The Harvard women's lacrosse team the 1981 Eastern and Ivy League champions, the fourth ranked team in the country, and Harvard's strongest team south of Hemenway last year will open its expectation ridden 1982 campaign this morning when they face William and Mary in Baltimore.
The Indians, ranked eighth in the country last year, should give the Crimson stickwomen an idea of where they stand nationally, as Harvard preps for a spring break tour that can only be described as ferocious.
While most of Cambridge will be fleeing for warmer and more comfortable climes, head Coach Carole Kleinfelder's charges will be facing off against the stellar likes of Maryland (number one nationally last year). Ursinus (number two). Temple (number three), and Penn--Harvard's only slated Ivy League competition.
"Within the first five games we could do it all," said Kleinfelder this week of the relentless schedule. "We want to see the competition early. If we weren't going to see it now, I think we'd have more trouble later [at Easterns and Nationals]."
After losing defense wing Annie Velie, center Kerry Bryan and midfielder Chris Sailer to graduation, as well as third home Catherine Ferrante to the newly-formed rugby team (all All-Ivy performers). Kleinfelder has altered her lineup considerably Four freshmen Jennifer Greeley and Alicia Carrillo at midfield, and Ellen Velie on her sister's old position and Petrina Burnham on defense should be on the field at the start of this morning's contest.
On offense, Francesca Den Hartog the womer's lacrosse version of Wayne Gretsky last year (83 goals, 27 assists), will move from first home--where she zeroed in on opposing goalies from close range--to third home. "We want to get Fran the ball," Kleinfelder said simply.
This move ought to give Den Hartog the role of play maker as well as scorer and should open up the Harvard rotation offense.
Pick Up the Slack
Along with Den Hartog, Maureen Finn, who notched 67 goals while assisting on 35 others last year, and Lilli Pew, last year's back-up goalie ("A good stickhandler, a great team player," says Kleinfelder), should pick up the slack of Ferrante's absence. Finn will be at second home and Pew at first home.
The defense, which allowed a measly four goals per game last year, will again be led by goalkeep and senior co-captain Charlotte Worsley, who the other co-captain. Annie McMillan, says is "ten times better this year than last year," should also help settle the yardlings down when the pressure is off.
Despite all the changes, the last women remain optimistic about repeating last year's successes.
"Even with all the freshmen. I think we're more together now than we were at this time last year," McMillan said. "Things have jelled much better this year."