The Harvard waterpolo team launches what it hopes will be a season of consecutive victories in the opening round of the MIT Invitationals at 5:30 p.m. today.
The team nabbed the MIT crown easily last fall and should encounter only minimal resistance from its five tourney opponents in the MIT DuPont Center waters.
Harvard captain and team coach Phil Jonckheer '74 said Wednesday the Northeastern Huskies may pose the greatest threat, but he said he was confident the Crimson could pull off a clean sweep.
"Our team looks much stronger than last year." Jonckheer said. "The playing is very, very solid."
The Crimson, who copped the New England championship and placed second in the NCAA Easterns with a 19-2 record last year, should play more aggressively with the addition of several promising freshmen.
The newcomers, many from reputable California water holes, have displayed tremendous skill at ball-handling in practice, Jonckheer said.
"There are so many of them, I can't really single any one out," he said. "I can always count on at least 20 to 25 guys showing up at practice and they all seem to know what to so."
Six returnees from the sterling 1972 squad strengthen the chances of a winning season considerably. Senior Peter Kellogg returns in top form to lead the offense. Kellogg last year was named most valuable player at the NCAA Easterns.
Kellogg and returning Peter Hursh are members of last year's coaches All-New England squad. Jonckheer and junior Fred Mitchell, who made the second All-New England team, will join Al Bozer and Warren Otto to pace the Crimson this year.
Jonckheer said the team has been practicing less this year, but at the same time has been practicing more intensely.
"We're going over drills because the key to a good season is a solid knowledge of fundamentals," he said. "The other important thing to work on is getting to know your own players."
The team's only potential weakness will be guarding the goal. Last year's stellar goaltender Doug Forrester has other commitments and will not be playing until the New England tourney next month. Jonckheer said.