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For the fourth consecutive year Harvard and Penn will clash in head-to-head competition for the national collegiate squash championship. The undefeated Crimson, a slight favorite today, will host the once-beaten Quakers at 2 p.m. on the Hemenway Courts.
Prior records will mean little in today's contest: in fact, Penn may relish its underdog role. Last year the Quakers boasted having the finest collegiate squash team in years, but the Crimson embarrassed Penn badly with a lopsided 6-3 victory on the Quakers home turf. Penn hadn't lost at the Rindge courts in five years.
That crucial match was only one in a history of Penn-Harvard struggles. Two years prior to that contest, the Quakers had upset Harvard's "supersquad," 5-4, and a year before the Crimson had rallied from nowhere to scratch out a 5-4 triumph for the collegiate title.
If Harvard needs a revenge motive to match Penn's the Crimson need only recall last year's intercollegiate tournament. The Quakers, having lost the team title, edged Harvard by a single point for the six-man team trophy. The chances are good that Charlie Jacobs and Harvard's Alan Quasha, who played to determine the six-man title last March, may meet again at number five.
The Penn line-up includes many new faces because of the Quaker use of freshmen on the varsity squad. Joe Swain, who has been hampered by mononucleosis, is already playing number three on the ladder. Freshmen Howard Taxe and Tom Peck have rotated at eight and nine.
Two sophomores have also successfully advanced in the Penn squad. Indian Denish Nayak has risen to number two, and Dan Roblin, number six, is the only undefeated member of the team.
The most familiar face, however, is Penn's number one. Palmer Page, the defending intercollegiate champion. Page and Peter Briggs had a tense battle last year, including verbal clashes, and more than just a team point will be at stake.
Page has lost to Briggs. William's Ty Griffin, and Navy's number one this year, so Briggs and Page will be battling for the first seed at the Intercollegiates. "Peter is an entirely different player than the one that lost last year," coach Jack Barnaby said. "Instead of a promising player, he has become a class competitor."
Harvard is in excellent condition for the match. Captain Dave Fish, bothered by a tennis elbow, will play at number and ready to play. "We have no excuses." Barnaby said. "If they beat us, they simply are the better team."
Each of the individual points today should be hotly contested, for both Penn and Harvard have easily crushed the opposition this year. Neither squad can rely on one sure winner or greater depth. "There are no chickens to count on ahead of time," Barnaby said.
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