Harvard's varsity netmen begin their most formidable road trip of the season today when they travel to Columbia to face the defending EITA champion Lions. Tomorrow the team meets Pennsylvania in another key match before returning home from a pivotal weekend of league competition.
Along with the Princeton tilt at the close of the season, the Columbia and Penn games are Harvard's most important league contests. The Crimson begins the road trip at a disadvantage, as two of the six singles starters, including captain Ken Lindner, have been flu-stricken all week.
Lindner and John Horn are expected to return to action today, however, in the number one and five spots respectively. Junior John Ingard, Gary Reiner and Chip Baird hold down the second, third and fourth positions, with Hugh Hyde in the sixth slot. Senior Gardner Rowbothom will play doubles, as may Charlie Krusen.
The Lions currently stand 4-3 overall, with a 2-0 league record. Last season they swept the league with a perfect 9-0 record, defeating Harvard in Cambridge, 6-3. The Crimson, third in the league last season, is now 5-2 overall and 1-0 in league play, while Penn has won both its league contests so far this year.
Columbia boasts experienced strength in the number one and two positions. Top player Henry Bunis, an All-American from Cincinnati, Ohio, earned a 13-3 record last year and was the leading eastern finisher in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior Rick Fagel, three-year veteran from Miami, Fla., offers difficult competition in the second spot, but the remainder of the Columbia squad lacks varsity experience. Last spring the four netmen who played in the third through sixth positions graduated, so that two former subs and two freshmen have moved into the starting lineup.
"The team begins the trip at a disadvantage because Lindner and Horn haven't been able to work during the week," Harvard coach Jack Barnaby said yesterday. "The players have spark and fighting spirit, though, although I don't know if we can win the games on fight alone."
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