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CONFERENCE WATCH: Tight Ivy race
by Paul Kennedy, October 30th, 2008 8AM

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Two weeks ago, defending champion Penn and Princeton appeared to be the favorites to compete for the Ivy League women's championship, but Harvard's young team has shaken up the race. With two games left to play, the Crimson have a two-point lead over Princeton and Columbia, while Penn and Yale are longshots. For a look at the Ivy contenders ...

HARVARD. Ray Leone's Crimson took the lead in the Ivy League with a 2-1 win at Princeton, scoring twice in the first eight minutes in a game delayed for 70 minutes in the second half because of a thunderstorm. The first goal came with 22 seconds when sophomore Katherine Sheeleigh fed junior Kelli Okuji for her first goal of the season. The second goal came when Sheeleigh scored on a free kick from about 30 yards out. Freshman Melanie Baskind leads the Crimson with six goals and six assists, followed by Sheeleigh with five goals and five assists.
Junior Laura Dale (5-0-1 with 0.61 GAA) has been outstanding in goal since replacing the injured Lauren Mann.

PRINCETON. Last year the Tigers began 3-0-0 in the Ivy League but finished 4-3-0. This year, they were 3-0-1 going into their game against Harvard. The Tigers have been led by senior Sarah Peteraf, who scored her ninth goal of the season against Harvard. Six of her goals have been game-winners.

COLUMBIA. The Lions remained in the thick of the Ivy race with a 3-1 over Dartmouth thanks to a hat trick by junior Sophie Reiser, who extended her point-scoring streak to 11 games. She benefited from feeds from a pair of first-year players, Liz Wicks and Ashlin Yahr, on her first two goals, then fought through the Big Green defense to raise her season totals to an Ivy League-high 12 goals and 33 points, both of which rank second on Columbia's single-season lists.

PENN. A 2-0 loss at Dartmouth and 0-0 tie with Yale may have ended the Quakers' hopes to repeating as Ivy champions. Hope was high with everyone back from last year's championship team. Sophomore Sarah Friedman has figured in 18 of the Quakers' 32 goals, leading Penn in scoring with four goals and a single-season record 14 assists.

YALE. The Bulldogs have recovered from an 0-2 start in the Ivy League, beating Dartmouth (2-0) and Cornell (3-1) and tying Penn (0-0) the last three weekends. Maggie Westfal, a first-team All-Ivy pick a year ago, leads the Bulldogs with 21 points (7 goals and 7 assists); Emma Whitfield and Becky Brown have 16 points apiece. Goalie Ayana Sumiyasu made three spectacular saves in the tie with Penn.

STANDINGS:
TEAM W-L-T PTS
Harvard 4-1-0 12 pts
Princeton 3-1-1 10 pts
Columbia 3-1-1 10 pts
Penn 2-1-2 8 pts
Yale 2-2-1 7 points
Brown 1-3-1 4 pts
Dartmouth 1-4-0 3 pts
Cornell 1-4-0 3 pts

SCHEDULE:
Saturday, November 1
Brown at Penn, 5 pm
Columbia at Yale, 7 pm
Harvard at Dartmouth, 4:30
Princeton at Cornell, 7 pm

Saturday, November 8
Columbia at Harvard, 11 am
Penn at Princeton, 4 pm
Dartmouth at Cornell, 4:30 pm
Yale at Brown, 7 pm



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