournament.

Amidst an ongoing campaign for varsity recognition, these victories come at a crucial time for both programs.

“Especially as a lot of rugby clubs around the country have gone varsity, it’s important for us to demonstrate that we are competitive even as a club sport,” Crimson co-captain Connor Heard said. “The landscape of college rugby is changing, so it’s a very big win for us.”

The Black and White reflected a similar appreciation for the win.

No. 12 Radcliffe began the weekend in Pittsburgh with a 32-14 defeat over top-seeded Western Washington in the final four, positioning the club to upset the entire tournament.


NFL Calls on Yale Senior

Published by Robert S Samuels on May 01, 2011 at 3:11AM

Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘05 was nearly Mr. Irrelevant in the 2005 NFL Draft, as the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round with the 250th pick overall.

Now, the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills has something in common with another starter from the Ancient Eight.

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Yale senior Shane Bannon in the seventh and final round of the 2011 NFL Draft on Saturday, albeit 27 picks higher than Fitzpatrick. Bannon’s selection marks the first time since 2004 that a Bulldog has been taken in the NFL Draft.