Harvard and Princeton, the only undefeated teams in the Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association, will battle for the league lead tomorrow at Soldiers Field.
The Crimson netmen have scored four consecutive victories this season, including a stunning 5-4 upset against Penn last week.
Princeton has coasted past its four opponents, dropping only three individual matches. Two of these losses, however, came against Army. Harvard topped the Cadets by a 6-3 margin.
Harvard coach Jack Barnaby accepts the role of underdog. "Princeton had a super freshman team last year," said Barnaby. "On paper they look like the team to beat."
To defeat the Tigers, Harvard must stop some of the East's outstanding collegiate stars. Bobby Goeltz and Richard Howell, two sophomores, lead the Princeton attack.
Goeltz sat out most of last season after being suspended from the freshman team for cutting practice. When Princeton coach John Conroy manages to coax his ace onto a tennis court, Goeltz flashes a golden racket.
When Goeltz teams up with Howell, a fierce competitor, Princeton has a superb one-two combination.
Princeton's top two players last season, Les Buck and Win Irwin, have dropped back to three and four to make room for Goeltz and Howell.
"Princeton has outstanding players," concedes Barnaby, "but so do we. Our upset win against Penn proved that."
Juniors John Levin and Rocky Jarvis will face Princeton's ace sophomores.
Levin played poorly against Penn and suffered his first singles setback of the season. However, if he bounces back to top form against Goeltz, Levin might upset the volatile Princeton ace.
Jarvis has played brilliant tennis at number two singles and boasts a perfect record. Like Howell, he relies upon accurate ground strokes and an aggressive strategy. Endurance could prove decisive in this evenly-matched contest.
Captain Jose Gonzalez will have to bring his game under control to pull out a win against Buck in the third singles slot.
The rest of the Crimson lineup is less predictable. Senior Kent Parrot returned from his honeymoon to add much-needed punch to the attack and scored an upset against the Quakers. He may surprise Princeton.
The Tiger fifth and sixth singles slots have been the weakest part of their lineup. Junior Terry Oxford and sophomore Larry Terrell could provide two triumphs.
The doubles teams of Levin and Jarvis could do no wrong against Penn; but Gonzalez and Parrot, Terrell and Rick Sterne will have a rougher time at second and third doubles.