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Harvard's fencing team, riding a seven-game winning streak and suffering the fatigue of impropitious scheduling, meets Rutgers this afternoon at the IAB. The contest will give the Crimson a preliminary practice round for Saturday's important Ivy League clash with Penn.
The Rutgers match should be little more than a light workout for Harvard, as the Scarlet Knights lost seven matches in a row before finally winning one this year. Rutgers has split two matches since then to bring the Knights's record to 2-8. They have only managed wins over fencing non-powers Lafayette and Haverford.
"Believe in Themselves"
Crimson coach Edo Marion doesn't expect Rutgers to be very strong and will therefore use the match to get his fencers into the proper state of mind for the Penn match on Saturday.
"I have to psychologically work on my boys to get them to believe in themselves." Marion said yesterday. He predicted that Harvard would win easily.
The Penn match is another story entirely. The Quakers are a major stumbling block in the path to second place. Unless the Crimson gets by Penn, hopes for a high league finish will crumble.
Penn has every starter back this year from last year's team. Since fencers, like wine, improve with age. Penn figures to be stronger than the team that beat Harvard 16-11 last year at Penn.
The Quaker team is led by an outstanding epee squad. Penn epee men, especially Ernesto Fernandez and Brook Makler, are exceptional and will be a real test for Harvard's Geza Tatrallyay, Ken Bartels and Eugene White.
Penn's sabre team, while not of the calibre of the Crimson trio of Gordon Ruttledge, lerry Valenzuela and Ken Hetzler, is competitive enough to give Harvard strong opposition.
The key to the match will be the foil competition. Neither Penn nor Harvard is noted for its foil squad. Penn coach Lajos Csiszar said yesterday that his foil team is the weakest link in the Quakers's armor and expressed concern about their chances on Saturday.
Marion placed equal emphasis on the foil contest. "If our foil men perform as they should, victory will be ours," he said. "(Dave) Fichter and (Don) Valetine are instrumental to our chances."
Marion expects the match to be decided in the early rounds. "We must crush them in the first round and not let up," he said.
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