Harvard will need to perform well in its opening game against Rhode Island on Sept. 13.
"Rhode Island is great to open with," Caples said. "They're aggressive, physical and scrappy. We'll need to control the ball in the midfield and allow the backs to develop and be attacking."
Last year, Harvard edged Rhode Island in overtime, 3-2.
Caples forecasts Princeton, which finished second in the nation last year, as the team to beat. The Tigers did not graduate anyone from last year and boast goalie Gia Fruscione. Amy MacFarlane, who played on the Canadian national team and earned All-Ivy honors, Kathleen Kelly and Kirsty Hale all bolster Princeton, which is strong up the middle.
"The pressure's on them, but the entire conference is very strong," Caples said. "There's parity in a good sense. There are a lot of quality athletes."
Harvard graduated one of its own stars last-year in Daphne Clark '97, who played sweeper the previous two years.
"Daphne contributed a lot, both on and off the field," Caples said. "Sweeper is a critical position, and Daphne had good knowledge of the game. She gave us good direction."
Stringer will likely replace Clark at sweeper.
"Beck is knowledgeable," Caples said. "It's a matter of taking her strength and incorporating it into our style."
Clark also hit most of the corner shots for the team last season, with Schoolwerth taking the remainder. This year, the team expects Romano to take over Clark's share.
Junior midfielder Caroline Johnston, a new addition to the team, will add some more maturity to the young squad.
"We have a great core of people returning," Stringer said. "Last year, we had a lot of goal scoring. I can see progression."
Which, if true, will load still more ammunition into Harvard's already-stacked six-guns.
Record: 11-8, 5-1 Ivy
Coach: Sue Caples
Captains: Amy Dimarzio, Beck Stringer
Key Returnees: Junior Judy Collins, sophomores Anya Cowan and Katie Schoolwerth
Key Loss: Daphne Clark