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Haverford Spring/Summer 2013 : Page 19

ford games Bowling Them Over on the Cricket Field Cricketer Alisa Strayer—who picked up the sport her freshman year—surprises with her “flighty ball.” By Robert Strauss A PHOTO: THOM CARROLL lisa Strayer ’13 runs toward the wicket with the abandon of a bull at Pamplona, her last few steps a series of skips and hops. As she flings the cricket ball, though, it goes slowly upward in an arching loop, not unlike the famous Eephus, the unhit-table, low-speed pitch invented by baseball great Rip Sewell in the 1940s. The ball bounces in front of the batsman and he gives a mighty swing, slow as the toss seems, but it goes right past him. “I have a flighty ball, which is what they call it—high in the air,” says Strayer of her signature bowl. “It bounces and the guys don’t have enough patience, so they swing ahead of it. It is a silly skill, but it works.” Haverford cricket coach Kamran Khan says he has had about 15 or 16 women players over the more than 25 years he has been at the helm of America’s only collegiate cricket team (and the College’s only coed varsity team), but none have been as good as Strayer. “She is the best bowler we have,” says Khan. “The guys all agree that she has definitely been an important part of the team.” Strayer, who grew up in Los Gatos, Calif., came to Haverford cricket quite by chance. A friend she made in her first weeks at Haverford, Sameep Thapa ’13 , who had played cricket in his native Nepal, said it might be fun if she came out for the team, knowing it did not at the time have any female members. “It just seemed like something new to try, and I like trying new things,” says Strayer. “My mom would probably say I like random and obscure things, but I just like having new experiences and meeting new people.” Her first days on the cricket team were a bit disconcerting, though. Since she had-n’t played before, the coach sat her down on the sidelines to watch. “I think he was scared I would get hurt,” says Strayer. A cricket ball is hard, and fielders don’t wear gloves, except for the wicket-keeper (a rough equivalent of a baseball catcher), who wears two. “Eventually, I watched the people bowling and I thought that was really cool,” she says. “I was getting bored at practice, so I started asking the guys how to do it. I started bugging the coach about SPRING/SUMMER 2013 19

