The Harvard women's lacrosse team stormed across playing fields in 1988 on its way to a 12-3 record (6-0 Ivy) and a berth in the NCAA semifinals.
This season, having lost three starting attack players to graduation, it's going to take a defensive wall and some emerging shooters for the Crimson to climb back to the top of the college lacrosse game.
The graduation of Kate Felsen, a first-team All-Ivy attack and the top goal scorer in the Ivy League last year, has left the team with an empty holster. The absence of last year's co-captains, Cindi Ersek and Leelee Groome, will deprive the Crimson of even more scoring ammunition. Ersek joined Felsen as a first-team All-Ivy attack, and Groome was a second-team All-Ivy attack.
"We lost a good chunk of our power, really, our ability to score goals," Harvard Coach Carole Klein felder said. "What I'll try to do is take some of our defense players and make them attack players and hope that will balance it out."
Kleinfelder is heading the team for her 11th season, with a chain of seven straight Ivy League titles to her credit.
Co-Captains Katie McAnaney and Lisi Bailliere, as well as the 10 other returning players, will have the responsibility of filling the offensive gap left by last season's shooting superpowers.
"Our captains for this year are really going to have to provide the bulk of the leadership," Kleinfelder said. "I think we're going to lean heavily also on Maggie Vaughan, who has been here for three years as a starter."
Both McAnaney and Vaughan were first-team All-Ivy on defense last year. Char Joslin, a first-team All-Ivy attack in 1988, Karen Everling, Sue Carls and Julia French form the core of the returning players. Carls and French are the backbone of the Harvard defense.
The Crimson's success this year will depend on the strength of its experienced defense. Kleinfelder expects low-scoring games, with the defense keeping the opponent's scoring down, and the attack staying ahead by one or two points.
That may be all Harvard can hope for at the moment.
"I think there is real potential for having a pretty dynamic attack," Kleinfelder said, "but it's not going to happen right away."
Senior goaltender Kelly Dermody, also first-team All-Ivy last year, will be a main factor in keeping the opponent's scoring low this year. The newest goalie addition, freshman Sarah Leary, may not see a lot of varsity action this season, but should be ready to fill the nets in Dermody's stead next year.
"Sarah has the luxury of breaking in without having to face the pressure right away," Kleinfelder said.
Three other freshmen--Cici Clark, Becky Gaffney and Elizabeth Hansen--also join the team this year. But most of the young players will Coach: Carole Kleinfelder Captains: Kate McAnaney, Lisi Baillieri Last Year: (12-2, 6-0) Home Games: Soldier's Field The Schedule
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