Although most of “THE GAME” issue’s focus revolves around tomorrow’s 128th playing of “The Game,” ten Yale teams have already faced-off against Harvard this fall. The Bulldogs hold a 5-1 advantage in one-on-one match-ups so far this season, with men’s cross-country, field hockey, men’s soccer and volleyball all scoring head-to-head victories over Yale’s storied rival.
Although the Bulldogs lost to Harvard in a dual meet for the second time in three years, the men’s cross country team got revenge on the Crimson when it placed ahead of Harvard for the second time in three years at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at Princeton on Oct. 29. The Bulldogs finished one spot ahead of the Cantabs in sixth place. The Bulldogs have also won six of the ten past dual meets.
Yale also bested the 15th place Cantabs at the NCAA Regional Championships in Buffalo, NY, last weekend with an 11th place finish.
Kevin Lunn ’13, who paced the Bulldogs with a 68th place finish at Regionals, stated that racing against Harvard makes a big difference.
“Nothing is sweeter than beating Harvard,” Lunn said. “And nothing is more bitter than losing to Harvard.”
Yale and Harvard raced four times this year, and the Bulldogs came out ahead in all four match-ups.
The two teams first competed at Harvard Sept. 17 for a race between Harvard, Yale and Princeton that is known as the HYP tri-meet. Although Princeton won the race, Yale finished in second place in front of Harvard. Yale has finished ahead of Harvard in three of the previous six HYP tri-meets.
The Bulldogs next squared off against the Cantabs at the Paul Short Invitational Sept. 30, and Yale raced to sixth place while Harvard lagged behind and finished 14th out of 45 teams.
At the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship, Yale finished fourth ahead of Harvard’s sixth place result, and at NCAA Regionals in Buffalo last Saturday Yale placed sixth whereas Harvard ended up in 14th place.
Liana Epstein ’14 stated that although the two schools have a rivalry, the two teams are actually close because they bonded when they paired up in England last year to take on Oxford and Cambridge Universities in a biannual track meet. Epstein added that although beating Harvard had been a goal for the team earlier in the season, the team’s goals have evolved over the course of the season.
“It is hard to control what other teams do,” Epstein explained. “We are more focused on how we work as a team.”
The links twice became a battleground for the Yale-Harvard rivalry this fall.
The teams both competed at the Sebonack Golf Course Sept. 10-11. It was the Elis’ first tournament of the season. Despite the absence of former captain Tom McCarthy ’11, a three–time First Team All-Ivy selection, the Bulldogs won the match against both Harvard and Princeton. The match set the tone for the fall season.
The teams teed off again when Yale hosted the Macdonald Cup Oct. 1-2, and the Elis again played up to par, winning the Cup while Harvard played to a fifth place finish.
Yale will look to begin defending its Ivy League Championship when it opens the season at home Apr. 26, 2012.
Harvard finished sixth out of eight teams in last year’s Ivy League Championship tournament.
Yale edged out Harvard for the Ivy League Women’s Championship by four strokes last year and the two teams have played just as close this fall.
The Cantabs won the Yale Intercollegiate Tournament, but the Bulldogs finished just 20 strokes behind in fourth place. Seo Hee Moon ’14 won the event; however, as she beat Tiffany Lam of Harvard and Ariel Witmer of Longwood University by one stroke.
The two rivals tied for ninth place at the Nittany Lion Invitational that wrapped up Oct. 2 in State College, PA. Yale finished in fifth place at the Harvard Invitational Oct 15-16, but Harvard finished tied for second with Columbia.
The conditions were particularly difficult at the Harvard Invitational.
“It was very windy on both Saturday and Sunday, which lengthened the course and made it difficult to hit targets,” captain Lily Boettcher ’12 said. “The greens were also some of the trickiest I’ve ever played.”Allie Frappier ’15 capped a set-deciding 8–2 run as she popped the ball past the Harvard block with her left hand.
When Yale traveled to Harvard this past weekend on Nov. 12, the Bulldogs clinched the Ivy League title by shutting down the Cantabs in straight sets.
In addition to awarding Yale with a berth in the NCAA Tournament, the win gave the Class of 2012 a perfect 8-0 record against its rivals for their career. Captain Taylor Cramm ’12 said that games against Harvard are different because of the storied rivalry.
“I think there is a little more emotion,” Cramm explained. “There is a little something extra…. Going undefeated against them is a great feeling.”