Ford Games

Robert Strauss

Bowling ThemOver on the Cricket Field<br /> <br /> Cricketer Alisa Strayer—who picked up the sport her freshman year—surprises with her “flighty ball.”<br /> <br /> Alisa Strayer ’13runs toward the wicket with the abandon of a bull at Pamplona, her last few steps a series of skips and hops. As she flings the cricket ball, though, it goes slowly upward in an arching loop, not unlike the famous Eephus, the unhittable, low-speed pitch invented by baseball great Rip Sewell in the 1940s. The ball bounces in front of the batsman and he gives a mighty swing, slow as the toss seems, but it goes right past him.<br /> <br /> “I have a flighty ball, which is what they call it—high in the air,” says Strayer of her signature bowl. “It bounces and the guys don’t have enough patience, so they swing ahead of it. It is a silly skill, but it works.”<br /> <br /> Haverford cricket coach Kamran Khan Says he has had about 15 or 16 women players over the more than 25 years he has been at the helm of America’s only collegiate cricket team (and the College’s only coed varsity team), but none have been as good as Strayer.<br /> <br /> “She is the best bowler we have,” says Khan. “The guys all agree that she has definitely been an important part of the team.” <br /> <br /> Strayer, who grew up in Los Gatos, Calif., came to Haverford cricket quite by chance. A friend she made in her first weeks at Haverford, Sameep Thapa ’13, who had played cricket in his native Nepal, said it might be fun if she came out for the team, knowing it did not at the time have any female members.<br /> <br /> “It just seemed like something new to try, and I like trying new things,” says Strayer. “My mom would probably say I like random and obscure things, but I just like having new experiences and meeting new people.”<br /> <br /> Her first days on the cricket team were a bit disconcerting, though. Since she hadn’t played before, the coach sat her down on the sidelines to watch. “I think he was scared I would get hurt,” says Strayer. A cricket ball is hard, and fielders don’t wear gloves, except for the wicket-keeper (a rough equivalent of a baseball catcher), who wears two. <br /> <br /> “Eventually, I watched the people bowling and I thought that was really cool,” she says. “I was getting bored at practice, so I started asking the guys how to do it. I started bugging the coach about it a lot, so they kind of taught me a little.”<br /> <br /> Since most cricket bowlers either pitch with “pace,” cricket lingo for “speed,” or spin off the grass, Strayer’s looping slow bowls throw the batsmen out of whack. Late in the season, against the Royal Automobile Club team, she got a “hat trick,” which is getting three consecutive batters out— a significant accomplishment. <br /> <br /> “I don’t know how long it has been since we had a hat trick,” says Khan. “[That] shows you how good Alisa has been.”<br /> <br /> The Haverford team plays club teams from other colleges, but just as frequently competes against teams based out of country clubs. That skews the age of the players (who can range up to 60), and maybe their lack of acceptance of a woman playing against them, says Strayer. (Freshman Rina Ntagozera, who played on a women’s team in her native Rwanda, has also played off and on for the Haverford team this year.)<br /> <br /> It is not so much that they razz her, strayer says, but that they are sometimes condescending, expecting that she won’t be any good.<br /> <br /> “They cheer for her, and [they] don’t do that for anyone else,” says teammate Danny Rothschild, a sophomore from Evanston, Ill. “I think she would rather everyone treat her like another player, but then she ends up getting [players] out all the time. It comes back to haunt them.” <br /> <br /> Strayer somewhat duplicated her Haverford cricket experience on the squash court. She had never played squash (she ran cross country in high school, but not spectacularly, she says) when a friend encouraged her to come out for the team. In her sophomore and junior seasons, mostly playing down in the line-up, she led the team in victories. In her senior season, she was a finalist for the Wetzel Award, given by the College Squash Association to the best collegiate player who took up the game in college.<br /> <br /> Outside of athletics, Strayer, a psychology major, helped start an after-school program for children living near campus who have autism. Though she initially rebelled against psychology because both her parents are psychologists, she found she would use what she had learned from her parents in early classes. “I decided not to fight it anymore,” she says. She hopes to find work in the field of counseling in New York after graduation. <br /> <br /> But she will probably be hanging up both her cricket whites and her squash racquet. <br /> <br /> “I know there will be a team somewhere, and probably opportunities to play squash,” she says. “But since I always look for new things, I will remember all the good times I have had with the teams, and I am sure I will find something I will like to do.”<br /> <br /> Robert Strauss, a former Sports Illustrated reporter, is the author of Daddy’s Little Goalie: A Father, His Daughters, and Sports.<br /> <br /> athletics news<br /> <br /> Sports Illustrated featured a first-person piece by sports agent Arn Tellem ’76, who wrote about his client Jason Collins— the NBA center who made headlines in April when he became the first man to come out as gay while still active on a major professional sports team. In the piece, Tellem disclosed that he had suggested Collins delay the revelation until he signed a new contract as a free agent, fearing that some teams would be unwilling “to risk potential problems with narrow-minded players.” But Collins was unshakeable, said Tellem, who wrote: “I expect Jason to show the rest of us the right way to deal with prejudice. We must oppose it wherever and whenever we can. ... I’m confident that Jason’s unassailable determination and strength of character will evoke a sense of pride in him within the sports world and pave the way for other gay athletes.”