In ‘Quotes of the Week’, The Back Page will look each weekend at the five best quotes of the week, providing context for the five best moments from the past seven days in Crimson sports.
“Our coaches have been stressing keeping the intensity and visualizing tackling people that we walk by on the streets to get in that mindset of having to do it on the field.” –Brandy Machado ‘13
In just the Crimson’s inaugural season, the women’s rugby team is two wins away from claiming an Ivy League championship. The team has not played since October 19 (a 36-0 blowout win over Princeton), but Harvard is staying ready as it preps for its first tournament game against Brown on Saturday. With a win, the second seeded Crimson would play either Dartmouth or Princeton for the Ancient Eight crown on Sunday.
“It is fun at artificial breaks, like the end of the season for example, to ask ‘How did we do?’, and ‘Are we working on the right things?’ If we measure ourselves against the competition we had, we had three wins and… it was a pretty successful fall. I am very proud of what the team did. I am very proud of how we worked as a team. Nobody takes days off, nobody is selfish.” – Women's golf coach Kevin Rhoads
The Harvard women’s golf team wrapped up its fall season this weekend at the Lehigh University Invitational in Pennsylvania. The team’s overall score of 600 was enough to seal a victory, earning the Crimson its third tournament win in four tries this fall. Junior Tiffany Lim led the way for Harvard, shooting a 74 and a 72 on Saturday and Sunday respectively. However, the Crimson were victorious on account of a well-rounded performance as all five of its players shot in the 70’s in both rounds.
“We knew that if we stuck to our game plan and just pressured them the whole field, they weren’t going to be able to handle us. We had trouble in the first half, but we refocused at halftime and just got back to our plan. The whole season we’ve been saying it over and over. If we just stick to our process, then we know good things are going to come, and you’re seeing it now.” –Daniel Smith ‘17
After opening the season 1-6-2, the Harvard men’s soccer team has initiated a massive turnaround. The team has won three straight conference games, propelling the Crimson (4-7-2, 3-1-0 Ivy) to second place in the Ancient Eight. In its most recent win, Harvard came back to beat Princeton 2-1 after freshman Daniel Smith scored the game-winner in the 83rd minute.
“We take pride in winning Ivy League games. We take pride in winning any game. But certainly it’s fun to beat Princeton...they’ve always been a rivalry of ours.” –Hilary Crowe ‘15
The seventh ranked women’s hockey team has opened the season with back to back wins, beating Quinnipiac 4-2 on Friday and Princeton 4-0 on Saturday. Since Quinnipiac is a member of the ECAC, both wins are conference wins for the Crimson, but the win over Princeton marks the team’s first true “Ivy League win.” Hilary Crowe had two goals and an assist, while goalie Emerance Maschmeyer notched 44 saves in the shutout.
“I think you’re going to learn just how resilient we are. Our kids have a tremendous amount of pride. Some years you lose a tough game like this, and you’ve got a maybe average opponent. We don’t have that luxury.” –Coach Tim Murphy
The Crimson football team saw its unbeaten streak come to an end this week when Princeton emerged from Harvard Stadium with a 51-48 victory in triple overtime. Despite coming up just short, Coach Tim Murphy is confident that his team will be quick to rebound.
October is over, and there are plenty of reasons why you should be thrilled. First off, the halfway point of the semester has passed, and Thanksgiving break is just weeks away. Secondly, Boston has crowned another champion! The Red Sox have claimed an improbable World Series title, and you should be thrilled for your local team! Otherwise, you should be thrilled that you will no longer be surrounded by bandwagoners who bought their first Sox apparel moments before heading to Kenmore on Wednesday.
Lastly, the most important portion of the season has arrived for the fall sports teams at Harvard. Each team is preparing for a title run, and many teams are in great positions to do so. In fact, on Saturday afternoon, the women’s soccer team became the first Crimson team to clinch the Ivy League crown this year.
Meanwhile, many Harvard athletes have been taking to Twitter this week, especially underclassmen and men’s lacrosse players. Here are some of our favorites here at The Back Page from the past week!
6. Most freshmen decide how to set up their rooms during Opening Week, but Maggie Hartman, a forward for the basketball team, took a little longer to make an important decision.
