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Tennis coach Jack Barnaby left Cambridge at 7 a.m. this morning bound for the Southlands in his 1938 Ford station wagon. If the car and the tennis playing passengers manage to survive the day's run to Davidson College in North Carolina the first main obstacle in the current spring trip will be passed. The group will join the rest of the team, which is driving down from New York this morning in Ed Bacon's shiny convertible.
This year's squad, although riddled by graduation, is bolstered by a backlog of bard work: four weeks of practice in the blockhouse on converted basketball courts, and eight weeks of practice early last fall. Many of the nine man spring trip squad have had little varsity competition, and the rigorous seven day preseason schedule will provide valuable match experience.
Rigorous Trip Schedule
The team opens against Davidson Monday, encounters North Carolina Tuesday and Wednesday in two matches, and meets Navy on Thursday. After a day's rest the squad journeys north to play Army next Saturday. Coach Barnaby expects the toughest opposition from the early matches, Davidson and North Carolina. The last time the team played Davidson was two years ago when a strong Harvard squad won, 6 to 3. This year, however, Davidson's strength is unknown. Although North Carolina has lost Vic Seixas, one of the ten top ranked amateurs in the country, the Tarheels can still muster a strong team led by Selxas' doubles partner of last year, Bill Taylor. Both these teams have always been strong and already have practiced several weeks out of doors.
As to Navy and Army, it's anybody's guess. Last year the team beat Navy by a close margin, but most of their team is back and has been taking advantage of pre-season sunny weather. Army should be easier. Like the Crimson, the Cadets have been hard hit by graduation and are just beginning to use their outdoor courts.
Many drastic lineup changes have taken place since last year's won eight-lost ten squad. The team's outstanding one-two punch, Agar and Bullard, has graduated. Charlie Ames and Jay Robb, who played numbers three and six respectively, also saw their final season last spring. Out of the first six singles and doubles players, only one doubles and two singles players returned.
Pre-season dopesters have interpreted this lack of veterans in the high squad positions as a serious weakness for the coming season. However, Coach Barnaby expressed optimism early this week. "Although we were hard hit by last year's graduations, there was an unusually fine turnout for practice last fall. A large group of potentially fine players showed magnificent squad spirit and a real willingness to get down to good, hard work. We may start off a little shakily, but with such fine team morale and energy we can't fail to come up with something pretty good by the end of the season."
Barnaby also stressed that the large group of evenly matched competitors will mean that the present spring trip lineup is purely tentative with regard to the rest of the season. There will be much early juggling to see which combinations stand up the best under outside competition.
Craig Number One
As things stand now, Broward Craig, a member of last year's squad who has improved greatly this fall, will fill the number one slot. Although Craig did not make his letter last year, his rapid improvement and spring trip experience will make him tough against any opponent. Captain Hilliard Hughes was unable to compete in the fall for the number one position due to a wrist injury and is opening the season at number two. Last year Hughes won both his singles and doubles against Yale. Hughes and Craig will form the first doubles team.
Jack Frey, who played a steady number five singles last year, will take over the third slot. The fourth position will be filled by Bob Kaynes, who has managed to work in a good amount of indoor practice this winter. Both Kaynes and Frey are temporarily bothered by sore arms and probably will not play doubles on the southern tour.
Dave Gordon and Bob Bramhall will play five and six respectively. Bramhall and Gerry Murphy, teammates on the basketball squad this winter and doubles partners in the service, will make up the number two doubles team. Mitch Reese and Ed Bacon will play third doubles.
Paul Tobias, who played number eight against Yale last year, was slated to go on the spring trip as fifth singles when he broke his foot last week. He will not be available to the team until after May 1.
Many other players would have made the trip, Coach Barnaby said, except for financial limitations. Charley Hubbard, greatly improved over last year; Tom Zinsser and Craig Combs, both members of the '49 squad; and Chase Peterson, who played first doubles for Corey Wynn's freshman team last year, were mentioned as members of the long list of strong team berth contenders this spring.
In its encounter with Navy, the team will be playing the first varsity league match of the spring sports season.
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