No matter how lumbering they once might have been, the Tufts squash Jumbos, with a six-year-old program and history of playing ugly sister-the one with halitosis, not to mention elephantitis-to their crosstown rivals, threw off their pachyderm hides long enough yesterday to give the Harvard men's squash team its best match of the season, but only Princeton.
Forget the 9-0 score; every year Tuffs lines up a squash match with Harvard, every year everyone knows they're not as good as Harvard, and every year Harvard proves nothing by winning, regardless of the score. But this was not every year. The Jumbos lumbered into Hemenway under the uncharacteristic weight of a 12-3 record which included a win over Yale-killing Williams, and an undefeated number one-Saki Khan-to match up with Dave Boyum in a possible precursor to the Intercollegiate finals.
According to Tufts assistant coach Bob Bigelow, for the last two weeks Khan-yes, he is related; they all are--has produced "the best squash of his life. To shore up a perceived deficit in his mental game, the sophomore played five three game matches a day against his teammates during the time span leading up to the Harvard match (if you don't think this was a big one for Tufts you're...well, you're wrong).
He kept meticulous chart of how many points he gave up, peaking two days age by blanking Bigelow, the number one "A" player in Massachusetts, 15-0.
It's tough to say what it's going to take for a college squash player to stay in a match with Boyum, but the process hasn't been developed yet. Despite his opponent's preparation, Boyum blew Khan off of any mental zenith he may have achieved, 15-12, 15-6, 15-10. Both players charmed out a great deal of energy, but Boyum expanded his a great deal more wisely, letting Khan's screaming groundstrokes play themselves out against the back wall, eluding his terodactyl reach with oh-so-nice drop shots, and crushing unmanageable serves to the older, but less experience opponent.
After the match, Boyum expounded on such things as cutting out the excess in his stroke, and eliminating the topspin, but it was a recurrent theme that the outcome of the match circled back to: "When the big points came, I knew I'd get them."
If not so zealously as their number one, the rest of the Jumbos made it clear they indeed came to play, and though none of them was rewarded, they made a few ripples in the confident Crimson game-face. John Dinneen, Jim Lubowitz, and Peter Dinneen dropped early games to surprisingly capable Jumbo opponents. However, others on the Crimson, Chip Robie among them, had little trouble of any kind. Robie ran off three games at number two against Andy Brog, brother to Harvard's Spencer, 15-6, 15-4, 15-2.