I’ve seen more Penn sports than I’d like to admit in the last year (including, miraculously, covering five of Penn basketball’s nine victories since January), so I’d like to think that my look into the next semester’s worth of Penn sports will yield some strong predictions.
And here’s my chance to be proven incredibly wrong, so have at me the same way that Jerome Allen critiques his leading scorer, for some reason, on any given night.
1. Tony Hicks scores 40 points against Cornell.
Yeah, Tony Hicks is coming off of a few bad nights. But this man tore Cornell up last season, putting up 29 points away from home, because what else are you going to do in Ithaca, N.Y. besides rip apart the Big Red?
And this season, Cornell is bad. How bad? The Big Red are 0-10 on the season and have lost every game by an average of 17.7 points. If Penn has any shot in hell at bouncing back from a disappointing start and saving face in the Ivy League, its first contest against Cornell at home on Feb. 7 is a must-win. And Hicks, who has an eye for the big game, will rise to the occasion.
2. Jerome Allen flips out at journalist who asks about his job security.
Our favorite basketball coach at Penn (besides Mike McLaughlin) has never been happy with The Daily Pennsylvanian’s coverage when his squad is struggling, and this season is going to be very similar to the last. A year further into the hole that is his time as Penn’s head basketball coach and with the athletic director who hired him on his way out the door, Allen will be on the hot seat.
When exactly will Allen flip his lid?
I’m thinking NJIT. Last year, Penn struggled to handle the lowly Highlanders, and we’ve seen so far this year that Penn has had a lot of similar results to last season. The Quakers will most likely go into that game with a 3-12 record, and if they lose to NJIT, the aftermath won’t be pretty.
3. After losing an entirely senior infield, Penn softball finishes second in Ivy South division, losing to Princeton.
If you look at the matchups that Penn and Princeton had last year, Princeton softball coach Lisa Sweeney clearly had a good strategy in place to handle coach Leslie King’s offense. The Tigers have very strong hitters, and if junior pitcher Alexis Borden can’t find her good stuff against Princeton, it won’t end well for the Quakers.
Penn has lost its top three hitters from last year, including Brooke Coloma, who had the 17th-best batting average in the entire country.
This isn’t a bold prediction so much as an intelligent guess. If softball has an off season — unlike its men’s basketball counterparts — it won’t be an indictment on the program. The team is rebuilding, but the Quakers will be back.
4. Sydney Stipanovich leads Penn women’s basketball to Ivy glory.
Princeton and Harvard stand before women’s basketball as the teams to overcome if Penn will end the season as Ivy champions. The Tigers? They lost superstar Niveen Rasheed — one of the best players in program history. And even though Princeton’s young players are strong, the Quakers will be able to handle the Tigers.
And Harvard? Yeah, they have one of the nation’s best players in sophomore Temi Fagbenle, but Penn was able to take down the Crimson once last year in spite of Fagbenle. The Quakers will have an even easier time this year thanks to freshman Sydney Stipanovich, who has the size to tangle with Fagbenle down low.
5. Alek Torgersen grows beard … and becomes Penn’s starting QB.
Freshman quarterback Alek Torgersen’s name was spelled wrong on PennAthletics.com this fall until a day after the season ended. But it will definitely be spelled right when coach Al Bagnoli announces in the spring that he will be the starting quarterback for the Red and Blue come September. Torgersen looked fantastic against Cornell, and he is the man to lead Penn going forward.
For the record, if even one of these predictions comes true, I’ll be happy, because just like Penn basketball, I’m striving for mediocrity.
JOHN PHILLIPS is a senior English major from Philadelphia and is a sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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