With the Harvard men’s soccer team going for its seventh straight win this Saturday—not having lost since Sept. 13—perhaps it’s time for some perspective. Just two years removed from back-to-back winless Ivy League campaigns, we have entered the Pieter Lehrer era.
Expectations are now much higher in Lehrer’s second season as head coach, and the team has begun to deliver on the lofty aspirations that it has set for itself.
Let’s be clear, Saturday isn’t just a big day for Harvard; it’s a big day for the Ivy League.
The Crimson will take center stage for the conference tonight when it takes on Michigan State with a Sweet Sixteen berth on the line. A win would mark the sixth consecutive year that Harvard has improved its postseason performance and the second time in five years that the Ivy League has made the Sweet Sixteen.
Less than a week ago, after watching Harvard clinch the Ivy League on his home floor, Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones took the podium. Clearly frustrated by his team’s inability to hit big shots down the stretch, Jones was understandably terse with the media. Late in the press conference, however, when asked about the “Harvard dynasty,” he had this to say:
“I thought last year’s team was better than this year’s team.”
Heading into this weekend, there is an abundance of important men’s basketball storylines to follow in the Ancient Eight. After hanging on by the skin of its teeth last week against Princeton, can Yale continue its stellar play on the road? Can Harvard take down Princeton in Jadwin for the first time since the Game Boy was released? Will Cornell get its second win against Division I competition? What DOES the fox say?
However, I want to take this space to tackle a more important basketball question: Why is there no basketball Beanpot?
On a campus with the most varsity sports in the country, it is easy to overlook the achievements of certain teams. For example, let’s take a random team—call it Harvard team X—and let’s look at what it’s done in the past couple seasons.
Team X won an Ivy League title last year. A solid start in and out of the conference buoyed expectations for a team that people didn’t expect to be better than last year’s squad.