The varsity tennis team will head south over spring vacation to open its season against eight southern colleges. Coach Jack Barnaby is not optimistic about the Crimson's chances for a winning trip.
The team's top six players, Unit I, will play matches against the University of North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, and the Country Club of Virginia.
"We'll probably get our lumps down there - the competition in the South is first class," coach Barnaby said. He added that the only teams better than those on the southern trip are schools like UCLA and Stanford, which recruit the world's top players "as standard procedure."
Georgia, for example, was ranked tenth in the nation last year and eighth in 1970. The Bulldogs' number one man, Danny Birchmore is one of the finest college players in the country and is ranked 26th overall in the U.S.
The purpose of the trip is to prepare the players for Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association (EITA) competition by giving them the chance to play outdoor matches before the EITA season begins. Last year the Crimson was 7-2 in the EITA League after losing four out of six matches on the southern trip.
"When we go down there, we're unseasoned and untrained while the other teams have played seven or more matches," coach Barnaby said. "When we come back, we've begun to build team spirit and-momentum."
Co-captain Chris Nielson will play on Unit I along with Harris Masterson. Ken Lindner, Randy Barnett, Tom Loring, and John Ingard. Masterson and Lindner were the number one doubles team in the East last year, while Barnett won the Class B title in the New England Intercollegiate Championships.
Heading Unit II is senior Dave Fish, the other co-captain, who was number two in his sophomore and junior years. Fish will be playing with a tennis elbow when the second unit faces its five opponents: University of South Carolina, Georgia, Furman, Purdue, and Davidson.
The varsity trip will last from April 1 to April 8. The team will begin its EITA schedule on April 14 at Columbia.
The Crimson should finish first or second in EITA standings this year. Last season Harvard tied for second with Navy despite the fact that its top three players were bothered by injuries and co-captain Neilson did not play in any matches.
Harvard's toughest opponents will be Columbia, Princeton, Navy, and Pennsylvania. Princeton won the EITA title last year, while Penn's number one player, John Adams, is ranked first in the East.