“JUST UNBUNKED MY BUNK BED, life has improved exponentially :-D:-D:-D”
One downside…a lot less space to do activities.
5. Bryan Moore, a sophomore goalie for the men’s lacrosse team, had to be upset with the amount of electricity that Sox fans brought to the ballpark on Wednesday night.
“All the Cards need right now is a power outage in Fenway to spark their comeback.”
Fenway has been around for over a century and no power issues yet. Take notes, Detroit.
4. A valuable lesson can be learned from a situation that Sydney Daniels, a freshman forward for the women’s hockey team, was recently involved in.
“To the man I just gave completely faulty directions to, I'm sorry. You're probs going the wrong way, but enjoy your walk along the Charles?”
Never take directions from a freshman.
3. It’s not lacrosse season yet, but sophomore defenseman Stephen Jahelka is already beginning to get competitive.
“Coming out victorious in The Battle for the Mutually Shared Arm Rest in lecture with the kid next to me is one of the bigger W's I have had.”
Needless to say, it was a demoralizing loss for his opponent.
2. Tyler Grimaldi, a freshman on the wrestling team, got his first taste of Halloween at Harvard this year.
“Spending Halloween like a true Harvard student, in the library…”
Do Harvard students ever don nerd costumes for Halloween? The irony…
1. The only upperclassmen on our list, Danny Eipp, a senior midfielder for the lacrosse team, has likely seen far more at Harvard than his preceding counterparts. However, prior to last week, he certainly had not seen it all…
“Bringing your book to read at the urinal is too much. #doless”
And this is what Harvard looks for when filling its classes every year: students full of ambition and capable of multitasking. This generation at its finest.
Published by Patrick Xu
on November 04, 2013 at 1:04AM
In a running series for The Back Page, contributing writer Patrick Xu breaks down the high school mixtapes of members of the Harvard men’s basketball team. In this post, Patrick looks at junior big man Kenyatta Smith.
Remember last year when Harvard basketball had the awkward platoon of big men with no one clearly leading the pack? Jonah Travis began the year off as a starter, while Steve Mondou-Missi also played big minutes and had a couple of huge plays (awkward reverse, anyone?)
And then, out of nowhere came Kenyatta Smith, who was playing less than 10 minutes a game up until he started against Penn at home and proceeded to have an out-of-body Dwight-Howard-like performance. Smith dominated from start to finish, effectively destroying Penn’s interior game on both ends with 20 points, 10 blocks, and nine rebounds.
Just think about that. A bench player randomly starts a game and finishes one rebound off of a triple double. That would be like Juwan Howard coming off the bench for the Heat and, I don’t know, notching more than ten minutes in a single game (is he officially player-coach yet?)
Anyhow, a look into Yatta’s past is less surprising than it is oddly familiar. He still seems the same size, although he’s probably put on a little muscle since entering Harvard. There’s still no semblance of an outside game, which is completely unnecessary for the interior role he plays, and he still has that rebounding prowess that we saw all of last season. Plus, he still has that faint little mustache that he’s always sporting.
In his first highlight clip, he’s taller than everyone else on the court by a complete head. Consequently, Yatta pulls down multiple vicious rebounds like it’s a game of keepaway from little children. We can also see a somewhat awkward drive to the basket at 1:06 that was called a travel—probably the wrong call—the sort of game we don’t really see from Kenyatta anymore. It seems like most of his shots are back to the basket hook shots, which he makes with remarkable accuracy.
The funniest part of the video has to be at 2:14, where Yatta saves a weird shot by one of his guards by flipping the ball over his head. As he runs back, he has this disappointed, irritated look on his face as he throws his hands up in both disbelief and anger. I can’t tell if he’s pissed that his guard took a terrible off balance shot, or because he should’ve flipped the ball in a slightly more gracious manner.
The coolest part of the video is seeing Yatta operating from the high post, as he constantly floats around this area while his guards swing the ball around the three-point line. As mentioned, we see him mostly down low with his patented hook shot, but it would have been interesting to see some of his moves from up there and leads me to wonder if he has a jump shot that might be displayed this season.
