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Around the Water Cooler: Where Fortunes Change

By Robert S Samuels, Crimson Staff Writer

It’s a good time for most of Harvard. The cold looks like it might just end after all, meaning we won’t have to mummify ourselves before we go outside anymore. And what’s more, we have Presidents’ Day just around the corner. For Harvard sports, though, things aren’t quite as cheery, or at least they weren’t last weekend, thanks to a bunch of tough losses. But with the start of a new week came good news for the Crimson. We’ll explain it all in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.

This past weekend saw some exciting action in the Ivy League, but a lot of it didn’t go Harvard’s way.

After an undefeated start to the Ancient Eight season, the Crimson women’s basketball team unexpectedly dropped both games over the weekend to fall from first to third in the league standings. And after Princeton and Yale won both of their games, the Tigers and the Bulldogs overtook the Crimson to finish the weekend in first and second, respectively.

In men’s basketball, despite narrowly holding off a tough Yale team and overcoming a large deficit to knock off Brown, Harvard failed to gain any ground in the Ancient Eight standings, thanks to two Princeton wins.

But perhaps the best Ivy action over the weekend came not under the net or on the ice but on the squash court.

Saturday featured a showdown of the high-ranking men’s and women’s squads from Harvard and Yale. While on the men’s side the No.2 Bulldogs coasted to an easy 7-2 victory over the No. 6 Crimson, the women’s contest was much closer. In a down-to-the-wire finish, No. 2 Yale squeaked out a 5-4 victory over No. 1 Harvard. With the win, the Bulldogs ended the Crimson’s two-year winning streak and will undoubtedly overtake Harvard in the polls as the top women’s team in the country.

After the tough weekend, things began to look better for Harvard on Monday.

In a huge upset, Harvard men’s hockey team overpowered No. 15 Boston University in Monday’s Beanpot consolation match, 5-4. While the victory wasn’t in conference play, it could spell trouble for other ECAC teams.

Despite a weak start to the season, Harvard has picked up its game considerably, culminating in Monday’s win. Other than an ugly 4-0 loss to Northeastern in the Beanpot opener, the Crimson hasn’t lost by more than a goal in over a month and has kept up with some top-level teams, just losing to then-No. 3 Yale before tying then-No. 20 Princeton, 4-4. If Harvard continues on its upward trajectory, the men from Cambridge could wreak some unexpected havoc in the ECAC playoffs, which start Mar. 4.

The hockey win over BU wasn’t the only good news Harvard received on Monday. Earlier in the day, former Harvard backstop Matt Kramer ’08 signed with the Boston Red Sox. While wearing a Crimson uniform, Kramer did most of his damage with his glove and, in his senior year, with his bat. In his 2008 campaign, Kramer led the team in slugging percentage and was second on the squad with three dingers.

But the Red Sox are more impressed with Kramer’s arm and plan on bringing him from behind the plate to on top of the rubber. After all, Kramer can light up the gun with his 93-95 mph fastball and a high-80’s slider.

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