The Crimson fencing team nearly won its first Ivy League match of the season at Princeton Saturday, but it stuttered in the last round, dropped five of six bouts, and lost to the Tigers, 14-13.
Harvard faces its third competitor in four days at 7 p. m. tonight when M. I. T. makes the trek across Cambridge to play in the IAB fencing room.
Ahead 12-9 in the last round Saturday, the Crimson needed to win only two bouts to defeat the Tigers. All-American Tom Keller, who has been fencing well in his last three outings, picked up the first of the two bouts. But then Harvard forgot that it was fencing.
None of the Crimson foilers behind Keller could do anything. At epee, Mickey Irvings and Geza Tattrallay, who each had won their first two bouts, lost. Irvings fell behind, 3-0, in touches and could not catch up. Tattrallay was leading his opponent, 4-3, with only seconds remaining. The Tiger touched him for the tie just as the buzzer was about to sound. Both fencers were involved in a double touch, and then Tattrallay left himself open, and the Tiger scored the winning point of the bout and the match.
"I guess we should have been mad after losing such a close match, but we weren't," Irvings said yesterday. It was the Crimson's third consecutive Ivy League loss.
This defeat could not be blamed on any particular weapon. Foil won five out of nine bouts, and both the saber and epee combined to take 8 out of 18 bouts.
Only Keller and co-captain Larry Cetrulo were able to win all three of their bouts.
In past years, the Crimson has had an easy time with M. I. T. But those days are gone, and the Harvard fencers will face a stiff match tonight. M. I. T. has two excellent fencers at epee, one of whom finished second in the Easterne last year, two fairly good foilers, and an adequate saber squad.