In a day full of upsets, close matches, and brilliant tennis, Harvard's varsity tennis team dueled Yale for four and a half hours before losing a heartbreaker, 5-4.
It came down to the last match, the number one doubles, with Yale's New England champions, Mike Neely and Bob Hetherington, opposing the Crimson's Frank Ripley and Vic Niederhoffer. The Harvard pair, who played doubles together for the first time two months ago, seemed sure to lose, especially when the Elis swept the first set, 6-1.
Crimson Breaks Serve
But suddenly, everything began working for Harvard. With Niederhoffer's hard serve and forehand scoring point after point and Ripley throwing up lobs that seemed to head for the base line like homing pigeons, the Crimson broke Hetherington's serve twice and took the second set, 6-2.
Only a few bad breaks kept the Crimson from taking the third set and the match. Hetherington served his way out of a match point at 7-6 and fought back from a 30-0 deficit to hold his serve four games later.
The key plays for Yale came with Neely serving and the Elis trailing 9-8. Ripley and Niederhoffer had two match points during the game but Neely's big serve won one of the points. On the second Ripley's hard forehand forced Yale's Hetherington to half-hit his return. Ripley smashed at it, and his forehand volley landed out by six inches.
With the score at deuce once more, the racket slipped out of Neely's hand as he served. The Yale star alertly charged to the net without the racket, however, and Niederhoffer, confused, hit his return out. The Elis went on to win the game.
Finally, in the twenty-first game, Yale broke Niederhoffer's serve on a smashing forehand volley by Neely, and then held Nealy's serve to end the match.
The Crimson could take solace, scoring, as well as in several outstanding individual performances.
It was Captain Paul Sullivan who turned in the biggest individual win of
Chum Steels, at number five, turned the day, whipping Nealy in the number one match, 6-4, 6-4.
In his best match of the year to heat Bob Archer, 7-5, 6-3, and Sandy Walker won the number six match over Cary Perry, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The loss put the Crimson in third place for the season in the Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis League behind unbeaten Princeton and Yale. EITL matches are decided by six singles and three doubles contests, but the unofficial Big Three championship is contested in matches of ten singles and five doubles