It may win the NCAA championship in the sunny days of May, but for now, it toils in the damp chilliness of March.
The Harvard women's lacrosse team, which expects bright things in the weeks and months ahead, officially opened its 1993 preseason this past weekend with a series of difficult scrimmages at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
Playing seven different opponents for 25 minutes each, the Crimson discovered various team weaknesses and worked on settling different players into new positions.
"As the weekend went on, we got better, and of course we got a lot of constructive work in, so from that standpoint I'm happy," Coach Carole Kleinfelder said. "Overall, I thought our defense was pretty good, but our transition and clearing games were just awful. We really need to work on them."
Against the impressive competition--Scotland, Virginia, Penn State, Wales, Team USA, William & Mary, and Towson State--Kleinfelder juggled her lineup in an effort to maintain offensive firepower while shoring up the inexperienced defense.
Harvard's senior Co-Captains, Liz Berkery and Rachel Burke, both tried different positions.
Berkery moved to centerfielder for the first few scrimmages, only to shift back quickly to her normal position of attacker.
Burke, who has played on the Crimson defense for most of her career at Harvard, moved to center-fielder to fill in the gap left by Berkery.
"It's just too distracting for our offense not to have Liz at attacker," Kleinfelder said. "The new combination [with Burke at center] seemed to work well in the last game."
The goaltending position, which many observers have pinpointed as a potential weakness on this season's Harvard squad, was played alternately by sophomores Liz Williamson and Rebecca Ewing.
"I thought both of them had moments where they stood out, and I don't think either of them is a lock for the position," Kleinfelder said. "Liz, though, probably has a slight edge right now."
Harvard will have to work out its kinks with goalkeeping and with the rest of the team soon.
The team's next game will be tomorrow at Ohiri Field, against Massachusetts.
The Crimson sounds ready, if you listen to the coach. "I feel like we're in a great position to move on," Kleinfelder said.
"We know exactly what we have to work on now, and it's up to us to do it."