Volleyball receives a pleasant surprise
By Lerothodi-Lapula Leeuw
and David Rothstein
For most undergraduates, today is the first day of classes and, therefore, the first day of work. But for about 200 MIT athletes, work began two weeks ago when most varsity teams began practicing in earnest for the upcoming fall season. Several new coaches and many freshman athletes will make their mark this season, along with the returning veterans.
This was not supposed to be a year when the women's volleyball program had many players on whom to rely, but head coach Karyn Altman '78 got a pleasant surprise at tryouts when a number of experienced freshmen as well as upperclassmen came together to make up the 16-person
roster. Only four players returned from last year's squad, but this
year's probable starters Cindy Parrish '92, Denise Nemchev '92 and setter Debbie Rego '91 will be joined by Susie Gardner '92, a .400+ hitter during her freshman year, who chose not to play last season.
Altman said that although
the freshmen lacked exceptional height, they were well-skilled in passing and serving, an asset that the coach plans to exploit in practices and in matches.
Football coach Dwight Smith is still trying out various combinations on the field to put together a winning look when his team opens against Assumption College on Sept. 22. Lost to graduation were top quarterback Tim Day '90 and record-setters Anthony Lapes '90 (wide receiver) and Shane Lahousse '90 (halfback), so Smith has a few holes to fill.
Last year's backup quarterback, John Hur '93, and Archie Roberts '92, a transfer from Duke University (he did not play for Duke), will compete for the QB spot. Senior fullback Garret Moose returns from last year's vaunted backfield, where he will be joined by junior running back Jeff Drbohlav. Roddy Tranum '93 has emerged as top man in the wide receiver slot.
The defensive backfield is intact, said Smith, pointing out returning Engineers like inside linebacker Darcy Prather '91 and [mka]
defensive back and punt-returner Doug Smith '93.
New to the coaching staff
is Vaughn Williams, a Stanford University graduate who played a few years with the San Francisco 49ers in the early 1980s. Williams will coach the defensive backfield.
Five starters have graduated from the team that last year was the surprise winner of the New England Women's Eight Conference Championships. The team's new coach, Suzan Rowe, described the outlook of the upcoming season as "interesting," noting that most returning players are defenders. Rowe said she plans to build the offense around the incoming freshmen.
Head coach Walter Alessi's main concern is to keep his team injury free. A large turnout at tryouts gave Alessi numbers but not as much depth at key positions as he would like to have. Still, he expects the team to improve on last year's record, which included one-goal losses to WPI, Babson College and the United States Coast Guard Academy.
The field hockey team also begins its season under a rookie coach. Sue Landau describes her squad as "small, but [with] a strong core." Team captain Karlin Anderson '91 said that the team has improved each year and that this year's team displays exceptional enthusiasm.
The Engineers open their season Thursday in a home game against Wheaton College.
The women's tennis coach, Candy Royer, is confident of her team's abilities, but she is loathe to make any predictions. The Engineers will face a lot of "quality teams," said Royer, as they try
to improve on last year's 3-13 season.
Many players return to compete for the number one singles spot, but none of last year's doubles players is returning.
The men's tennis team is at its best in five years, according to coach Jeff Hamilton, who has a full team returning along with four good freshman prospects.
"Our goal is to jump into the top 10 of Division III," said Hamilton. "The players just have to stay healthy."
The netters have consistently been in the top 20 of Division III.
The men's cross-country squad is another program that is building a new, young team. Last year coach Halston Taylor lost four of his top seven runners.
"The team is young and developing," said Taylor, who hopes to see this group work up to the level that saw MIT finish eighth at the national championships in 1986.
Team captain James Williams '91 is happy with the spirit of the
team. He said that the runners were encouraging each other, rather than being hard on themselves, as they were last year. He thinks that this new attitude will help the team do better.
The Engineers host Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Saturday at 1 pm in Franklin Park.
The lady harriers are an older and more experienced group than their male counterparts. Most of the team's runners are juniors. Last year the team won half of its contests. Rookie coach Joe Sousa hope to avenge last year's losses and is optimistic about the upcoming season, as is team captain Theresa Fuentes '91.
MIT runs against WPI and RPI Saturday at 1 pm in Franklin Park.
Tri-captains Will Schnorr '91, Lon Van Geloven '91 and Jon Uran '91 lead the water polo team in bid to improve on last year's season, which saw the team finish last at the New England Championships. With a strong core of returning players, which also includes Chad Gunnlaughsson '93 (who this year takes over the goalie position), coach John Benedick expects his squad to be much-improved. Freshman Greg Shank is also expected to contribute.
The golf team, temporarily decimated by injuries and late returners, may be off to a slow start, according to coach Jack Barry. But he hopes that soon
the team will return to its usual form, one that has not resulted in a losing season in 16 years.
Erik Norton '93 sprained an ankle and may miss one or more matches. Among the incoming freshmen who impressed Barry was Heath Hawker, a Canadian.
The sailing Engineers field a very young team, said women's coach Hatch Brown. MIT placed fifth out of eight teams in
last weekend's Man Labs Trophy competition, and tied for fourth in the Rhodes 19 Invitational Regatta. The Engineers, who compete against about 45 college programs in the New England District, will face their toughest local competition from Tufts, Brown and Yale Universities, according to Brown.
Like the women's team, the men's squad is a young one, having lost an unusually large number of seniors to graduation. Coach Skip Whyte said that he has not yet had a chance to see many of the new sailors in action, but expects that next weekend's Nevins Trophy, which takes place at the Merchant Marine Academy, will be revealing.
Brown and Yale Universities, which return teams from last year largely intact, will be the teams to beat, Whyte said.