The Harvard women’s lacrosse team’s quest for an Ivy League championship kicked off Tuesday afternoon with the Crimson’s first practice of the 2011 season.
After its young squad posted a fifth-place conference finish and an 8-7 overall record in 2010, Harvard has reason to be optimistic heading into the upcoming season.
But the Crimson’s road to the top of the conference will be a difficult one.
This season, Harvard is slated to go up against seven opponents ranked in Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s Women’s Top 20—No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Penn, No. 12 Dartmouth, No. 14 Stanford, No. 17 Boston College, No. 18 Princeton, and No. 19 Johns Hopkins.
In fact, the Crimson will take on four ranked opponents in its first five matchups.
While last season’s squad went 0-4 against opponents that finished in the top 20, there is reason to believe that this year’s Harvard team will fare better.
For one, the Crimson returns 89 percent of its scoring, including its top four goal scorers—sophomores Jennifer VanderMeulen, Danielle Tetreault, and Micaela Cyr, and junior co-captain Melanie Baskind.
VanderMeulen led the pack, tallying a league-high 56 goals while finishing third in the nation in goals per game.
But this season, Harvard should add even more firepower to its offense thanks to the return of Jessica Halpern.
Halpern—the 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year—suffered a season-ending injury two games into the 2010 season. But Halpern is expected to be back in uniform for the Crimson’s opener at Stanford on Feb. 27.
In her first two seasons with Harvard, Halpern combined for 80 goals and 21 assists.
This week, the last thing any of us want to do is go outside. Yup, the Super Bowl couldn’t come at a better time, and neither could the exciting Ivy League weekend we have in store. Specifically, in what should be a tight contest, the top men’s basketball squads—Princeton and Harvard—will face off this Friday night (the game will be broadcast on ESPNU). But the men’s game will have to share the spotlight with a duel between the top dogs of women’s Ancient Eight basketball—once again, the Crimson and the Tigers. We’ll give you an inside look at these games, so just stay where you are—it’s time for a little talk Around the Water Cooler.
Harvard men’s basketball is still riding high after beating Columbia and Cornell this past weekend, in the process extending its winning streak to eight games. But Friday and Saturday nights could change that, as the Crimson face off against the only two undefeated teams left in the Ancient Eight: Penn and Princeton. And unfortunately, Harvard will have to face both of these teams on the road.
At Lavietes Pavilion, Harvard has been nearly unstoppable, having won 13 contests in a row dating back to last year. But on the road, the Crimson hasn’t been quite as dynamic, winning just five of eight.
Nowadays Joe Philbin can be seen roaming the sidelines of Lambeau, coaching a team many New Englanders still haven't forgiven for Super Bowl XXXI.
But before the Springfield, Mass. alum became a Super Bowl-bound offensive coordinator, he was an assistant coach for Northeastern and then Harvard.
A graduate of Worcestor Academy, Philbin coached the Huskies from 1995-1996 followed by a stint with the Crimson from 1997-1998.
“I think in terms of him becoming a high-level coach, his success is no surprise,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy told Christopher Price of WEEI. “The guy was always fundamentally sound, he was always prepared and he was always very easy going and a great teacher. You put all those things together and it’s not a major leap of faith to think that he’s going to be a success at the highest level.”
Read the full article here to learn of Philbin's journey from Massachusetts to Green Bay:
The schools Philbin left behind have gone in opposite directions following his departure. The Crimson has emerged as a perennial title contender and won the Ivies in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2008.
Northeastern won the Atlantic 10 in 2002 but had struggled ever since, prompting the university to cut the program following the 2009 season.
Find out what Harvard's top athletes have to say off the field or court.
Though (thankfully) midterm season is not yet upon us, the Harvard men’s squash team is about to face some big tests.