The Harvard squash team of Bill Morris, Lou Williams, Paul Sullivan, Doug Walter, and Terry Robinson had been playing with good luck on its side in the U.S.S.R.A. national championships in Detroit. The team had drawn two weak teams in the first rounds--Detroit and Ontario--and had easily beaten them Friday; Saturday morning the squad edged heavily favored, first-seeded Philadelphia 3-2.
Then in the finals against Canada Saturday afternoon, Harvard took a 2-1 lead; and if Robinson was losing at number five, it didn't matter--because Walter was beating Canada's Rick Gaunt 2-1 in games. But in his fourth match, Walter was struck on the chin by Gaunt's racquet.
The match was halted for 20 minutes while a doctor attended to the bleeding Harvard senior. During the break, Walter heard that Robinson had lost his match 3-0, tying the finals. With the highest squash team title in the country resting on his match, and down 2-4 in points, Walter came back with a magnificent 15-10 win to give Harvard its first team title since 1951 and its second since 1932.
Good luck, however was not on the side of Vic Niederhoffer. Niederhoffer beat Sam Howe in the second round of competition 15-14, 15-14, 15-14. In each game, Howe first reached 14 points, Niederhoffer tied the game, Howe called one point, and Niederhoffer won.
But in the semifinals Saturday afternoon, Niederhoffer succumbed to the pressure of the Nationals and to the playing of Ben Heckscher '57. The junior took the first game 16-17, lost the second 15-9, and, although he went all out, lost the third 15-11. Completely exhausted, Niederhoffer fell behind 14-0 in the last game and won his only point when Heckscher double-faulted.
Heckscher went on to win the national singles title in an all-Harvard contest, defeating Charles Ufford '53, 3-1. Ufford had played tremendous squash in the quarter and semi-finals, shutting out Henri Salaun and Ralph Howe, 3-0.
Besides Walter, who lost only one game during the whole competition, the other Harvard stand-outs were junior Lou Williams and senior Paul Sullivan. Against Philadelphia, Williams won the fifth game off Al Jacobs 15-13, and against Canada, he won the fifth game over Colin Adair of McGill University by one point, 18-17, in a superb performance.
Sullivan lost to Philadelphia's Bill Sykes 3-1 but came back against Canada with a crucial 3-1 win over Dave Brock. Colin's brother Ross beat Bill Morris at number one in the finals.
TEAM--semifinals against Philadelphia (Harvard winning, 3-2): Bill Morris lost to Jim Whitmoyer 11-15, 13-15, 17-14, 16-13, 15-10, Lou Williams over Al Jacobs 15-8, 12-15, 14-15, 15-9, 15-13; Paul Sullivan lost to Bill Sykes 15-10, 15-13, 9-15, 17-15; Doug Walter over Dave Maxwell 15-10, 15-6, 15-10; Terry Robinson over Nerwt Meade 15-11, 15-12, 15-12.
TEAM--finals against Canada (Harvard winning, 3-2): Bill Morris lost to Ross Adair 15-10, 15-6, 15-9; Lou Williams over Colin Adair 14-16, 10-15, 18-14, 15-9, 18-17; Paul Sullivan over Dave Brock 15-10, 15-11, 12-15, 15-8; Doug Walter over Rick Gaunt 15-11, 4-15, 15-9, 15-10; Terry Robinson lost to Hugh Murray 16-14, 15-8, 15-8.
SINGLES--semi finals, Ben Heckscher over Vic Niederhoffer 16-17, 15-9, 15-11, 15-1, and Charles Ufford over Ralph Howe, 3-0; finals, Ben Heckscher over Charles Ufford, 3-1.