Squash coach Dave Fish will assemble a band of walking wounded for the men's squash team's season opener today at Hemenway (3 p.m.), and somehow it's only fitting that his hobbling fife-and-drum corps will do battle with the fitness-conscious servicemen from Navy.
Naggling ailments continue to nip at the necks and heels of number three Chip Robie and five Charlie Duffy. Although both will play today. Robie is nursing a strep throat while Duffy is treading gingerly with a bone bruise on his left foot.
But despite the Crimson's disabilities, don't be surprised to find today's match anything other than an experience-getter; the last time a Harvard squad lost to Navy was sometime before recorded history. "Scrappy and fit" is all Fish can say about the Midshipmen, leaving one to wonder the location of any squash talent the Crimson will face this winter.
Apparently it has stayed South. Once again Princeton is the Crimson's biggest challenge on a schedule which features all the traditional contests--Yale. Princeton, and Army. Although the Tigers lost national champion John Nimick to graduation (runner-up: Harvard's Brad Desaulniers). Princeton successfully recruited the second-and third-ranked juniors in the country, and the freshmen complement an already talented group. Said Fish. "Through the middle, they've got some guys that beat us very badly last year."
But if Princeton has its strength returning, so does Harvard. Freshman recruit David Boyum joins All-American Mitch Reese, Robie, Duffy, Geordie Lemmon, Spencer Brog, Tal Johnson, and John Dinneen on a squad which has lost only co-captain Clark Bain from last year's six-man national championship squad.
A product of a quality junior development program in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., Boyum gave Brad Desaulniers a run for his money in challenge matches for the number-one spot this fall and will inherit the number-one position when Desaulniers leaves school at the end of the semester. Though the Yardling is far from physically over-whelming, opponents will find few holes in his game and fewer in his head: he plays a smart game.
Take away Bain. and Desaulniers--"I came to the decision I wasn't getting the fullest out of the quote. Harvard experience."--insert Boyum. and you have largely the same group that a year ago dropped only one dual match (Princeton) and captured the intercollegiate six-man championship. Undeniably, the squad is talented and a potential favorite to unseat Princeton and regain the nine-man title it gave up last year.
"It's a funny year." Fish said. "[Women's coach] Jack Barnaby looked at my line-up and said. 'Dave, you've got great talent, but it's true: you're underdogs to Princeton.' And it is true."
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