In this second interview/highlight reel—the video has 10 views and I think I’ve accounted for more than 50 percent of them—we learn that Yatta was averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds a game in high school and that he started playing basketball in the seventh grade. Oh, and that he used to play soccer… oh, the money I’d pay to watch that. Finally, we get this quick scene at 1:05 where Yatta completely backs down a player on his team who’s a hell of a lot shorter than he is. Some things don’t change.
With its Saturday win over the Dartmouth Big Green, the Harvard men’s soccer team (5-7-2, 4-1-0 Ivy) is alone atop the Ivy League standings. After finishing winless in the league a year ago, the men’s soccer team has surpassed preseason expectations. The Back Page takes at a look at the numbers behind the team’s rise.
8 — Assists for senior midfielder Ross Friedman, which leads the Ivy League
2 — Number of freshmen—forwards Ashi Geberkidane and Daniel Smith—who have won Rookies of the Week
.848 — The save percentage of sophomore goal keeper Evan Mendez, who leads the Ivy League in that category. Mendez is second in the Ancient Eight with a 0.82 goals-against average
26 — Fouls in the Oct. 12 game between Harvard and Cornell. The Crimson won 2-1 over last year’s Ivy League championship by outshooting its opponent 6-0 across both overtimes
0 —Crimson players among the top 10 league scorers. Geberkidane is tied for 14th in the league with three goals
7 — Consecutive one-goal decisions for the Crimson. Harvard began the streak by losing two straight games, but has since won four of the five decisions
29.4 — Percent of the team’s 17 goals scored by freshmen
Published by Patrick Xu
on November 04, 2013 at 1:03AM
In a running series for The Back Page, contributing writer Patrick Xu breaks down the high school mixtapes of members of the Harvard men’s basketball team. In this post, Patrick looks at junior swingman Wesley Saunders.
To us basketball fans at Harvard the name Wes Saunders, brings a couple of things to mind. The junior guard is consistently called on to take the shot when Harvard’s offense runs stagnant towards the end of the shot clock. He has the funky, Kevin Martin-esque shot, yet still manages to hit more than 50 percent of his attempts from the field and 50 percent from three. He can throw some vicious dunks down (tl; dr: Yale sucks). And he literally looks like he’s never trying on the court. Seriously, search his images on Google. Does he even sweat?
When I checked out some of his high school mixtapes and interviews, I noticed some things have clearly changed but some things, however, clearly have not. In the first mixtape that I look at, Saunders absolutely destroys one of my favorite high school teams, Salesian, in a championship game. He has numerous powerful blocks, especially at 0:32, where he ruins Dominic Artis’ (a current point guard at Oregon) attempt to finish a pretty sick play.
Another thing we don’t really see too often from both Saunders and the Harvard team as a whole is any sort of pull-up game. Yet, at 0:17, we see Saunders executes it perfectly. We can also see that Saunders’ Kevin Martin shooting form hasn’t changed since high school.
One thing we are used to, however, is Saunders’ athleticism. At 1:13, he absolutely throws it down on two Salesian players with a two-handed slam. Not quite Sportscenter Top 10 worthy (#sctop10?), but still pretty sick.
I surprisingly couldn’t find many other full on mixtapes of Saunders, but I managed to scavenge for a couple of other pretty cool plays. In this clip, which is mostly an interview on Saunders and his coach, plus a tiny snippet on an apparent golf star Sandra Gal, we see Saunders display more of his athleticism. At 1:17, he pulls off a Rondo-esque ball fake and spin move for the score, and he runs back to D with the same little head nod and weird arm swaying that we’re used to.
At 1:31, we see him pull off a pretty fancy move on the fast break, swinging the ball around to avoid a defender going for the strip before ultimately finishing the lay up. A couple more plays feature much of the same: at 2:31, we see a slick spin move off the rebound. At 1:45, Saunders displays his trademark ability to finish with contact.
The coolest part about this clip, however, probably has to be this quote from Saunders old coach, Miguel Villegas: “I remember his freshman year he would never say anything. He would just come to practice and he did what we told him to do. Sophomore year, he woke up a little bit and he found how to put the ball into the basket and how to step out on the perimeter. Last year, he kind of just blossomed. This year, he’s out there. You can’t stop him now.”
With Saunders having made the sophomore leap last year—going from a small bench role (3.3 ppg) to an All-Ivy first team performance (16.2 ppg)—he is well on his way to going through the same progression here at Harvard.