The Harvard men's squash team opened its quest to defend its national nine-man championship at Hemenway Gym yesterday, registering a routine 8-1 victory over Army.
Hemenway's scoreboard had a familiar last name occupying the number-one slot for Harvard: Desaulniers. But the Crimson's top-seeded racquetman was not Mike Desaulniers '80--captain of last season's championship squad and winner of last week's Boston Open--but his younger brother, Brad.
The freshman Desaulniers, who comes to the Crimson courts via Montreal, whipped his cadet opponent in a manner reminiscent of the solid wins his elder brother racked up over a four-year undefeated career, and allowed just 20 points in a three-game sweep.
The younger Desaulniers lacks the finely-tuned polish of his brother, but compensates with a combative style that foreshadows many victories for the Crimson over the next four years.
In the second position, junior Chip Robie, one of five veterans from last year's title crew, survived a first-game scare to rip past Army's Joe Berkoff, 18-17, 15-9, 15-8.
The rest of the Crimson racquetmen garnered routine triumphs, with the exception of captain Clark Bain in the fifth spot. Bain, a senior who went undefeated during last season's march to the crown fell in five tough games to West Point captain Lou Yeungart, 15-9, 11-15, 17-16, 9-15, 15-11. The match seesawed back and forth until, in the decisive fifth game the Black Knight reeled off straight points to rebound from a 6-2 deficit and skate away with Army's only win.
The Crimson's third seed, Geordie Lemmon, surrendered the first game to his adversary before taking three consecutive wins. Mitch Reese at number four, sixth-ranked Charlie Duffy and seventh-spotted John Dineen all captured easy three-game triumphs.
Dineen, who played number nine for last season's championship assemblage, permitted just 19 points in his showdown. Duffy, who has improved immensely since he arrived with the Class of '82, made a strong showing.
Number eight and nine, senior Chris Gabrieli and freshman Tal Johnson, pulled off four-game triumphs. Gabrieli lost the second game of his match, 17-15, but went on to clinch the win with a 18-16 fourth-game victory. Johnson, part of a strong freshman squash class, overcame opening-game jitters to breeze past his opponent, 12-15, 15-8, 15-5, 15-8.
CRIMSON NICKS: It must have proved difficult indeed for coach Dave Fish's charges to forego post-Game celebrations in order to play the Cadets yesterday. Fish is known as something of a fanatic when it comes to training... Last year, the Crimson only managed a 6-3 triumph over Army, but the Cadets squad has been weakened by graduation. Still, such a one-sided victory bodes well for a young Crimson team... The women's squash team, captained by Ellie Cunningham and coached by the legendary Jack Barnaby '33, will open its season againt Tufts December 4, 3 p.m. at Hemenway... Number ten Spencer Brog topped his Army opponent, 15-6, 15-7, 15-7, in an exhibition match... Aside from being young, this year's squad is competitive.