The first clue was Denise Katsias' jersey. It was turquoise.
Katsias, the junior goaltender, had abandoned her traditional gray garb in favor of more colorful clothes.
Likewise, her squad--the Harvard field hockey team--had' a new style. Yesterday at Soldiers Field, the Crimson was daring, running down Boston University, 2-1.
Two years ago the Crimson did not have much flash. Whether Harvard won, lost or tied boiled down to how effective Katsias was in net.
If she was great, the Crimson won. Or tied.
If she was mediocre, the Crimson lost.
Two years ago, the Crimson played defense and occasionally (okay, rarely--only 10 times the entire season) sent a ball into the opposing net.
The Crimson played defense. And defense can be dull.
Last year was the same story. The Crimson let Katsias hold the fort.
Two years ago, the Crimson finished with a 3-8-4 record. Last year, the Crimson finished with a 3-8-4 record.
For two years, the Crimson played defense. And defense can be detrimental.
This year, Harvard has already won six games.
The loneliest goalie is the happiest goalie. The fewer shots, the better. Just ask Penn goalie Susan Gatland, who barely lifted a stick last year and is now wearing an Ivy League championship ring.
Yesterday, Katsias was called upon to make a half-dozen difficult saves, coming out of the box and kicking the ball out of the penalty circle. But yesterday, Katsias had a cause. Her offense gave her two goals. She had a lead to protect.
A new jersey. A new feelling.