Crimson Faceoff: In Which JP O'Connor is Still Awesome

Published by Crimson Sports Staff on October 06, 2010 at 3:11AM

Sportswriter Martin Kessler faces off against 2010 NCAA Champion J.P. O'Connor. CRIMSON FACEOFF is a new one-on-one video series.

In the second edition of Crimson Faceoff—The Back Page’s new video series that pits Crimson sportswriters against varsity athletes—the sports board's own sophomore Martin Kessler decided to take on a monumental challenge: grappling with defending NCAA champion JP O'Connor '10.

In a first-to-five format, O'Connor demonstrated his dominance on the mat. But was he able to pin Kessler with his arms taped behind his back? Check out The Crimson’s video footage to find out!

To read more about O'Connor's quest for the 2012 Olympics, check out Kessler's column here.

Women's Tennis Prepares for Tournament

Published by B. Marjorie Gullick on October 06, 2010 at 3:11AM

It is a weekend of opportunity for the Harvard women’s tennis team, as it travels to Flushing, N.Y., to compete in the USTA Billie Jean Invitation. The competition, which will be held Oct. 9th-11th, will offer the squad a chance to develop its young players and gain more court-time before beginning Ivy competition.

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Around the Water Cooler: Sophomore QBs Doin' It Big

Published by Catherine E. Coppinger on October 06, 2010 at 3:11AM

As the news of Grammy-winning rapper Wyclef Jean accepting a job offer from the department of Africana Studies at Brown University reaches Ivy League ears, it’s fitting that this week’s edition of Around the Water Cooler is all about top-notch performance and uncharacteristic moves.  Though not literally taking the stage, Ivy League teams and individual athletes from each of the eight schools are holding their own on a national scale. In just a minute, we’ll look at a few Ivy Leaguers who have secured national rankings, some athletes who are bringing their A-game on and off the field, and a noteworthy event about to happen right in our backyard (and, no, I’m not talking about the free showing of The Social Network tomorrow night). We’re hanging out Around the Water Cooler, you know how it is.

Let’s start with a healthy dose of Ivy League football. Sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett of Columbia, one of the League’s Co-Offensive Players of the Week, tied the school record of five touchdowns in a single game this week (set in 1942 and tied in 1982) as the Lions dominated Princeton, 42-14.  Another sophomore QB, Penn’s Billy Ragone, earned Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors as well by securing his team’s 35-28 victory over Dartmouth with the winning touchdown in overtime. On a different note, Cornell sophomore QB Josh Vick is making an impact off the field, leading the Big Red community, alongside women’s basketball coach Dayna Smith, and helping the Be The Match Foundation raise money for bone marrow donation and awareness.

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Sound Off: Lafayette Coach Living a Bad Dream

Published by Kate Leist on October 05, 2010 at 3:11AM

In the modern era of sports, being a college coach carries with it the burden of constant media attention. Facing dozens of reporters at press conferences, head coaches have gotten savvier—they say what they need to and leave the rest up for speculation. Here at The Back Page, we’re happy to decode some of these media sessions, showing the average fan what we think coaches’ answers “really” mean.

For Lafayette coach Frank Tavani, the 2010 season has been a nightmare the Leopards can’t seem to wake up from. After dropping three close games to Georgetown, Penn, and Princeton, Harvard came to town on Saturday and blew Lafayette out, romping to a 35-10 win. Now the Leopards, with the meat of their Patriot League schedule left to play, are winless against a slate they were 3-0 against last fall. It’s no wonder that Tavani expressed his frustration in this week’s edition of Sound Off.

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The Full-Court Press: Jessica Halpern '11-'12

Published by Alex Sopko on October 05, 2010 at 3:11AM

Though training for the spring season is just getting underway, the women’s lacrosse team will be stepping up to a hefty challenge Saturday evening when it faces the U.S. women’s national senior team under the lights at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium. Leading the squad will be Jessica Halpern, the team’s top scorer in 2009. After a leave of absence following a season-ending injury last year, J-Halp is back and ready to tackle three-legged mice as well as the rest of the Ivy League. 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: Jessica Halpern

Year: Senior

Stats: After winning Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2008, Halpern played in all 16 games her sophomore season, leading the Crimson in points (55) and goals (46), six of which came in a season-opening win against Holy Cross. She led the Ivy League in goals per game and points per game that spring.

Now, to the questions!

1.Typical pre-game meal.

Definitely have got to say that I load up on carbs pre-gametime.  Pasta and bread (with oil and vinegar, of course) are definitely go-tos in the dhall so that I am energized for the game next day.  And no meal ever ends without a bowl of cereal, usually made by my roommate, who makes the best cereal combinations at Harvard.

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