The Harvard women's lacrosse team came within one goal of winning the NCAA crown last year. This year, with several outstanding players lost to graduation and an unproven group of players beyond the first line of stars, Harvard is...

The Harvard women's lacrosse team celebrated the first momentous occasion of its 1993 season with only orange juice and a bag of bagels.

Coach Carole Kleinfelder served up the impromptu breakfast to celebrate the Crimson's last 7:00 morning practice. And although the team seemed content with the reward, it could have asked for more.

A lot more. Remember who this team is.

Harvard women's lacrosse...1990 NCAA Champions and NCAA finalists for three of the last four years...perennial.


powerhouse...ranked second nationally in a pre-season poll and favored to sweep the league title for the 13th straight year.

In other words, this is a team that continually displays its best--and consequently, deserves the best.

But even after coming within one goal of winning the NCAA title last season, this team doesn't expect much more than boiled bread and squeezed fruit.

High expectations and sweeping pronouncements are being put aside. It's back to basics for Harvard this year.

Fixing a Hole

The first problem is filling the gaping hole left by last year's graduating class.

Harvard reluctantly wished good luck to Elizabeth "Buffy" Hansen (second team All-Ivy attacker), Becky Gaffney (second team All-Ivy defender) and Ceci Clark (two-time All-American, 1992 NCAA Defensive Player of the Year and four-year starter).

Perhaps the emptiest void to be filled--or at least the most noticeable--is the one left by goalie Sarah Leary, a first-team All-Ivy selection, two-time All-American and Harvard legend.

And while senior Co-Captains Liz Berkery and Rachel Burke are more than qualified to step in and lead this year's team, the rest of the squad consists of underclassmen.

"The team is in very good hands in terms of leadership with the seniors, Liz and Rachel," Kleinfelder said. "They work hard and care about the team. But the junior class really needs to step up and come through. This is definitely their year."