The Harvard men's tennis team entered the season looking for a repeat of last year's success--highlighted by a second straight Ivy League championship and a trip to the NCAA's for six Crimson singles players and one doubles team.
1986 record: 17-7
1987 record to date: 4-7, 1-1 EITA
(five EITA games remaining)
But Columbia's 8-1 victory last week over the Crimson just about assures the Lions of this year's Ivy League title and an NCAA berth.
Meaning that, for the rest of the season, Harvard will have to play at a new role: lion-chaser.
"We know it will be tough to win the EITA [Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association]," Harvard Co-Captain Peter Palandjian said. "We just have to go out and play some good tennis the rest of the way."
If the netmen are planning on returning to the NCAA's, they will have win the rest of their league games and hope that Columbia runs into a little bad luck.
The team has lost only Larry Scott--a co-captain and the squad's first singles player last year--to graduation. But in trying to replace Scott, Harvard Coach Dave Fish has an abundance of talented players to call upon.
Among the familiar names are Palandjian and fellow Co-Captain Bill Stanley. Palandjian, who is entering his fourth season on the team, is currently ranked 28th in the nation. Last year, he scored a big victory over Stanford's Patrick McEnroe (brother of John McEnroe) in the NCAA tournament.
Playing at number three singles is Stanley, last year's Northeast Rolex Championship winner.
At the number two position--and pairing up with Palandjian on the first doubles team--is Arkie Engle. After winning the East Coast Regional in the indoor season, Engle and Palandjian qualified for the NCAA doubles tournament. Engle also made it to the singles NCAA indoor tournament, but was knocked out in the first round.
Rounding out the line-up are Mark Leschly, Dave Clark, Hank Parichabutr, Paul Palandjian, Darryl Laddin, John Stinebaugh and Roger Barry.
Looking ahead, the Crimson's future opponents are no slouches. Brown comes to town April 24, followed by Yale the next day. Harvard closes out the season May 6 against traditional powerhouse Princeton.
Four Crimson players--Palandjian (28th), Stanley (51st), Clark (70th) and Engle (72nd)--are ranked among the top 100 singles players in college tennis. The doubles team of Engle and Palandjian is ranked 20th.
"If we're healthy, we can be a really great team," Harvard Coach Dave Fish said. "Our guys can take a match off of anybody.
If the netmen should manage to take the EITA crown, they would then advance to the NCAA 24-team tournament. Twelve at-large bids are distributed, but it's unlikely that an East Coast school will receive one.
"We're not out of it yet," Engle said. "Columbia still could lose. Our goal still is to win the Ivy League. Even if Columbia wins the Ivies, our goal is to improve over the rest of the season."
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