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Elaine Kellogg was talking about the 1979 Harvard field hockey season. Or rather, not talking about it.
"I think the team is starting fresh," the senior co-captain said, preferring to look ahead. "We're really excited and ready for a good fall."
A year ago, the untouted, inexperienced stickwomen jumped out to a flashy 6-3 record but suffered a forgettable stretch run, squandering their playoff chances and .500 mark with four consecutive defeats. So it's easy to see why Kellogg likes to look ahead, not behind.
"This seems like a good year to put it together," she said. "I've played with some of these people for three years, and the team is really close. We've hardly lost anybody."
Part-timer Julie Cornman is the only subtraction from Coach Edie MacAusland's inaugural crew, and there's a big addition. Tania Huber, a starter two years ago at right link, returns after a year off to shore up the offense.
She joins top scorers Sue Field (five gaols, three assists), Kate Martin (four, three), and co-captain Chris Sailer (five, zero) in trying to solve Harvard's biggest problem of last season--scoring goals.
"Tania's got great stickhandling skills, she's fast, and she's just so aggressive," Sailer says. "She'll help the goal-scoring problem a lot."
Standout goaltender Betty Ippolito and capable backup Katie Williams return to anchor a defense that had few lapses in '79. Annie Velie leads an experienced midfield corps where only speedy Sarah Chubb, inactive all summer because of illness, is a question mark.
MacAusland doesn't expect another bumper crop of freshmen like last year's, but some new faces should win spots.
"You never know who will contribute until the season starts," Kellogg says. Francesca Den Hartog, who tallied nine goals for the junior varsity a year ago, would have been one new name on the roster, but she has apparently decided not to return.
"It's tough, especially in women's sports, to figure out which recruits will be prominent," Sailer says, adding, "We'll know more once practice starts."
Otherwise, the only difference is the squad's experience. Last year, no seniors started; this year half a dozen will, along with as many juniors.
Increased output from the goal scorers, couples with the usual defensive prowess and Ippolito's sparkling play should vault the stickwomen into the national rankings. An expanded playoff format will ease the way toward post season play, and cap a season next year's captains willwant to talk about.
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