There they go again, dragging up the ghost of the 1904 Harvard golf team.
Today, the Harvard women's lacrosse team will face William and Mary in the first round of the NCAA lacrosse tournament in Willamsburg, Va. No Harvard team has won an NCAA tournament since those long gone golfers did 84 years ago, but the Crimson laxwomen are in an excellent position to do so.
All the Crimson (11-2) has to do is win three games in a row, a feat it has accomplished several times this year. And Harvard has the guns to do it, including bazooka Kate Felsen and machine gun Char Joslin.
A victory today over the Indians (11-1) would put the Crimson in the NCAA semifinals, where it would meet top-seeded Temple (15-0 and the number-one ranked team in the nation) Saturday in Philadelphia.
In the other first-round game, Northwestern (9-5) will play Penn State (13-3) in State College, Penn. The winner of that game will face Lafayette (17-1) in Lafayette, Penn.
William and Mary is no pushover, of course. No team in the tournament is. The Indians sport a firing line of Danielle Gallagher (28 goals, 17 assists for 45 points), Cheryl Boehringer (24-5--29) and Karen Acosta (16-2--18).
Goalie Carlen Sellers is the owner of a 5.1 goals-against average (a mark the Crimson likely will raise) and a .588 save percentage.
The Indians, as their nickname suggests, are fast. Taking this into account, the Crimson scrimmaged against the Harvard men's JV team Monday.
Harvard, which has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1984--when it suffered a 5-4 defeat at the hands of the University of Massachusetts in the quarterfinal round--has the goal-scorers to go all the way. Felsen, the team's co-captain, has turned in a career year with a 38-14--52 line and seems destined for All-America honors. Joslin is proving as adept with a lacrosse stick as she is with a hockey stick. She sports a 29-9--38 line.
Co-Captain Leelee Groome, whose aggressive style has put the fear of Harvard into opponents up and down the East Coast, is third on the team in scoring (20-11--31.)
A good deal of credit for the Crimson's success this year--Harvard wrapped up its first outright Ivy League title since 1985 a week ago--must go to goalie Kelly Dermody. Dermody was in net the year Harvard lost to Dartmouth in 1985, the first time in six years the Crimson failed to win the Ivy title. Since then, Dermody has helped lead Harvard to a share of the Ivy crown last year and an outright league title this year.
Dermody goes into today's game with a 5.31 goals-against average and a .653 save percentage.
Harvard took a nine-hour bus ride to William and Mary yesterday. More long journeys await the Crimson if it advances in the tournament. But nothing is sweeter than an NCAA championship, an opinion the members of the 1904 golf team would confirm, if only they were around today.