First-year Harvard field hockey Coach Nita Lamborghini says she's not guaranteeing any of her players starting jobs.
"I couldn't even tell you who's going to be varsity players," says the squad's third coach in history.
And considering the stickwomen's record last year, that's probably a good thing. Touted as the favorite to wrest the 1984 Ivy crown, the Crimson fell to the Ancient Eight cellar with a 5-10 overall record that included 10 shutout losses.
At one point, the stickwomen suffered throught their worst losing streak in history--six consecutive shutout defeats.
But unfamiliar faces abound on this year's team, and that could produce some interesting results.
"We have a real strong group of young players. It looks really good for preseason," says Lamborghini, who coached at Tufts for two years before accepting the Harvard post.
"The whole atmosphere has changed," says Crimson Co-Captain Annie Kelley, "just about everything has."
Just about everything includes the starting lineup, which lost seven players to graduation.
Co-Captains Alicia Clifton and Kelley, Leelee Groom, Linda Runyon, and the versatile Bambi Taylor--all returning varsity players--figure to be clear leaders on the inexperienced squad.
"Practice is more intense now, and there's a new attitude about the whole team," says junior forward Gia Barresi, adding that Lamborghini is emphasizing conditioning.
The rookie coach is "intense, and psyched like us," Kelley adds. "Her excitement is completely contagious."
"It's really a team this year," says Clifton. "We have no real superstars, but everyone will contribute. We'll be in every single game."
But unlike last year, this team's success, if any, will come as a surprise--and Lamborghini says that's exactly what she wants.
"We have lots of speed and athletic ability," she notes, "and we have the potential to do very well this year."
If Lamborghini's squad does well, though, it'll have to do it on the road. A grueling schedule puts the Cantabs away from home for a good portion of the season.
And if the Crimson has any eyes on what would be its first Ivy crown in history, it will have to compete with some very talented--and favored--league rivals, such as Brown, Dartmouth and Penn.
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