Spring training is over for Harvard's softball team. Now comes the real stuff.
The Crimson travels down south to face Princeton on Saturday and Pennsylvania on Sunday. Its fate in the Ivy League may very well be determined by these early season games.
"We expect to be strong in the Ivy league," Coach Barry Haskell said. "This is a crucial weekend for us since half of our Ivy games will be played this weekend."
Three pitchers will take the mound for the Crimson this weekend. Co-Captains senior Julie Fromholz and junior Christine Carr will be joined by Jennifer Kimble, a freshman from California.
"Jennifer has given us depth and flexibility in our pitching staff," Haskell said. "She's an added plus this particular year."
The Crimson pitchers are cool in the face of pressure, confident of their team's ability.
"As a freshman, I've never seen any of these teams," Kimble said. "Pitching-wise, I know they are really good hitters. It will be a mental game of out-thinking the batters and keeping them on their toes."
Fromholz shares her cohort's optimistic outlook:
"It's hard not being intimidated by Princeton because they have a very good history," Fromholz said. "This year they are definitely beatable."
If the Crimson is to defeat the formidable Tigers, Harvard's hitting, must break loose in the early innings.
"Princeton is very strong," Haskell said. "A sophomore pitcher, Lisa Moore, is a very good player and helps them quite a bit.
"I would expect them to be the toast of the Ivy League as they have been for the past several years," Haskell continued. "Princeton is a well-coached and a well-disciplined team. Penn is also a well-coached team.
"The key for us is whether we can use our depth to score runs," Haskell said.
"Everyone is excited," Fromholz said. "They should be good games. We've never beaten Princeton, but there's a good chance of doing so this year."
One thing that concerns the team is the weather.
"Although we prepared for these games quite well by working on our pitching and hitting, the weather is a factor," Haskell said. "We couldn't get outside."
It's not a tremendous concern, however, and the Crimson is buoyed by the knowledge that it is capable of knocking off the Tigers.
"We have a very good team," Fromholz said. "I don't plan on doing anything different on the mound. We'll just go out hard and try to win."