Infused with a sense of enthusiasm stemming from what team members see as an ever-improving squad, the women's tennis team returns to Cambridge this fall with sights set on a troika of tourneys.
Expecting to repeat last autumn's successful efforts in the Greater Boston Championships and the Massachusetts state tourney, the netwomen will focus on the New Englands this year in the hope of adding the third jewel to the regional triple crown.
Coach Peter Felske will welcome a host of experienced recquetwomen back to Harvard for an intense slate of matches that scrunches nine different competitons into one month.
Sophomore Tina Bougas leads the returning forces. The Brookline native burst on to the tennis scene last year in glorious fashion, copping a flurry of individual titles and firmly establishing herself as a top player in the region.
Dartmouth will be the team to beat in the New Englands. Bougas says. "I think we'll be able to capture the New Englands as a team, because the program has really been improving," she adds.
The Crimson should recapture the GBCs and state finals without great difficulty. At the Penn State tourney, however, the netwomen will run up against formidable foes, including a powerful Princeton side they will have to defeat in the spring in order to prevail in the Ivies.
Martha Roberts will captain the racquetwomen. Other seasoned veterans include Meg Meyer, Kristen Mertz, Abby Meiselman, and Leslie Miller. Junior Betsy Richmond, the top-ranked performer on the Crimson as a freshman, returns from a year off, but it is not known whether she will play.
Also, Felske can expect assistance from a couple of incoming recruits. In particular, Mabel Pei from Los Angeles should bolster the squad.
The Crimson will meet UMass, B.U., Trinity, and Tufts in head-to-head matches, in a crowded schedule which will not leave the netwomen much spare time from September 21 to October 19.
Felske will try to help the squad to prepare for the spring, Ivy circuit, where Yale and Princeton pose the greatest obstacles to a Harvard league victory. Realistically, the netwomen remain slightly behind the two archrivals in overall depth, but that does not preclude a decent run for the title if the racquetwomen can develop strength in the doubles department.
The caliber of play throughout the Ivies seems to be on the upswing, and several other teams anxiously await an influx of gifted recruits.
But the Ivies do not tale on primary importance for a while. As the netwomen zero in on regional hegemony this fall, they should pile up the laurels along the way. This is one Crimson autumn team that will surely bring a string of victories back to Cambridge.