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The powerful Harvard lacrosse team will meet an equally potent Princeton ten Saturday in what Crimson coach Bruce Munro has termed "the key to the Ivy League title." A varsity victory over the Tigers is a must for a successful season and could produce the first Ivy stick championship in University history.
Princeton won last year's bitterly fought contest in New Jersey and went on to take its fifth straight lacrosse title. Causing several injuries, that contest pushed Munro's team down to a second place finish and had the varsity crying "Wait until next year."
This is next year, and many of the same Crimson players will be going into Saturday's contest. Spectators can expect one of the tightest games in recent seasons.
Since both teams boast plenty of offensive punch, it will be a busy day for the defensive units. The varsity may have a slight advantage in this area with Dave Grannis, Charlie Kessler, Henry Field, and Al Straus. This defensive foursome, along with goalie Gil Leaf, has held opponents to four goals or less on five different occasions.
But even with the stingiest defense around, the varsity will need a stellar performance from its attack unit to beat the perennially tough Tigers. Lou Williams must score heavily; Grady Watts must shake up the Princeton defense with his sharp passing game; and Woody Spruance must continue to bull his way around the goal for scores.
Amassing 69 tallies in ten games, this trio has been practicing different offensive patterns for weeks in preparation for the hard-blocking, zone play of the Princeton defense. These variations could keep the Tigers off balance and stop them from double-teaming Watts (a favorite Tiger tactic in past years).
Princeton power has accounted for 31 goals in its last two outings and will undoubtedly give the Crimson defense problems of its own. The Tigers are led by attackmen Phil Allen, Bob Kent, and Carl Willie. Allen tops Princeton in scoring while Kent moves the team with his passing.
Munro has not beaten Princeton in the 14 years he has been University coach and has named this the year to turn the trick. "We've been preparing for the Princeton game all season," he said, "and now we're ready for them." Saturday's game at 2 p.m. on the Business School Field will tell the tale.
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