When the Harvard lacrosse team opens its season against Mass Maritime this Saturday at the Business School Field, more than half of the squad members will be freshmen or sophomores.
"Our problems right now are inexperience and nervousness." Crimson coach Bob Scalise said yesterday, "but by midseason we are going to be a very good lacrosse team. We'll see the best stickhandling we've had in quite a while. This team can move the ball very well."
That this year's squad would have to worry about inexperience is the last thing that you would expect if you looked at last year's roster. Of the 30 players who appeared in a game in 1975, only seven graduated. The team scored 190 points last season; the players who graduated scored only 20.
Unfortunately, graduation is not the only form of attrition. Four players, Dave Anish, Scott Clemson, Al Senior, and Mike Doherty--the fastest man on the team--took the year off. Another three, Charlie Coolidge, Tom Hagerty, and Jeff Flanders, left the program. Hagerty and Flanders were slated to start on defense.
Scalise feels that the players who took the year off did so for personal reasons. The three men who left the squad, he said, may have done so because the program "is more rigorous than it used to be, and some people aren't willing to make that kind of a commitment. It's inevitable that you'll have some cases like that when you change things over the way we have."
But, regardless of the reasons, the way has been opened for an influx of young players. This is the first year that freshmen are eligible to play varsity lacrosse in the Ivy League, and Scalise is taking full advantage of that rule change.
On attack, the Crimson returns two starters, Bill MacKenzie and Bill Tennis. MacKenzie was the leading scorer at that position last year.
Tennis, on the other hand, spent the early part of the season as a midfielder. In his first game up front, he pumped in eight goals to destroy B.C. Sophomore Steve Martin has claimed the starting spot alongside this pair, but freshman Gordie Nelson will see a lot of action.
At this point, captain Kevin McCall, sophomore Bobby Mellen, and freshman Bill Forbush are running on the first midfield, while senior Andy Gellis, sophomore Hank Leopold, and freshman Mike Faught man the second unit.
They are backed up by Sandy White and Giles Whalen, and sophomores Chris Doherty and Bill Lewis. The team's other captain, Bruce Bruckmann, and fellow midfielder Scott Mead are both out with costly injuries.
The defection-weakened defense has one starter back, Mike Belmont. Two sophomores who didn't play last year are currently working with him. Chris Ecker and Kenny Sears.
Veteran Jim Michelson and freshman Ken First are battling to replace the graduated Leroy Thompson at goalie.
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