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A scheduling conflict on a major Jewish holiday last Monday forced the Harvard women's tennis team to play at half strength.
Four varsity members opted not to compete against Boston University rather than to play on Yom Kippur, the most holy day in the Jewish calendar.
Two members of the Harvard B team were inserted into the lineup by Coach Ed Krass to replace his missing players, who included three starters--sophomore Kim Cooper, Co-Captain Niki Rival and freshman Rachel Pollack. The Crimson lost, 5-4, to a B.U. team described by Cooper as "unquestionably inferior."
On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jewish tradition says that little else but praying and repenting for sins should be done on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. Those who follow tradition fast for 24 hours.
"All of the Jewish team members got together and decided that on the holiest day of the year, we should not be playing a tennis match," Cooper said.
The weekend before, the four Jewish team members played in the Harvard Invitational on Rosh Hashanah, another high Jewish holiday. "We just weren't going to do it again," Cooper said.
Krass admitted his mistake in scheduling matches on the holidays and supported the players who decided not to compete.
"It was important that they didn't play because they felt so strongly about the holiday," he said. "Their absence was no problem at all."
Krass said that he will not schedule matches next year on either holiday.
While Krass said the challenge of playing without some top members excited his team, Cooper said she thinks the absence of key players may have affected team morale.
"We had to play with a majorly depleted lineup and I think some of them went into their matches not expecting to win," Cooper said.
Equestrian Hosts Show: The Harvard equestrian club opened its season by co-hosting--with Boston University--its first annual show at Huckins Farm in Bedford, Mass., last Saturday. Ten colleges participated in the show--Boston University, Colby-Sawyer, Dartmouth, Framingham State, Harvard, Lowell, Middlebury, Mount Ida, New Hampshire, Tufts and Vermont--which Dartmouth won.
The Crimson entered four riders--senior Cindy Green, who finished sixth in her equitation over fences; freshman Liz mermin, who came in fourth in her round; sophomore Kelly Blanchard; and sophomore Susan Anderson. Anderson placed second in her equitation over flat and nabbed first place in her round over fences.
While three of the four Harvard riders are returning members, the team lost a lot of members to graduation, and the large time commitment necessary to plan the show has prevented the Crimson from having tryouts and filling out its ranks. Eventually, the team hopes to have eight members, one for each level.
Captain Cindy Green hopes that the team can wind up as one of the top three teams in the region, probably behind the powerful team from Dartmouth. The Crimson will be sending riders to the regionals at the conclusion of the season with hopes of advancing to the zonals and ultimately to the nationals. Last year, Anderson finished fourth in the nationals as a freshman.
The Crimson's next competition is in Hanover, N.H., tomorrow against Dartmouth and then it has the week off before riding against Lowell, during which time Green hopes to hold tryouts.
Sailing Update: The Harvard sailing team has been participating in several races throughout the past few weeks, including a race at Annapolis, Md., last weekend for the women's team, which finished fifth.
The team is "in a building stage right now," said Captain Allison Peter, referring to the graduated seniors and the subsequent loss of experience on the team. As a result, several of the members of last year's junior varsity team have been sailing in the varsity regattas. In addition, only four freshmen tried out for the squad this year, a significant dropoff from previous years, when as many as 30 freshmen would try out.
Several of the returning sailors, including Holly Edmunds and Liz Graham for the women's team and John Dickson, Peter and Jim Bowers--who may try out for the 1992 Olympic team--for the coed team have a great deal of talent as do some of the new members, including Alex Barker of the coed squad.
The fall regattas--particularly the Atlantic Coastal Championships which finish the fall season at the end of November--are important for the national standings. Racing resumes in March and by that time, the team may have had the opportunity to develop more experience for some of the second season's more important regattas.
The nationals will take place in the spring at MIT on the Charles River, and Peter anticipates that the team will have an added advantage on its home waters.
The Crimson continues its fall season when the women's squad sails in New Haven this weekend and follows one week later with a coed regatta, the Hoyt Trophy in Providence.
Quote of the Week:"The talk around the pool was, 'Here come those Harvard geeks. We're going to blow them out of the water.' I think we really shocked the West Coast with our play." --Harvard men's water polo Co-Captain Andy Freed after the Crimson took two of five games at the Berkeley Invitational last weekend, including a win over 21st-ranked Harvey Mudd. Harvard played number-one Cal-Berkeley close, eventually losing, 14-4.
Runnerup: "It was like playing tennis on a backboard." --Harvard field hockey's Loren Ambinder, after she alternated with senior Sharon Landau to deflect four consecutive shots off the pads of the Holy Cross goalie Tuesday. The fourth shot--by Landau--deflected into the net for the only goal in the Crimson's 1-0 victory.
Ara Gershengorn and Michael Stankiewicz contributed to this notebook.
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