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SAN JOSE, Cal., Dec. 3-Harvard's finest varsity soccer team ever, rated second in the nation, faces the country's number-one squad, St. Louis University, at 10 p.m. (EST) Thursday in the NCAA University Division Soccer Semifinal Round in San Jose.
Perhaps the biggest break of the match came today when a Harvard player overheard a St. Louis coach Harry Keough tell a bystander. "We're looking forward to a good match in the finals on Saturday." The Crimson is confident and loose and is planning to surprise the Billikens tomorrow night.
The squads presented contrasting styles at a meeting this afternoon. Keough's team had just filed off the plane in matching blue blazers, short haircuts, and a general air of All-Americanness.
St. Louis has yet to practice on the California field. "I never come to a match more than one day early." Keough said. His confidence reflects the outlook of a very serious-minded St. Louis squad.
Harvard's long hair and assortment of sports jackets was in direct contrast to St. Louis's regimental style, but the Crimson has its own brand of confidence to go with its casual attire. All the players talk about is soccer, and the most prominent word is "victory."
The Crimson arrived in San Jose on Monday and has been practicing for two days. The squad was extremely tense on Tuesday, and coach Bruce Munro characterized the afternoon practice as "pre-season play." But today the team had one of its best scrimmages of the year. "The whole trip has been a tremendous educational experience." Munro said.
St. Louis brings impressive credentials into the game. The Billikens are 11-0 for the year, including a 3-1 victory over world soccer-power Berlin University.
The key to the Billikens' strategy is defense. St. Louis has allowed only 85 shots on goalie Don Copple. Harvard opposition has fired 175 times at Bill Meyers. Copple had to make only 39 saves, letting a meager 6 goals slip through, while Meyers's statisties show 143 saves and only 7 misses.
Throughout the season, Copple has never allowed more than one goal in any game, recording five shutouts. A single Crimson defensive lapse is all St. Louis is counting on.
The Crimon's chances rest on the shoulders of an injured forward line. Sophomores Russ Bell and Phil Kydes have not scrimmaged this week, but Munro is counting on their return to the line-up tomorrow.
A more serious problem has developed at right halfback. Both starter John Gordon and reserve Norrie Harrower suffered turned insteps in today's practice. Although both men are limping. Gordon's strain seems less serious and it is hoped he will be ready to start.
St. Louis has won six national championships and Keough has the team following the traditional routines. Iconoclastic Harvard is ready to start its own tradition.
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