"By God, we're going to give it a helluva try,"--women's squash coach Jack Barnaby's very words.
Barnaby came out of retirement this season--at the request of the Athletic department--after the sacking of last year's coach. Paul Moses. During his lengthy tenure as mentor of the men's tennis and squash teams, he compiled an unmatched record. He is a rarity: a squash legend.
Although he coached the Crimson racquetmen for 36 years until he stepped down in 1976. Barnaby has never coached women. "I haven't the faintest idea of the caliber of the top teams--I have no feel for the gap," he says.
"The gap" refers to the talent advantage Princeton, (last year's national champ) and Yale, have over the Crimson. The racquetwomen ranked third behind their Big Three rivals at the end of last season.
On paper. Princeton appears to have the upper hand for this campaign. Barnaby's unparalleled squash smarts and coaching ability, however, do not show up on paper.
All the players are returning from last year's 11-2 squad. In addition. Barnaby has bolstered the lineup Lisa Harrison and Jackie Corrigan Perhaps the biggest coup, however, is the return of versatile Satah Mleczko. Mleczko is one of Harvard's finest athletes, but she chose to sit out last season.
Barnaby says he's "very happy with the material and the potential left adds quickly," It's a slow path up the inclined ramp to success."
Barnaby has concentrated on tacties and technique thus far, and hes suspects his work will pay bluc-chip dividends the recquetwomen's raw athletic talent is beyond reproach squadmembers, like Wendy Sonnabend, second-year captain Jenny Stone and Libby Pierpont have played other varsity sports, as has Mleczko.
Top-ranked recqueteer Becky Lung, who combines a power game with an assortment of well-timed drop shots has had trouble with her knee, but is rounding into form.
One racquetwoman who has improved immensely in the pre season is Margo McGlade, who tentatively occupies the second slot on the intensely competitive challenge ladder.
Barnaby's assistant Elyse Jacobs has already guided the J.V. squad to a solid 7-0 shellacking of Andover, and the further development of the more inexperienced players bodes well for the team's future depth.
Ellie Cunningham and Courtney Stimpson, a pair of returning varsity teammembers, round out the racquet-women's squad.
Despite a few early season injury problem, the squad seems poised for the long trek to national supremacy, which starts today agains Bowdoin, Brown, Penn and Williams will join Princeton and Yale in offering stern tests.
As Barnaby says. "They better watch out.
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