In sports, bench strength is the measure of a winner. In this Saturday's opener with Wesleyan, varsity soccer coach Bruce Munro hopes to field a winning team with virtually all its offensive strength in the starting lineup. Munro has assembled a potent forward line supported by three fine halfbacks, but is faced with a dearth of defensive talent and reserve strength.
The picture is not bleak, however, because Munro has been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm and determination of his young team. By didn't of heavy work, in only two weeks of pre-season practice the team has improved its passing and playmaking to a level not reached until midseason last year.
In a controlled scrimmage with Boston University Monday, the Crimson shut out the week Terrier 9 to 0. Seven of the nine goals were scored by the first line, however, revealing the distressing thinness of this year's team.
This is the front line that will probably play most of Saturday's game; outside right, Bill Linglebach; inside right, Marv Weiss; center forward, Mauricio Toro; inside left, Hank Holmes; outside right, Godfrey Truslow. Toro, a starter in 1952 but out last season, has become this line's key playmaker. Weiss, Truslow, and Linglebach were regulars last year, while Holmes, a sophomore, impressed Munro enough to earn a starting position. Truslow has been slowed by a leg injury which may give Ed Churchill and exveteran Juan Vollenweider a chance to make more than token appearances.
Close behind Linglebach will be Bill Cowperthwaite, a tall senior who alternated with him last year. Backing up the center of the line, Munro will have Dick Fisher and sophomores Chuck MacVeagh and Grey Hodnett. MacVeagh is the surprise of the squad, never having played before this fall.
No Holmes Replacement
Captain Carey McIntosh and Stacy Holmes will start again at left and center half. Denny Little will start at right half. Munro will use Erik Stapper, a native of Holland, to relieve McIntosh and Little, but so far has been unable to find a suitable replacement for Holmes.
The three defensive positions are still undecided, as Munro is searching for men with what he calls "defensive instincts." Hugh Sargent seems to have the edge over George McGarrity at one fullback, while either Eric Franck or Zaid Rifai will play at the other.
At goal, Munro plans to rely heavily upon Lindsay Fischer, Pete Briggs' understudy last season. He has also tried Summer Kaufman, Elliott Finklestein, and Bob Dubinsky in the nets.
As for the Crimson's chances, Munro is as optimistic as he ever allows himself to be. With due regard for the disabling ability of injuries to a few key men, he expects a great improvement on last year's four won, seven lost record.