It was the same old story for the Harvard men's squash team at Hemenway Gym yesterday, as the defending national men's squash champions cruised past Navy, 9-0, in their home opener.
Kenton Jernigan, the top amateur in the nation, set the tone by dominating Navy's top player Spencer Wall, 3-0, surrendering only 18 points in the match.
The Crimson's top nine dropped only seven games en route to a romp over a Navy squad that was among the most improved teams in the East last year and returned stronger than ever, having lost no one to graduation.
The Only Question
Harvard left Navy asking the same question Crimson opponents have been asking for three years: Can anyone hope to beat them?
Judging from Harvard's blitz of the Midshipmen yesterday and their 8-1 dominance of Trinity on Wednesday, the answer seems to be no.
Co-Captain David Segal, who contributed a 3-1 victory from the number seven position, said, "After the match, the general feeling was that we played well."
Still, Segal was cautious in his assessment of the team's chances to duplicate their undefeated 1984-85 championship season, pointing out that the squad lost several players, including All-America Co-Captain David Boyum, to graduation.
Segal does see some of the racquetmen picking up the slack. "There's a lot of improvement, people are progressing. At the top of the list is Darius Pandole. He's an exceptional case. Last season he played as low as number eight. Now Kenton is the only person who can beat him."
Pandole, a sophomore, displayed his improved game with a smooth 15-9, 15-9, 15-12 triumph over Navy's John Springer from the number two spot.
Sophomore Jack Polsky, another player Segal cited as progressing, bounced back from a tough first game to defeat Tim Slough, 16-17, 15-9, 15-8, 15-5.
Kevin Jernigan, playing number four, nearly became the Crimson's only loser, struggling to a hard-fought 17-18, 16-14, 15-3, 16-17, 15-9 victory.
Segal doesn't see Jernigan in trouble in the future, however. "He was sick earlier this week. I don't foresee this as being a continuing pattern in his play."
If the sophomore racquetmen continue to play at the level they did yesterday, it looks like another long year for those who hope to dethrone the reigning champions of national squash.