Ah, tradition--it's what makes Harvard and Zero Mostel great.
But not all Crimson traditions date back to 1636. In only two years, the Harvard women's soccer team has established a tradition of eastern supremacy.
Last year, the Crimson booters netted the Ivy League championship for the second year in a row, settling for a 1-1 tie with Cortland State for the Eastern crown and a 15-1-1 season record.
Although coach Bob Scalise is quick to point out that "you can't live on what you did last year," he also acknowledges that "the team's strength lies in the tradition. People are coming back more relaxed and confident that if they do what's expected of them they can be successful."
The squad lost a quantify of quality players last year, including high scorer and al-Ivy forward Julie Brynteson, who will be an assistant coach to the team for the season, all-Ivy goalie Wendy Carle, and 1979 co-captains Stephi Baum and Ellen Hart. Still, seven of last year's starters have returned to form the core of a potentially stronger team.
This preseason, as the booters agonize through triple sessions, Scalise says he wants to concentrate on two things.
First, he wants to get the team playing together as a cohesive unit because "each year you get a group of different individuals but if you can develop a team philosophy from those individuals then there's no telling what you can do."
Second, Scalise wants to work hard on conditioning, which he believes accounted for the many Harvard overtime wins last year.
Yet, whatever the team lacks in endurance this year, they'll make up in speed, with the help of lickety-split-quick junior Cat Ferrante and senior co-captain sue St. Louis.
A three-year veteran of Crimson soccer, St. Louis captured top-scoring honors in her freshman and sophomore years and was second only to Brynteson last year. Named to the all-Ivy team, St. Louis lends speed and gritty determination to the center forward position. Last year she notched the overtime goal that broke the deadlock between Harvard and UMass in the second round of the Eastern tourney, avenging the Crimson's only loss last season at the feet of the Minutemen.
On the front line, St. Louis will be flanked by Ferrante, another all-Ivy forward.
Best known for her speed, Ferrante was one of the high scorers last season. Her goals included a hat trick she scored against Smith and the mark that pushed Harvard past Brown in one of the toughest games of the season.
Although Ferrante relies mainly on speed to frustrate opponents, over the years she has improved her ball control and developed a more powerful shot that makes a defensive force as well as an offensive threat.
Juniors Ellen Jakovic, Cecile Scoon, and sophomore Kelly Gately all saw varsity action on the front line last year. And should the ball get past them, halfback veteran Sara Fischer, co-captain Gia Johnson and sophomore enforcer Jeanne Piersiak will all return to clog up the midfield.
In the defense department, the Crimson lost a lot of strength since fullbacks Baum and Sally Kingsberg graduated along with goalie