If you've ever seen L.S.U. play in Tiger Stadium before 80,000 screaming fans, or the Celtics before 15,000 in the Garden, then you know what it is like to meet the Army squash team at West Point.
The stands are packed with Cadets who scream like primates after every point. Two years ago a national championship Harvard team had to fight for its life to squeak out a 5-4 victory at Army. Harvard's Johnny Vinton, in the deciding match, staved off four match points before winning.
Last year on the Harvard courts, a Crimson squad which was much weaker than the previous year's team wiped Army by an 8-1 margin. That's how much difference the home courts can make.
Today's match at Army should be an interesting test under pressure conditions for the high-riding Crimson, especially in the lower matches.
Army has graduated last year's fine top three players, intercollegiate champ Walt Oehrlein, Steve Darrah, and Steve Genoni. No sophomores were starting for Army early last season, but the Cadets developed remarkably as the season progressed.
Shooting for 43 Straight
Harvard, though not in good physical condition, will be favorites to make it 43 in a row today. Captain Dinny Adams (number one), Steve Simpson (five), Craig Stapleton (six), and Dave Benjamin (eight) have all been ailing this week. Against a hustling team like Army, the Crimson will have to be ready for a lot of rough, tiring matches.
Harvard's advantage is at the top of the ladder. Adams, Jose Gonzalez, Rick Sterne, and Todd Wilkinson definitely have the edge over Army. In lower matches, where there is a tendency for in-experienced players to crack under strange court conditions, the Crimson could have problems.