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It's that time of year again.
The hockey team takes the ice for the first time today.
But Harvard's other hockey team, the women's hockey team, the only Harvard hockey team to finish over .500 last year, does not begin its season until November 19th when it travels to take on Providence.
Much like that of their male counterparts, the team's future will be linked to the ability of the seasoned veterans to mix with the new players.
"There are new bodies all around," Assistant Coach Bill McDonald said. "Every line has changed."
The Crimson only lost two members of last year's squad, although those two did account for fully one-third of Harvard's point production. Ivy League Player of the Year Char Joslin and Martina Albright will be missed for their output and leadership.
However, the 1990-91 team should do just fine. There is a plethora of new faces and a solid core of veterans.
"This will be a very balanced squad," Coach John Dooley said. "There will be a lot more people involved."
"There is no doubt that losing Char will hurt but no one is irreplaceable," junior Co-Captain Sandra Whyte said. "Everyone will have to pick up the slack to make up for the time she spent on the ice."
Harvard still has the services of Whyte, field hockey's Ivy Player of the Year and ice hockey's top scorer the last two seasons.
Senior Co-Captain Sue Cullinane will anchor a solid defense. Cullinane and junior Bev Stickles, who were paired together last season, will be split up to add experience to both defensive lines.
"Sue is way ahead of her play last year," Dooley said, "and both she and Bev have the ability to control the defense."
Senior Gillian D'Souza returns to play between the pipes for the Crimson. D'Souza compiled a .917 overall save percentage last season, allowing an average of 2.21 goals in 10 Ivy League contests.
"Gillian has picked up where she left off," Dooley said. "She has been playing excellently."
Also guarding the nets for the Crimson is sophomore Lexi Shear. In limited action last year, Shear collected one shutout and had a 2.52 goals against average.
The freshmen joining the team include highly-touted left wing Joey Alissi, defender Beth Messmore--sister of junior right wing Lauren--and field hockey standouts Emily Buxton and Francie Walton. Walton collected Ivy Rookie of the Year honors for her contributions this fall to Harvard's league championship team.
Alissi will join juniors Whyte and right wing Ginny Simonds on the first line. Simonds gathered two game-winning goals among her eight tallies in 1989-90.
"This is one of Harvard's strongest lines ever," Dooley said. "Sandra and Ginny have played together for years, and Joey is the top recruit in the Ivy League."
The Crimson also returns second-liners Lauren Messmore and sophomore Kim Landry. Harvard will be without the services of junior Elizabeth Hansen, a member of the national champion lacrosse team. Hansen has chosen to pursue other interests this winter.
Fellow junior Ceci Clark--co-captain of the field hockey team and co-captain-elect for the lacrosse team--is still uncertain whether she will join the team this season.
Also new to the team are junior tennis standout Jen Minkus and Laurie White, a transfer student from MIT.
"Both Jen and Laurie can fit in anywhere," Dooley said.
McDonald adds that White has a "good touch around the net" and that Minkus will be a "strong, effective player" for the team.
As for Harvard's place in the league, the dominant feeling can best be described as uncertainty. Harvard is coming off a mediocre Ivy campaign, but an outstanding finish in the league tournament highlighted by a 5-2 victory over undefeated Cornell.
"Cornell is the team to beat," Stickles said.
The Big Red was the 1989-90 regular season league champion. However, it will have a new head coach this season and with the Ancient Eight fast approaching parity, a Cornell title is no sure thing.
"Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton and Cornell all have strong teams," McDonald said. "But there's no reason why we can't take it."
After its season opener against the Friars at Bright Hockey Center, Harvard will play the rest of its first half of the season on the road. McDonald said that if the team can "sneak in" a few road victories, it will be on home ice for its last four Ivy contests, which should give the team an added boost.
Whyte summed it up very neatly: "Our goal is to win the Ivies."
1990 Women's Hockey Schedule DATE OPPONENT TIME Nov. 19 PROVIDENCE 7:00 Nov. 26 at B.C. 7:00 Dec. 1 at Yale 2:00 Dec. 5 at Brown 7:00 Dec. 7 at Bowdoin 7:00 Dec. 8 at Colby 12:00 Dec. 12 at UNH 7:00 Jan. 3 at Dartmouth 7:30 Jan. 5 at Cornell 1:00 Jan. 6 at RIT 12:00 Jan. 9 MIT 7:00 Jan. 11 at U. Toronto 7:30 DATE OPPONENT TIME Jan. 12 Mar. Hill. Tourn. TBA Jan. 30 BROWN 7:00 Feb. 2 at Princeton 1:00 Feb. 6 vs. B.U. (Beanpot) TBA Feb. 9 ST. LAWRENCE 1:00 Feb. 10 CORNELL 1:00 Feb. 12 at Beanpot TBA Feb. 13 YALE 7:00 Feb. 17 PRINCETON 1:00 Feb. 19 DARTMOUTH 7:00 Feb. 23 IVY LEAGUE Feb. 23 TOURNAMENT TBA
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