[Photo: Princeton will rely on wing Devan Kreisberg's finishing abilities against Harvard.]
The Ivy League women enter week two of competition, but this weekend will differ greatly from week one.
Last Saturday, the top four teams – Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton and Radcliffe – each played one of the bottom four teams – Columbia, Cornell, Penn and Yale. So it was no surprise when the top-fours won their matches by a combined 173-17.
But there were some surprises. Brown beat Ivy newcomer Cornell 10-5, a surprising margin for the perennial Final Four team. While Cornell made a very strong showing, that game was more about Brown, in that they are not the squad they were last year. Seniors Michelle Van der Ploeg and Vanessa Munoz have an incredible load to bear as the young squad evolves, and that test will ratchet up a notch against Dartmouth this Saturday.
The Big Green inaugurated their season with a big 69-0 win over Columbia last Saturday. Wing Diana Wise scored six tries to lead the team, while fellow sophomores Becky Marder, Leandra Barrett and Michaela Conway also dotted down. Junior Taylor Johnson and senior Dani Valdes scored five-pointers, while Conway hit seven conversions.
In recent years, Brown has defeated Dartmouth easily. Both teams are different this year, so this match will help gauge how much or little progress has been made since last year.
Another great game should evolve between Harvard and Princeton. Both sides won their opening games last weekend – Princeton 72-0 over Penn, Harvard 22-7 over Yale. On first glance, it appears that Princeton has a more potent attack, and they certainly showed some flair against the Ivy rookies a week ago.
The Tigers moved the ball around well and got out to a 51-0 halftime lead before substituting heavily. Over the course of the day, Devan Kreisberg led the team with three tries, while Stephanie Kim and Obianuju Obioha crossed the line twice. Dot Mittow, Morgan Arthur, Nicole Pennycooke and Lelabari Giwa-guri also scored, while Mittow and Cat Lambert handled the kicking duties.
Harvard used the game against Yale to inaugurate some of their rookies, which helps explain their modest score against their traditional rival. Both time Harvard and Princeton played last year, the Tigers came out on top, narrowly, so this early-season game will be an interesting look into who has the edge in 2012.
The other two matches pit four teams looking for their first win this season. Penn and Columbia – which suffered the biggest losses last weekend – go head to head, and will certainly be looking to erase last Saturday from their collective memory with a victory. Tough to pick a favorite in this match-up, but we’ll give it to Columbia with the home-field advantage.
Cornell is the strongest of the first-time Ivy participants, and we anticipate they’ll win easily over Yale.