Probably the only thing standing between the men's squash team and an undefeated season is injuries. And even injuries may not stop them.
Yesterday the racquetmen crushed Tufts, 9-0, without the services of two of their top four players. Five players won in straight games despite the lineup shift.
The match between Crimson Co-Captain Spencer Brog and the Jumbo's Wes Baker was the only close, contest of the day. After taking an early lead. Brog had to hold off a determined Baker, who forced the match to a fifth game which Brog held on to win.
Harvard's number one player, sophomore Kenton Jernigan, was particularly impressive in overpowering Tuft's Saki Khan, the reigning Massachusetts Amateur State Champion Jemigan became stronger as the match progressed, wowing fans with a rarely seen double boast shot to finish with a 3-0 victory.
A bright sport for Harvard was the improved play of Co-Captain Jim Lubowitz, who has lost his past two matches. "I was getting un discipline." he said. "but Coach [Dave] Fish worked with me yesterday, and I felt a lot better today." He looked better too, winning three games, going for simple plays to confuse his opponent.
But their play is not the team's problem.
It's when they don't play. In addition to second seed David Boyum, who is out indefinitely with a wrist injury, number three player Richard Jackson cut his finger when the team bus stopped suddenly on the way back from the Williams meet last Thursday. The injury required five stitches, so Jackson may not play in this Saturday's match against Penn.
Fish said he hopes Jackson will be ready for the Nationals February 17, in Cleveland, and that no one else falls victim to the injury jinx. "We've got to stay away from these injuries, and field a representative team to win in Cleveland," he said.
Saturday's match with the Quakers would ordinarily not offer much of a challenge to the Crimson. But with injuries to Boyum and Jackson, and the absence of Jemigan, who will be playing in the Canadian National Championships this weekend, the lower seeds will move up to higher positions, creating some closer matches.
"The bottom of our lineup has been playing incredibly tough squash," said Lubowitz If they continue to do so, the racquetmen will take an undefeated record to Cleveland.