The Harvard tennis team dropped the first of this year's three expectedly tough league matches in a 7-2 loss to Columbia yesterday at the Bakersfield Courts in the upper tip of Manhattan.
Yesterday's loss to the Lions gives Harvard a 5-3 overall and 1-1 league record.
The absence of Ken Lindner from the Crimson lineup almost certainly affected the outcome of the match. Lindner, the number one singles player and a member of the first doubles team, set out with the flu.
With Lindner out, coach Jack Barnaby moved the two-through-six singles players up one position each on the singles ladder and inserted Charlie Krusen in the six position.
Further hurting Harvard's performance was the condition of freshman John Horn, who played in spite of a bout with the flue.
Horn, playing in the number four slot, lost to Ken Brightsfield, 6-4, 6-2, although he destroyed Brightsfield in straight sets last fall. Horn had been undefeated this year until yesterday.
Gary Reiner easily defeated the Lion's Rick Fagel--6-2, 6-4--at second singles and John Ingard teamed up with John Horn to win one of the three doubles matches, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to supply Harvard with its two victories.
The Lions dispensed with three of the Crimson netmen in three sets. At five singles, the Crimson's Hugh Hyde won the first set, 6-2, before losing narrowly to his opponent, Tom Dughi, in the next two sets, 6-4 and 7-5. Krusen won his first set, by a 6-3 score, only to drop the second and third sets to Columbia's Joe Molin.
Hyde and his partner Gardy Rowbothom by losing a doubles match in sets of 7-6, 2-6, and 6-3 to Fagel and Dughi.
In other matches, John Ingard lost at number one singles to Henry Bunis, an All-American, by a 6-4, 6-4 score, Chip Baird dropped his match at three singles in two close sets, 7-6, 6-4, to the Lions' Don Patrine, and Baird and Reiner lost in a doubles contest, 6-2, 6-3.
Team members thought that the match might have had a very different flavor if the individual netmen had played in their normal slots. Victories by Ingard at two, Baird at four, Horn at five, and Hyde at six seemed possible. All these players, with the exception of the sick Horn, had close matches against opponents presumably more difficult than they would have been if Lindner had played.
The tennis team left the clay courts on the banks of the Hudson and traveled last night to Philadelphia, where it will face Penn today on a hardcourt.
The Quakers, who have won both of their league contests this year, are the second of the three teams with which Harvard is expected to compete for league honors this year.