It was a mixed weekend for Harvard athletics. While softball dominated, outscoring its opponents 26-4 en route to four consecutive wins, baseball struggled, falling in three of weekend contests.
In the world of lacrosse, while senior Jeff Cohen became the top goalscorer in program history, No. 5 Cornell proved to be too much in a 14-10 win over the Crimson. Meanwhile, the women’s squad cruised to victory, 16-8, over Brown.
Check out the best of the weekend in sports photo here.
It’s been a crazy year for Harvard athletics. Titles, both Ivy (football, men’s basketball, women’s soccer) and national (Rebecca Nadler, Ali Farag, Amanda Sohby) poured into Cambridge at an unprecedented rate in the year’s first two seasons. Can the run continue in the spring? That remains to be seen, but a handful of squads look posed to claim—or, in some cases, defend—Ancient Eight crowns. We break it all down in this week’s Power Rankings.
5. Women’s Lacrosse (2-4, 0-2 Ivy)
After two victories in its first three outings, including a 9-8 double-overtime win against No. 13 James Madison, the women’s lacrosse team has struggled of late. Currently on a three-game skid, the Crimson has a chance to reverse its current streak and notch its first conference win on Saturday against a middling Yale squad. Co-captain midfield Melanie Baskind and junior midfield Danielle Tetrault each have 10 goals so far, tops for a squad that averages 8.50 scores a game.
4. Men’s Lacrosse (3-3, 1-0 Ivy)
After coming into the season with a top-20 national ranking and what some believed was the best recruiting class in Ivy League history, the men’s lacrosse team split its opening six contests. Despite the run-of-the-mill start, perhaps no Crimson athlete has been more dominant this spring than senior Jeff Cohen. The attackman has tallied 23 goals this season, and his 3.83 goals per game was tied for second best in Division I lacrosse through March 18.
3. Men’s Volleyball (13-3, 5-2 EIVA)
Oh, how the times have changed. Through 16 contests at this point last year, the men’s volleyball team was 7-9 and in the midst of a six-game skid. Fast forward to 2012, and the Crimson holds a 13-3 mark and has won eight of nine. The one loss in that span? To Pepperdine, then ranked eighth in the country. Harvard sits at second in the conference standings, a half game up on St. Francis.
2. Softball (10-4)
The rust showed in the Harvard softball team’s first matchups of the season as the squad dropped three of five at the South Florida Tournament. But over spring break, the Crimson found its 2011 form and steamrolled to eight victories in nine tries. And so far, last year’s biggest stars are shining again. Sophomore third baseman Kasey Lange, the defending Ivy League Rookie of the Year, currently sports a .400 batting average along with three home runs, 12 RBI, and a 1.711 OPS. In the circle, senior Rachel Brown has made hitters look silly and boasts a miniscule 0.64 ERA.
1. Men’s Tennis (14-1)
No Harvard team is hotter right now than men’s tennis. Having won 14 of 15, including 10 in a row, the Crimson captured the ECAC Division I Indoor Team Championship and the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic, bested No. 16 University of San Diego, and leapt into the national rankings at the No. 16 spot. The Crimson will begin its quest for yet another honor—the Ivy League title—on April 7, when the squad travels up to Ithaca, N.Y. to face off against Cornell in Harvard’s Ivy opener.
As we prepare for the Housing Day festivities, I thought I would take the time to determine which house is the most athletic. With really no valid way of accomplishing this, I turned to gocrimson.com stalking and decided to make a huge table tallying the number of varsity athletes in each house.
After the tallying was complete, Dunster came out victorious with a total number of 84 athletes affiliated with the house. I must admit that this is a rough estimate, since gocrimson fails to report the house for a number of sophomores, but there is another reason why Dunster comes out on top: its dining hall.
While it's true that Dunster has a lovely dining hall with real napkins and a spacious servery, the real reason it stands out is that it is open an entire 30 minutes later than every other dining hall. As a member of the track team, it is a fantastic feeling of relief after I walk out of Palmer Dixon, swear to myself as I look at the clock, and then realize I am actually going to make HUDS dinner since Dunster will be open.
The Dunster dining hall has spared me who-knows-how-much money after long, tough preseason practices. And what makes it better is that the grill also stays open longer for that extra protein after a lifting session. The funny thing is that if Harvard Hoochies were to walk into the Dunster dining hall at 7:30 P.M., they would probably faint at the sight of all of the athletes there. It's a different atmosphere at that time; practice bags are everywhere, teams sit by table like a high school cafeteria, and there are sports discussions to boot.
Even if Dunster didn't have the highest number of athletes, the dining hall would make up the difference because the number of athletes it brings in on a nightly basis definitely earns Dunster the title.
Housing Day is filled with the hype of which house is the best house. But whether it be quad or river, it doesn't really matter what house you're in, right? All that matters is who wears the house the best. Here is a list of athletes who make their houses shine.
2011 was a big year in Harvard athletics. Women’s soccer captured its third Ivy League championship in four years. The men’s basketball team took home a share of the Ancient Eight title and entered the nation’s Top 25, both firsts in program history. Football set a modern-era program record for points in a season, scoring 374 points en route to a 9-1 finish and a league crown. Four other teams—men’s fencing, men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew, and softball—also finished 2011 on top of the Ivy League standings.
There were a number of standout individual performances as well. Women’s fencer Alexandra Kiefer captured the NCAA Foil Individual title. Men’s basketball forward Keith Wright became just the second player in Harvard history to take home Ivy League Player of the Year honors. Women’s soccer and lacrosse captain Melanie Baskind was named to the First Team All-Ivy in two different sports and was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year in soccer.
We at The Back Page have taken on the tall task of determining the best Harvard athlete of 2011. Here’s how it will go down: we’ve selected 16 standout Harvard athletes—eight male and eight female—and set up two single elimination brackets. Each round, Harvard’s finest will square off in head-to-head matchups. And based on their performances in 2011, we will determine who advances and who is eliminated until just one male and one female remain. Then, the two champs will square off to determine the top Harvard athlete of 2011.
Yesterday, we took a look at the women’s semifinal matchups. Now, it's on to the finals: fencing’s Alexandra Kiefer against soccer’s Mel Baskind.
Check back tomorrow when we pit the winners of the men’s and women’s sides to determine The Back Page Athlete of 2011.