UNH...be-LEEEEEV-able. The word is pronounced with something of a Maxwell Smart inflection, and it has been the most popular component of the men's tennis team's vocabulary this spring. If the '78 version of Harvard tennis is to establish itself as an unbelievable squad, however, the racquetmen will have to pull off an outrageous upset over powerhouse Princeton at 2 p.m. today on the Palmer Dixon courts.
"They're overwhelming, and I think they're much too strong for us," Crimson coach Dave Fish said last night. "But we're going to give them a good match--everyone on our team is playing very good tennis right now."
Ranked 18th in the nation, the Tigers stand at 12-3, 7-0 in the Eastern League, and they have run off nine straight victories since dropping a 5-4 decision to North Carolina April 1. Harvard, by contrast, stands 9-4 overall, 5-1 league, following Friday's win over Brown and last Wednesday's 6-3 loss to Yale, a team Princeton handled, 7-2.
As always, though, there's a catch. Two years ago, a cocky and similarly talented Princeton team tooled into town, only to be rudely spilled by the Crimson, 5-4. The upset left the two squads tied for the league championship at 8-1.
"That was an unbelievably exciting match," then-sophomore and current captain Todd Lundy said last night, choosing his words carefully.
And today, the Crimson hopes to duplicate that unbelievable performance. Four-man Scott Walker will almost definitely play after sitting out two matches with a sprained ankle. Lundy, who has been fighting injured ribs the last two weeks, will definitely play at number one singles, where he should face Princeton super-frosh Jay Lapidus--who, like Walker, is hobbled by an ankle injury.
The Crimson will almost definitely need victories from Don Pompan at second singles and Kevin Shaw at number five, and they will probably have to overcome at least two of the Tigers' three tough doubles pairings to pull off a victory.
"They're good, and we respect their ability," Lundy--a four-year starter playing his last major college match--said, "but it's a one-match deal, and I know we can play well enough to beat them, I just hope the time is tomorrow."
"Winning the Eastern League is the goal," Lundy continued. "Two years ago was nice, but I'd really like to see it happen again this year."
If it does, it will truly be--you guessed it--unbelievable.