Harvard's tennis team gets another chance to prove that it does not belong in the second division of the Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association when it takes on improved Dartmouth today at 2 p.m. in the home opener on the Soldiers' Field Courts.
Harvard is a narrow favorite, more on the basis of pre-established talent than on its deceiving two and six collegiate record. Dartmouth boasts a 6-4 record, but its spring trip competition was nowhere near the caliber Harvard faced. The two teams have identical 1-2 EITA records, each with a victory over Brown and losses to league-leaders Columbia and Princeton.
Harvard proved on Tuesday that it does not deserve the Ivy League cellar with a 7-2 win over Brown, a team that the Indians squeaked by 5-4. Harvard lost to Princeton, 4-5, and Columbia, 0-9, while the Indians' scores against the two were 3-6 and 2-7.
Harvard will be hoping the weather stays dry for the match today, because precipitation would move the match from the clay courts outside to the hard courts inside. Dartmouth's clay courts are still unplayable, and the Indians have yet to play a match on clay. Harvard played Columbia on clay and has been practicing on clay for the last two weeks.
Harvard will start off its singles competition at a disadvantage. Harvard's number one, sophomore Harris Masterson, is a distinct underdog to Dartmouth co-captain Lloyd Ucko, who boasts an 8-1 record and who went undefeated on the Southern trip.
On Sunday, Ucko defeated Columbia's freshman sensation Ricky Fagel, 7-6, 6-3, to establish himself as one of the best number ones in the East. Ucko's only loss was to Bill Colson of Princeton.
Masterson has just recently gotten back on his game and beat Brown star Mike Powers, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, to up his record to a mere three wins, five losses. Masterson also lost to Colson, 6-7, 3-6.
Dartmouth will be favored at number two also. Crimson sophomore Ken Lindner is 1-6 on the season, and he will face Bill Kellog, who has a 6-4 record and who moved up to number two after the Southern trip.
Elsewhere in the singles line-up Dartmouth has little depth and the Crimson should pick up points here Harvard promises to do well in the doubles, too. Masterson and Lindner give the Crimson a strong first doubles team, and they should have little trouble with Ucko and Andy Oldenburg, a team that has not played together very much. Dartmouth's other two pairs are inexperienced.