Crimson squash captain Vio Niederhoffer snapped an old personal Jinx and began what may be Harvard's best squash season over by winning the Gold Raquets tournament in New York Sunday.
Niederhoffer outlasted former national champion Harry Conion, 13-15, 15-13, 15-6, 12-15, 15-13 to win the final. But perhaps the biggest win of all for the Crimson ace came in Sunday morning's semifinal round, when he finally caught up with his old nemesis, Ralph Howe.
Howe Breaks Down
Although ranked lower nationally than Niederhoffer, Howe, as Yale's captain, beat the Crimson ace in two important matches last year. Howe had also beaten Niederhoffer several times in spring tennis matches. But this time the Crimson ace turned the tables, breezing to a 15-3, 15-6, 12-15, 15-7 win. Howe's backhand broke down time and again under steady pressure from Niederhoffer's array of touch shots.
In the final, the Crimson captain wore down his older opponent and led by 12-6 in the fourth game when Conlon came to life. The 1951 national champ swept 11 straight points and moved to a 9-6 lead in the final game before Niederhoffer took control once again.
The Crimson squad got some bad news during the tournament, however; number three player Romer Holleran, who had returned to Harvard after three years in the Army, injured his leg and will be lost to the squad until February.