Sports Front Feature
After losing the Ivy League Championship Series in 2016 and 2017 against Princeton, maybe all Harvard softball needed was a change in scenery. The Crimson traveled to Hanover, N.H., where it bested Dartmouth in two games to claim the Ancient Eight title and advance to the NCAA Regionals.
At the Penn-hosted Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships, the Crimson track and field teams left with nine first place medals. Across the two day meet, the women's team placed second while the men finished sixth.
In its inaugural trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Crimson squared off with 19-time champion UCLA on the Bruins' home turf. Under the lights of the Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif., Harvard went up one game before dropping three consecutively.
One win was all that the Harvard needed. After picking up that one win at Brown, the Crimson dropped the other two to close out its season, but will head to the Ivy Championship series for the third straight year.
Although the season ultimately ended with a loss, the defeat came at the highest competition in the club level: the national championship game.
In a 3-1 decision over Princeton at George Mason’s Recreation Athletic Complex, Harvard clinched its first ever EIVA Championship title and punched its subsequent first ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Harvard and Penn State entered their matchup on Thursday with a spot in the EIVA tournament final on the line. In a back and forth affair, the Crimson alternated winning sets with the Nittany Lions, winning the first and third before ultimately taking the deciding fifth set, 15-11, to secure the victory.
Drake Deuel broke the lightweight world record in the half-marathon on the erg, a 13.1 mile, or 21,097 meter, feat of fitness that bested the previous time by almost an entire minute.
Harvard is one of the four teams that will be descending on Fairfax, Va., in an effort to grab the EIVA tournament trophy and punch it’s ticket to the national bracket. Seeded third, the Crimson will square up against No. 2 seeded Penn State in the semi-final match Thursday.
Though the weather cooled down by Saturday afternoon, the Crimson’s bats did not. Harvard scored 25 runs in its three games versus the visiting Quakers, and the team picked up its second Ivy League series sweep out of five such series this season.
“The season was basically characterized by learning curves,” said tri-captain forward Jake Horton. “It gave a lot of guys...that didn’t necessarily get those experiences over the past few years...the experience that they’re going to need to be great [next] season.”
The team is lined from top to bottom with Californians, 11 in fact. Meanwhile Yale and Princeton both claim only two players from the Golden State. The Crimson has built this this new-look baseball team on the grounds of ambitious recruiting, a newfound chemistry, and the adoption of new playing styles.
For a first-year graduate assistant coach like Fraschilla, the experience of making the Final Four has been, in his words, simply “unbelievable”.