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The word from Princeton's Jadwin Gym following this weekend's ECAC fall tennis tournament is this: The Tigers remain the class of the East, and the 1977-78 edition of Harvard tennis is down, but not out, of the Ivy picture.
Princeton swept the Class A and Class C singles tournaments en route to its fifth straight win. The Crimson trailed Yale, Columbia and Navy to place fifth in the large field.
Freshman Don Pompan provided the most excitement for coach Dave Fish's racquetmen, fighting his way into the Class C final before losing to Tiger Mike Kushma, 6-2, 7-6. Pompan dropped a tight 5-3 tiebreaker to give Kushma the set and match.
Crimson captain Todd Lundy fared less well, losing his second round Class A match to Penn's Jeff Papell. With Lundy's loss, Harvard had virtually no chance to take the tourney.
Tough Texan Scott Walker, Harvard's other "A" entry, fell victim to a tough draw, losing his second round match to eventual class winner Jay Lapidus (from Princeton, of course), 6-1, 6-4.
In the "B" singles, big server Kevin Shaw did not have enough on his game to beat Columbia's Ken Cooper in the second round.
Andy Chaikovsky, hot off a victory at the Ukrainian Open in early September, found himself "in the zone" during his "B" matches. "Chaikovsky picked up three victories before falling in his semifinal match with Yale's Jack Cobetto, the ultimate division winner, 6-4, 7-5.
Al Bunis dropped his first-round "C" match to the Elis' ambidextrous Jim Kaufman, but then Pompan caught fire in that division to provide the most spark in a generally lackluster Crimson effort.
Doubles teams of Lundy-Chaikovsky ("A"), Shaw-Walker ("B"), and Greg Kirsch-Jim Curley ("C"), all faltered in second-round matches, leaving Harvard entrenched far down in the standings.
The performance was disappointing for the Crimson, who finished as the runners-up in last fall's tourney and went on to tie for second place in the league last spring.
Chaikovsky summed it up pretty well, saying, "It looks like we've got a lot of work to do."
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