Once again this season the Ivy League soccer title is up for grabs, and six different schools have announced in their papers that this year's team is the squad to watch.
Columbia, the Crimson's opponent Saturday at Cumnock Field, should provide an excellent indication of the Harvard team's ability. The Lions have an out-standing defense that could spoil any team's Saturday and make Columbia the dark horse candidate for the Ivy title.
Columbia is 3-0 for the season, which an Ivy League victory over Princeton last Saturday, 4-1. Goalie Doug Watt was an All-Ivy selection last season. With second team All-Ivy defensemen Len Renery, Silvin Perich, and Rocco Commisso supporting Watt. Columbia can count on the best defense in the league to carry it through the season. Last year that protection gave the Lions a 0-0 tie with the Crimson.
For two years Cornell has finished in the first division thanks to the play of forward Nick Alexandridis, who led the Ivy League scoring race both seasons. With Alexandridis gone, Terry Culp, who has one goal to his credit, is the only returning letterman who scored last year.
While Cornell faces the serious task of rebuilding an offensive attack, pressure will be on the Big Red defense. Co captain Herard La Forest at fullback will be the key factor in keeping Cornell in contention.
Dartmouth was a young team last season, and now the Indians can look forward to a squad that features 11 lettermen. Dartmouth has averaged 27 shots on goal a game for a 3-0-1 pre-season record.
Leading the Dartmouth attack is center halfback Charles Silcox, who has tallied twice and added an assist in four games. Silcox received the second highest number of All-Ivy votes last year. Joining him in the Indians' attack are letterman Dave Irwin and Ivy selection Randy Quayle.
Penn unveiled its plans for the Ivy League title this year when it trounced perennial champion Brown, 4-2, in Providence. The Quakers have outscored the opposition 12-2 in their first three games.
Picked by sportswriters as one of the top 15 teams in the nation and by Harvard coach Bruce Munro as the team to beat this year. Penn is counting on sophomores Bob Watkins and Tom Lieberman to improve on last year's second-place finish.
The only secure team in the Ivy League should be Princeton. Finishing last a year ago, the Tigers will be hard-pressed to improve that record. Only seven lettermen are returning, including captain Steve Davidson who led the Tigers with eight goals last year. Bonaventure Mbida, the only other experienced player in a sophomore-filled starting eleven, scored Princeton's only goal in the 4-1 loss to Columbia.
Brown has completely dominated the Ivy League throne for the last six years and has lost only one game in the last four years. The Bruins were favored to continue the habit this season, and despite the opening loss to Penn, they cannot be counted out.
A year ago Penn broke a 25-game Brown winning streak by upsetting the Bruins, 4-0. But Brown ran off six straight victories to hold on to the title and now the Bruins must depend on all-Ivy forward Herman Ssebazza and a staff of 13 lettermen to repeat the feat.
Yet the team that the Crimson must really overcome will not oppose them until The Weekend in November. Yale has All-American goalie Steve Greenberg returning in the net, while All-Ivy selections center half Tom Scattergood and wing Sunny Oyekan will provide the nucleus of the attack.
Added to this potent team is sophomore star John Klamar. An Uruguayan, Klamar set a freshman record last year by scoring 23 goals. His performance could be the key to the Bulldogs' hopes.
Two extremely crucial games will be played this weekend. Brown and Yale will meet on Saturday in a game that should determine the chances of a Bruin comeback. Here in Cambridge. Harvard fans will get an opportunity to judge the strength of their team against a Columbia squad that would like to be a winner rather than a spoiler.