Last year, everything about the women's volleyball team was new. Except its final record.
The Crimson was led by first year Coach Wayne Lem, the squad played its first full year in the new Malkin Athletic Center, and eight players wore the Crimson uniform for the first time.
This year, Lem (who had coached at Boston College for 10 years) starts his second year as Harvard coach, the Crimson will play its second full year in the MAC, and the squad returns 12 players from its 5-16 team.
Co-Captains Maia Forman and Jodi Cassell hope familiarity will breed success.
"We would like to establish ourselves as one of the top four teams in the Ivies," Forman said. "We finally have continuity in our players and coaches,"
"We gained a lot of confidence after playing well in the Ivy tournament," Cassell said. "We have to pass better this year if we want to contend with Princeton and Penn. We definitely have a stronger bench this year. This is going to be an exciting year."
After blowing several matches against weaker Tufts, Boston College and Smith teams, the squad finished the season with strong play in the Ivy League Tournament.
Forman and Cassell agree that the team must beat the lesser opponents. "It's definitely important that we beat the smaller teams," Cassell said. "We lost some matches to teams that we should have beaten. The teams we should beat we are going to beat this year."
The season opens September 17 against Wellesley at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson's biggest matches during the year will be at home, when the squad tackles Penn and Princeton on October 23rd and October 24th respectively.
"The two key elements for us are concentration and making up for our lack of height," Forman explained. "We have to keep our heads in the game. When we started winning last year, we started to say, hey, we aren't suppose to be winning. Everybody feels confident about this season."
Until try-outs are over, the spikers will have to rely heavily on seniors Suzanne Tapson and Cassell, sophomores Manda Schossberger and Leah Polikoff and Forman, all of whom were starters on last year's team. In addition, Pascale Jean-Louis--who took a year off from volleyball--has rejoined the team.