It's the theme almost every fall: Teams are putting in extra work, trying to improve so that the sins of history aren't repeated in the future. Extra work doesn't always translate into better results -- there's more at work in development than simply extra repetitions in the preseason -- but it does show something intangible and valuable: Dedication indicates a desire to compete, and a desire to compete illustrates a mentality that success will be pursued under any and all circumstances. This is a good thing, especially for a Harvard squad that hasn't exactly met the expectations set for it over the last few seasons.
Since Chris Wojcik took over the program after John Tillman's departure for Maryland starting with the 2011 season, the Crimson -- despite having talent littering the roster -- is a mere 16-14 overall with a 6-8 record against Ivy League opponents. Harvard was shut out of the Ivy League Tournament last year, just a season removed from playing Cornell for the tournament title in 2011. You'd like to think that 2012 was an aberration for Harvard -- what with a loss to a 3-10 Pennsylvania squad and three other losses that saw the final margin at two goals or less -- but until the Crimson get out on the field next spring the questions as to whether Harvard is truly ready to take a step forward and compete at both league and national levels will remain.
The Crimson do have a lot of things working in their favor for 2013 (outside of simply re-dedicating themselves to the game). Despite the loss of Jeff Cohen to graduation, the Crimson return a host of talent -- Daniel Eipp (A), Will Walker (A), Carl Zimmerman (A), Stephen Jahelka (D), and Jason Gonos (D) -- and will break-in some freshman -- Ian Ardery, Robert Duvnjak, Devin Dwyer, and Walker Kirby -- that are among the strongest in the country and could contribute immediately. Throw in the fact that outside of Cornell, the Ivy League is pretty open: Yale is overrun with questions as to how its offense will operate without Matt Gibson and Deron Dempster (and there's also a goalkeeping situation hanging over the head of the Elis); Princeton is going to be replacing the heart of its defense from a season ago; and Pennsylvania, Brown, and Dartmouth haven't exactly shown everyone what their ceilings are for 2013.
The Crimson have opportunity available to them, and with some extra work, they could cause a ruckus.