Team USA head coach Katey Stone might have taken a year of absence from her coaching duties at Harvard, but she’ll have pieces of Harvard with her in Sochi, Russia, at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Three of her current players -- Lyndsey Fry, Michelle Picard and Josephine Pucci -- and one of her former players -- Julie Chu -- will be joining her on the ice as Team USA aims for its first gold medal since 1998.

THE SOCHI SEVEN
• Harvard's Fry heading to Sochi with special motivation
Youthful Team USA will have heavy Harvard feel
• Student-athletes floored by introduction at Winter Classic
Putting school on hold to chase Olympic gold a tough call
Harvard coach Stone relishing honor of Team USA post
Other NCAA student-athletes competing for gold at Sochi
USA, Canada seem poised for another rematch
Complete coverage of their road to Sochi
“It’s been awesome to see them each earn their way onto this team,” Stone said.

Chu will be competing in her fourth Olympic Winter Games while Fry, Picard and Pucci each withdrew from Harvard for the year to participate in their first Games.

“It’s been great to have people here who know me so well. It’s an easier transition since they’ve known me,” senior Fry said.

Picard emphasized the added comfort of playing with her college teammates on Team USA: “I’m so glad we’ve shared this experience together. It gives us a shoulder to rely on.”

Selected from 41 women invited to a training camp, Chu, Fry, Picard and Pucci have trained in Bedford, Mass., only miles from Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, allowing the girls still in school to meet up with teammates and old professors during their absence.

“It’s the perk of being at a Boston school,” Fry said. “I thought I’d see them all the time, and, yeah, they’re doing homework and they’re busy, but it’s nice to go back to Harvard to hang out sometimes.”

While the American rivalry with Canada is one of the most talked-about facets of an Olympic hockey tournament, for the Harvard girls, it feels no less familiar than playing Cornell, according to Harvard senior Lyndsey Fry. Three players on the Big Red’s roster -- Laurianne Rougeau, Laura Fortino and Brianne Jenner -- also play for Team Canada.

“Competing with those girls is so much fun. It’s the same attitude, same mentality,” Fry said. 

But whether she’s playing Cornell or Canada, Stone plans to approach the games the same way -- keep trying to be one goal better than your opponent. While most would see the competition as very different, Stone insists, “The blood flows the same way. You get just as fired up, trust me.”

While each is relishing in her Olympic journey, a return to the Crimson is imminent, hopefully as Olympic champions.

“I’m so excited to go back to Harvard,” Fry said, “but I want this team to win a gold medal, stay focused, and don’t forget to enjoy the moment.”