Harvard's tennis team made one of those impossible "Barnaby comebacks" Saturday to end Princeton's 51-match winning streak and four-year domination over the Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis League.
Down 4-2 after the singles, Harvard swept all three doubles matches for the 5-4 margin, to the utter horror and disbelief of a swarm of Princeton rooters.
It was a magnificent team effort, but if heroes must be singled out, Dave Benjamin and Captain Dean Peckham get top honors. They kept Harvard in the match by winning their singles, and then played even more inspired tennis in the doubles.
Benjamin, who has had trouble squeaking past unknowns since he hurt his back a few weeks ago, found his range Saturday. Passing aggressive C.D. Smith right and left in the number two match, Benjamin came up with a brilliant 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Peckham (number four) displayed his usual knack for winning tight matches, whipping Lee Rawis 8-6, 6-3.
Princeton's top player, Keith Jennings, handed booming Chum Steele his first loss of the year, 6-4, 6-4. The remaining singles matches were Princeton's by a mile.
Ham Magill, a lanky baseliner, had his strokes in a groove Saturday, downing Clive Kileff (three), 6-2, 6-2; Tiger captain Warren Daane (five) topped Richie Friedman, 6-0, 6-2; and Jim Lemons (six) blanked Terry Robinson, 6-0, 6-0.
Then came the doubles, and what a change!
Brian Davis and Dick Appleby, Harvard's number two combination, drew first blood by methodically breaking Lemons and Daane, 6-4, 6-3.
Steele and Peckham, the number one team, struck next in a marvelous exhibition of big-time doubles. Matching Jennings and Rawis serve-for-serve, the two Crimson seniors broke service in the 19th game of the first set and the third game of the second for a 11-9, 6-4 triumph.
In the deciding match, Benjamin and Kileff split with Smith and Magill, 4-6 and 6-4. Then, after learning Peckham and Steele had pulled out a win, Benjamin and Kileff romped through the third set, 6-0.
But the Tigers' losing day wasn't over yet. In the extended competition for the "Big Three' title, Harvard virtually assured itself of the crown by nudging Princeton, 8-7. Two of the additional four angles and one of the additional two Todd Wilkinson (eight) and Davis After the match, Coach Jack Barnaby
Todd Wilkinson (eight) and Davis After the match, Coach Jack Barnaby
After the match, Coach Jack Barnaby