Weekend Preview: It's Now or Never

Published by Steven T. A. Roach on March 04, 2011 at 10:11PM

Sophomore forward Kyle Casey will have his hands full this weekend as the Crimson tries to keep its Ivy title hopes alive.

It’s time for the Weekend Preview! After two weeks off from previewing all of the weekend matches, I’m excited to be back…and it could not be a more action-packed weekend to welcome my return. Just as the parents are arriving for Junior Parents Weekend, multiple athletic teams are gearing up for one of the busiest weekend in a while.

All eyes will be on the men’s basketball team as it battles for a spot in the NCAA Tournament against Penn and Princeton this week. Going into last weekend, Harvard was the frontrunner to take first place in the Ivy League, but lost a critical matchup against the Bulldogs, 70-69, allowing Princeton to slide into first place. The Crimson will look to keep its title hopes alive in two of the biggest home matches in Crimson history: the first game against Penn tonight at 7 p.m. and the second against Princeton tomorrow night at the same time. Harvard holds a 21-5 (10-2 Ivy) record, but Princeton possesses a slight advantage with a 22-5 (10-1 Ivy) record.

The results from the women’s basketball squad’s away matchups versus Penn and Princeton are just as important, as the team clings onto the slight possibility of earning a berth to the postseason. The squad holds an 8-3 conference record, but can equal the past two season’s Ivy records of 11-3 by winning its last three games on the road. Harvard faces off against Penn tonight at 7 p.m. and against Princeton tomorrow night at 6 p.m. Last season, the Crimson beat the Quakers 55-52, but fell to the Tigers, 78-66.

The men’s swimming and diving team also has an important weekend at the Ivy League championships at home and will square off against one of its toughest competitors, Princeton. For the past two years, Harvard has dominated all of the other Ivy squads except the Tigers, but the Crimson finally pulled out a 189-164 victory at the annual HYP meet this year. The Ivy championships started yesterday, but action continues today and tomorrow. In the past three years, the Tigers hold more wins over the Crimson, but Harvard now has the confidence that it can reverse that trend.

The men’s hockey team heads to Clarkson for the first round of the ECAC Tournament. The season has been less than favorable; the men currently hold a 9-19-1 record, but the squad has turned the season around and has won five of its last six matches. The No. 10 seed will face off against No. 7 seed Clarkson in a best-of-three matchup to determine who will move forward in the tournament. Last year, the Crimson made it to the quarterfinals but lost to Cornell, the eventual champions.

The men’s tennis team travels to Ball State and Louisville for its first road trip of the spring season. The Crimson maintains a 5-5 record for the season but lost its last two matches to Cornell and Princeton in the ECAC Division I Indoor Team Championships. Tomorrow, Harvard takes on Ball State and will face off against Louisville the next day. Harvard has only met both teams once, winning its matchup in 1994 against Ball State, 5-2, but dropping its matchup to Louisville in 2005, 4-3.

The men’s volleyball team also has two matches this weekend against Juniata tonight and Princeton tomorrow afternoon. Compared to last season’s start of nine losses, the squad is faring much better this year. After seven games, Harvard held a 6-1 record, but has dropped three straight, including a three-set loss to Juniata. The last time the Crimson faced the Tigers resulted in another straight-sets defeat.

The baseball team’s season is just getting underway this weekend with four games against Jacksonville State. The first takes place this afternoon at 3 p.m. and the men wrap up the quadruple-gamer on the road on Sunday at noon. Last season, the men finished with a 17-26 record and looks to improve upon that this year. The last time the Crimson faced off against Jacksonville was in 2009, resulting in one win and three losses.

The softball team also begins its season on the road against five teams this weekend at the Florida Atlantic Tournament. Last year, the women posted a winning record (27-23) and were a game away from winning the Ivy crown. The squad first takes on Seton Hall today at 11 a.m. and finishes up the weekend against Providence on Sunday at 9 a.m.

The men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are also at the beginnings of their season. The men started off the season on the right foot against Canisius with a 9-7 win and will try to carry this momentum forward against Hofstra tomorrow at 1 p.m. Hofstra has beaten Harvard in its last two encounters. On the other hand, the women’s lacrosse team dropped its first match of the season against Stanford last weekend. The women will try to even their record against Cornell tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. Harvard has won the last two meetings between the teams, but Cornell holds the overall advantage, winning 10 of the last 12 matchups.

Finally, some teams are traveling to some big tournaments to round out their seasons. The track and field team heads to the ECAC Championships starting tomorrow and continuing into Sunday. The wrestling squad heads to Lewisburg, Pa. for the EIWA Championships this weekend. The men and women’s squash teams travel to Hanover, N.H. to compete in the CSA Individual Championships. Finally, the sailing team will be nearby at MIT for the Sharpe Trophy Team Race tomorrow morning.