KEY LINKS: National Poll l Eisenberg Cup History
The two highest-ranked Ivy League teams in the latest CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll will meet Saturday morning on the Housatonic River in one of the top showdowns of the NCAA weekend. Eighth-ranked Yale and sixth-ranked Princeton, both undefeated so far this season, will race for the Eisenberg Cup in a regatta scheduled to be streamed on the Ivy League Digital Network.
“Yale has traditionally been one of our biggest competitors, and the whole team is really fired up for this Saturday,” said junior Melissa Curtis, a member of Princeton’s unbeaten 2V this season. “We’ve been preparing for this race all year. It’s an extremely important race leading up to Ivies and NCAAs. Our results this weekend will help us figure out our speed relative to other boats nationally.”
Each of the three NCAA boats for both teams are undefeated through the Ivy League season thus far. The Yale 2V also has a season-opening win over Ohio State, though the Tiger 2V is also unbeaten overall (including a win over Michigan State) and continuing to improve as it moves closer to the postseason.
“I think we are feeling better every week,” Curtis said. “The more racing experience we get, the more confidence we gain. As time passes, whether we have bad or good practices, we’re able to learn something every day. Since we focused on strength and fitness this winter, we have shifted more towards technical changes this season.”
The 1V will race for the Eisenberg Cup for the 43rd time since the inaugural race in 1975. Though Princeton holds a 31-11 edge, these races have traditionally been extremely close, especially on the Housatonic. Yale defeated three Ivy teams over two days on its home course last weekend.
It will be a challenging weekend for Princeton, especially with numerous underclassmen holding key spots in most boats. However, head coach Lori Dauphiny often praised the leadership from the Class of 2017, and the younger rowers have clearly benefitted from their presence this season.
“Every single senior brings something valuable and unique to the team,” Curtis said. “I look up to them immensely. They truly lead by example and the juniors have some big shoes to fill next year. I’m so happy that the freshmen have had such an amazing leading class, because they’ve created a team culture of healthy competition and support.”