Roundtable: Which Penn team has the best shot at an Ivy title?
As most Penn students celebrate the final day of classes, the majority of people on campus remain aware of the fact that something (read: finals) lurks on the horizon. For five of Penn Athletics’ teams, in addition to dealing with exams, the quest for an Ivy League title remains alive over the course of the next few weeks. As the baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track and field and women’s lacrosse squads attempt to survive and advance, our editors debate which team has the best shot at securing the Quakers’ third Ivy championship this year.
Senior Sports Editor Riley Steele: No matter what anyone says about the baseball and softball teams, there is one right answer here. I would be an idiot to wager for anyone that isn’t Karen Corbett and women’s lacrosse.
While the Quakers’ streak of eight consecutive regular season Ivy League titles came to an end by virtue of their loss against Princeton, Penn has no bad loss on its resume this year. The Red and Blue only fell to teams ranked 11th, sixth and first in the nation in 2015. That’s it.
The Quakers need two wins to capture the Ivy League Tournament title. Penn has already taken down two of the three teams in the field, including its first round opponent, Cornell. Assuming the Red and Blue can make it past the Big Red for a second straight weekend, there’s no reason to doubt the team in a Princeton rematch. With seniors like Tory Bensen, Meg Markham and Lucy Ferguson on the roster, I’d bet any sum of money on Penn women’s lacrosse.
Associate Sports Editor Thomas Munson: If you had asked me which team had the best chance to take an Ivy title in February, I would have said women’s lacrosse without a doubt. But after the Princeton loss and the narrow win over Cornell last weekend, I have to go with baseball.
The Quakers came up just short last season and I can’t envision a scenario in which coach Yurkow doesn’t come back from New York with a division crown this Saturday. If he can do that, there is no doubt that the Quakers claim the overall league title as well. Connor Cuff could get the start on Saturday in the Big Apple, and he has the experience, poise and talent to come away with another big win to extend his career.
That’s not to say that I don’t think the women won’t pull off yet another Ivy title. In fact, I expect them to do so and I would be surprised if the star-filled senior class doesn't hoist another trophy. Still, I feel like baseball is a surer bet.
Associate Sports Editor Tommy Rothman: Baseball and women's lacrosse are solid choices. But there's only one team that can lose its next game and still bring home the title: softball.
Baseball is done if it loses at Columbia, and women's lacrosse can't afford a loss either. But Penn softball is already in the finals, so they have the benefit of getting to play a series. There isn't much margin for error, but there is some.
If the Quakers can take one of two in their series against Dartmouth (two straight wins might be a bit much to ask), anything can happen in the rubber match. All these teams are good, but so are their opponents. Give me the team with the fewest obstacles in its path. You could argue the other teams are more likely to bring home the title, but let's see them get to the finals first.