Every fall, the media has its annual love affair with football, and action on the gridiron dominates coverage from coast to coast. With men’s soccer opening the year as the highest-ranked fall team, finding gender balance in our sports coverage can be even more difficult. But the women of the Ivy League are fighting back, notching noteworthy accomplishments from the pitch to the track. So gather ’round the water cooler folks, and let’s take a look at what’s happening in the Ivy League this week.
Harvard’s highest honor this week did not go to an athlete at all, but rather to an administrator for a lifetime of devotion to sports. The Crimson’s Patricia Henry, the athletic department’s senior associate director and founder of the Harvard Radcliffe Foundation for Women’s Athletics, received the ECAC Katherine Lay award yesterday for her work over the past 30 years. The award is reserved for “someone of demonstrated leadership ability, a proponent of women's issues, and a role model for women coaches and administrators.” Henry’s inspirational work has paved the way for many of Harvard’s female athletes and those all across the country.
Winning football games is undoubtedly a product of practice, discipline, scouting, and skill, but after traveling to Brown for the game last weekend, I have a new appreciation for another powerful contributor to strong play: fandom. Under the temporary lights of Brown Stadium, 17,360 fans filled the seats, creating an atmosphere that felt very collegiatea—a rare feat in Ivy League athletics.
“I can’t tell you what it meant to have so many people in the stands,” Bears coach Phil Estes said. “To turn around and see what we saw...[It] really got the adrenaline going, and I think the team fed off of that.”
Fans of college sports know that injuries are something that every team must deal with over the course of a season. With that being said, the Harvard women’s soccer team has been plagued by more than its fair share of ailments, as only three players have managed to start all eight games for the Crimson.
From missing its leading goal scorer to its starting goalkeeper, the Crimson has had to deal with health issues all this season. But things are beginning to look up for Harvard heading into the heart of Ivy League play.
For one, after it started the season with just one healthy returning starter, the Crimson’s defense is finally starting to resemble the 2009 edition that won the Ivy League championship. Sophomore defender Taryn Kurcz is back after missing the first five games of the season while senior Katie Kuzma—who is also a Crimson sports editor—saw the field for the first time this year in the squad’s fifth game. Since their return to the field, Harvard has gone 2-1.
Offensively, Harvard has also gotten back the services of some of its top producers. Co-captain Katherine Sheeleigh—the team’s leading goal scorer from 2009—missed the Crimson’s third and fourth games with a minor injury, but has since returned. In her four games back, Sheeleigh has tried to make up for lost time, recording three goals and two assists.
Freshman Peyton Johnson has also had success in her two games back since being sidelined for contests against Boston University and Rhode Island, as she scored a goal in Harvard’s 3-2 win over UMass last Sunday.
But Harvard is still missing a key component of its team—sophomore goalie AJ Millet. After starting in net for the Crimson in its first four contests, Millet went down with an undisclosed injury in practice prior to the team’s Sept. 16 match-up against Boston University.
Freshman Jessica Wright has filled in for Millet, helping Harvard go 2-2 in its past four contests, but the squad hopes it can have Millet back in time for its Ivy League contest against Yale this Saturday.
With the men’s soccer team opening its Ancient Eight season at home on Saturday against Yale, the Back Page gives you an opportunity to meet the team’s scoring leader and reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, sophomore forward Brian Rogers. In this exclusive interview, Rogers reveals his love for peanut butter, his desire to be an extinct carnivore, and desired bromance with a Real Madrid star. Every week, The Full-Court Press will give you the sort of personal scoop that you’re not likely to hear at a typical press conference.
Name: Brian Rogers
Stats: Last year, Rogers played in all 19 games, starting 15. He ranked fifth in the Ancient Eight with18 points and six goals, good enough for Ivy Rookie of the Year and All-Ivy Second Team honors. This year, through seven games, Rogers already has three goals including a game-winning goal in the 80th minute against Stanford in the season opener.
Now, to the questions!
1. Typical pre-game meal.
Grilled Chicken, whole wheat pasta, salad, and a banana peanut butter sandwich. I’ve been known to kill an entire jar of peanut butter on my sandwich, which doesn’t make me too popular in the Eliot House dhall.
Coming into Foxboro Stadium to take on the New England Patriots yesterday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills had struggled to put points on the board. Through the first two games of the season under quarterback Trent Edwards, the team averaged a league-low 8.5 points per game, granting them the title of the NFL’s least productive offense.
Enter former Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05.