"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
The witty sage who first said this probably did so after watching the Harvard women's tennis team status-quo itself through last season.
Though the Women in White made all the moves last fall to change their upper echelon country club image while trying to improve on a 10-7 1976-77 slate, a new coach and a slew of top flight freshman only managed a typical 10-5 season and fourth place finish in the Ivy League.
What looked to be the start of a new attitude and new tradition for women's tennis at Harvard began pretty convincingly last fall with the appointment of Peter Felske as head coach.
Felske, the Warren Beatty look-alike with a style to match, instituted a running program and longer workouts for starters. He then sat back and watched as the squad, aided by four talented freshmen, rolled up a perfect 5-0 fall slate and finished first in both the Greater Boston and Mass. State Championships.
It seemed that the days of "'Cliffe tennis", Corey Wynn, Lissa Muscatine, and 9-0 losses to Yale were mercifully over. They weren't.
The racquetwomen proceeded to go 5-5 in the spring, and in addition to the traditional trouncing at New Haven, lost Ivy matches to Dartmouth and Penn, the latter a squad they would have laughed at in the fall.
And while the individuals were gifted and the record was still a ways above .500, Harvard women's tennis was still in the tourist section as far as Ivy tennis was concerned.
Nevertheless, everyone returns from last season's squad, a nucleus which few other squads can boast. As of now sophmores occupy the top three spots, as Martha Roberts, Meg Meyer, and Libby Pierpont all seek to improve on their rookie slates.
Sally Roberts, one of two seniors in the top eight, played number one before her sister Martha came along, and now hangs around at number four, a hardened Ivy competitor. Junior captain Katie Ditzler, the Californian who doubles as a volleyball star, holds down post number five, while sophomore Leslie Miller is number six.
The Roberts sisters and Pierpont and Ditzler are the top doubles teams.
This is all barring another influx of amazons in Tretorns, of course. Should Felske be that lucky, we'll probably see some more changes.