<br /> <br /> Grace Stockbower ’13 (below) was selected by the Intercollegiate WOMEN'S LACROSSE Association to play in the North-South Division III Senior All-Star Game. Stockbower was a mainstay on defense for Haverford throughout her career, starting in 68 of 69 games.<br /> <br /> All-American performances from Avi Bregman and Christopher Stadler, both ’14, and Peter Kissinand Jordan Schilit, both ’13, helped the MEN’S TRACK & FIELD team finish eighth at the 2013 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship in La Crosse, Wis.<br /> <br /> The Middle Atlantic Conference (the College’s former conference) named four Haverford alumni to its all-century men’s track & field teams, which are broken into eras. J. Howard Morris ’30 was named to the 1912-1938 team; James Grosholz ’49 to the 1939-1961 team; and Seamus McElligott ’91 and Matt Leighninger ’92to the 1974-1993 team.<br /> <br /> Kevin Goff ’13 (above), a pitcher who was part of the 2012 Centennial Conference championship BASEBALL team, was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award. After his May graduation, the chemistry major headed to the city of Bergen in Norway, where he will spend a year working in a neuroscience lab at the University of Bergen.<br /> <br /> Haverford saw 80 of its athletes make it onto the Centennial Conference Spring 2013 Academic Honor Roll. To be nominated for the honor roll a student-athlete must be in his or her sophomore year or beyond, achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or higher and participate in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests, matches or meets. The men’s and women’s TRACK & FIELD teams each saw 21 of their athletes earn inclusion. WOMEN’S TENNIS placed five on the honor roll, MEN’S TENNIS placed six, BASEBALL placed nine on the honor roll, while SOFTBALL posted four on the list. In LACROSSE, the men’s and women’s teams both put seven players on the honor roll.<br /> <br /> In more Centennial Conference news, Caitlin Gallagher ’15 (below) became the first Haverford player to be voted conference player of the year in WOMEN’S TENNIS. Tommy Bergjans ’15 became the first Haverford BASEBALL player to be voted conference pitcher of the year.<br /> <br /> Joe Banno ’12, a two-time All-America LACROSSE player at Haverford, made a quick transition from schoolteacher to professional goalie this year when he was signed to the 40-man roster of the Rochester Rattlers in early April and played the home opener against the Chesapeake Bayhawks on April 27.<br /> <br /> MEN’S TENNIS player Kevin Caulfield ’13 made his first appearance at the national level when he played in the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Singles Championship at Michigan’s Kalamazoo College in May. Caulfield, who made it past the opening round of the competition, closed out his senior campaign with a 16- 6 record. He helped lead the Fords into the Centennial Conference tournament final and won the International Tennis Association’s Mid-Atlantic Region Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award. Caulfield was also the Centennial Conference’s sportsmanship award winner.<br /> <br /> The Athletics Department’s annual senior awards ceremony in May recognized Dominique Meeks ’13 of WOMEN'S BASKETBALL and TRACK & FIELDwith the Stephen G. Cary ’37 Award, given to the senior who made the greatest impact on the Haverford athletic program through some combination of participation and achievement, leadership, sportsmanship, off-field athletic department involvement or other contributions. Seven other seniors were recognized at the ceremony for a variety of stellar qualities and achievements, including dedication and perseverance; athletic performance; and highest cumulative grade point average.<br /> <br /> In his book Soccer Dad, published in 2008, novelist W. D. Wetherell, father of Haverford soccer player Matt Wetherell ’12, chronicled his son’s sports career through his senior season of high school. Now, a new revised paperback edition of Soccer Dad has updated that story with the addition of a long chapter that follows Matt’s four years as a soccer player here at Haverford. Central to that story is an account of how the Fords captured the College’s first Centennial Conference championship in November 2012 and went on to play in the NCAA Division III tournament—the first time in more than 30 years the team had qualified for the playoffs.<br /> <br /> Here’s how Wetherell describes the feeling after the Conference championship win:<br /> <br /> What struck the players hardest, when they reported to practice next day, was the novelty, the strangeness, of playing soccer in November. Always before, their season had ended Halloween weekend—there were never any playoff games to prepare for. Now, it was as if they had entered a different time zone, a different latitude—with a different quality of light. This was all uncharted territory, beginning with that weak November sun setting already behind the Walton stands while they were just warming up. Being in conference playoffs had always seemed like something out of Harry Potter—alluring, mysterious, enticing, but nothing that was real enough that they could ever dwell there themselves. What’s it like? They must have wondered each October, so tormentingly close did it seem, so frustratingly far. And now, thanks to their miracle victory (five miracle victories), they were taking a bus on Wednesday to Hogwarts, there to play quidditch against Franklin & Marshall.<br /> <br /> Keep up with your favorite Haverford team at haverfordathletics.com. For more about alumni athletic events and game schedules click on the site’s “alumni” tab.

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