Racquetmen Meet Tigers Today at Princeton; Crimson's National Championship on the Line
Today is Marble Day in Princeton, New Jersey. No, that does not mean that the Society of American Architects is holding a conference on the neo-classical style at stately Nassau Hall. Instead, it means that the men's squash team is playing the Tigers today for what may well amount to all the proverbial marbles.
The racquetmen must beat Princeton in order to retain the national championship they wrested from the Tigers last year at Hemenway. The match they won the title in last year was the stuff which sports legends are made of. In the final two points of the fifth game of the last match in a long afternoon of masterful squash, #5 Chip Robie defeated a tenacious opponent for a 15-13 victory. The win gave the Crimson a 5-4 edge over the Tigers and virtually assured a stroll to the collegiate crown. The racquetmen will have to deliver that kind of effort again this time to win at Princeton.
"We have the tough job of going down there and taking from them on their courts, in front of their crowd," said coach Dave Fish. But he added that the team, despite having to play on alien ground, is thoroughly prepared.
The Crimson takes to New Jersey an unblemished 3-0 record, having lost only five matches in 27 individual bouts. But the Crimson achieved those statistics against Army, Tufts and Williams--small fry compared to Princeton.
The racquetmen also have a fair idea of their opponent's strengths from meeting them in a number of recent tournaments. "Whenever our players have come up against theirs, the matches have been really close, and may of them could have ended with either one of the players winning," said team captain Clark Bain.
Bain's point was borne out last weekend in New York when the Crimson's finest, freshman Brad Desaulniers, met Tiger ace John Nimick in a tournament at the Harvard Club. Nimick narrowly won the match in the fifth game which Fish said "easily could have gone either way."
Regardless of that ill omen, team members remain confident. "I think we're going to win: I think it's going to be close; but I just think we're going to win," said Bain. He added he thinks the team's strength lies in its members' ability to consistently raise the level of their game even when other members are having off days, something he feels even last year's team could not do as adeptly.
When the racquetmen left Cambridge yesterday for the land of carcinogens, they knew that they could not afford any bad days against the highly touted Tigers. Yet, they left with no small measure of self-assurance. "My team is pretty confident," said Fish. "I think it will be a great match, but I don't think either team is going to be able to walk over the other."