But many observers aren’t expecting much from this year’s Crimson after last year’s 8-7 edition suffered from a propensity to prepare inadequately for games against lesser opponents and stumbled to a 2-4 Ivy record.
Yet, with their athleticism and motivation—the seniors have never beaten Yale—the Harvard players feel they’re being underestimated.
“I think there’s no reason we shouldn’t compete strongly for an Ivy League championship,” said junior midfielder Doug Logigian.
The road to the Ivy title, though, almost certainly goes through defending national champion Princeton, which has won its last 37 Ivy games and captured the past seven league championships.
Still, the Crimson, which was ranked No. 25 in Face-Off Yearbook’s Preseason Coaches Poll, is looking to change its approach to facing the top teams in the country.
“We can’t go in to those games just hoping to win,” Logigian said. “We have to go in expecting to win.”
Undoubtedly, much of that confidence will come from last season’s victory over then-No. 12 Duke, which the players are already citing as proof that they can compete with any team in the nation.
To join the nation’s elite, however, the Crimson will have to overcome the graduation of 14 seniors, including co-captain Dana Sprong ’01 and Roger Buttles ’01, the team’s two leading scorers, who accounted for 40 goals and 30 assists between them.
The rest of the team’s top 14 scorers, however, were underclassmen, so Harvard won’t necessarily struggle to find the net.
Indeed, the Crimson’s two most decorated returning players—Face-Off preseason Honorable Mention All-Americans Matt Primm and Logigian—didn’t shy away from the scoreboard either last year.
Primm, a junior, finished third on the team in both goals and assists, with 19 and 11, respectively, in garnering First-Team All-New England and Honorable Mention All-American honors. Logigian joined Primm as a First-Team All-New England selection, and his 22 goals were good for second on the team and a place on the First-Team All-Ivy squad.
Both expect even more from themselves this year.
“I really want to have the ball on my stick a lot of the time,” Logigian said. “I feel confident with it there and in my ability to make things happen with it.”
He won’t just be looking to score, though.
“If I’m drawing one of the better defensemen and beating him and being able to get the ball to somebody else, I’ll be just as happy doing that.”