An M.I.T. squash team which upset Princeton, 5-4, in early December will test Harvard's varsity racquetmen at 4 p.m. this afternoon in Hemenway Gym.
The M.I.T. squad could be its best ever. "We've always beaten them easily," Harvard coach Jack Barnaby said yesterday. "But this time we'll have to hustle for our wheatcakes."
Riding a 5-0 record, which includes a 9-0 rout of powerful Amherst, Harvard has to be rated a heavy favorite. Captain Rick Sterne and number one player Anil Nayar have returned from their Christmas vacation in India--where they played British squash and feasted for four days at the wedding of Nayar's brother--and the team is at full strength.
Four other team members--Larry Terrell, John Whitbeck, Michel Scheinmann, and Peter Abrams--saw holiday action in the Invitation Collegiate Tournament in New York. Whitbeck, Scheinmann, and Abrams lost to the number one players from Denison, Williams, and Navy respectively.
But Terrell, Harvard's number two player and last year's National Junior Champion, battled his way into the finals--to face Peter Martin, the Canadian Men's Champion, who had edged Terrell, 3-2, only a week before in Toronto.
This time Terrell jumped off to a strong 2-0 lead and ran the third game of the best of five match to 13-13. Terrell twice drove the ball past Martin to move to a 15-13 lead and triple match point. But Martin hung on desperately, winning the game, 16-15, and stayed alive.
As the fourth game began, Terrell's left leg buckled under him. He lay on the court with a severe muscle cramp for ten minutes while a doctor worked to relieve the pain. Five minutes later he could stand, and the match continued. But the injury hobbled Terrell who could no longer move with speed and assurance. Martin won the fourth and fifth games easily to take the match, 3-2.
Nayar sharpened his sights for winter play last weekend at the North American Open in Indianapolis, Ind. Nayar lost in the second round of the tournament, which is open to both amateurs and professionals.
Looming beyond the M.I.T. match is the team's match against Penn on Saturday. Barnaby expects Penn might be the team's toughest opponent of the season.