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While protestors were raucously rallying outside Hemenway Gym yesterday, Harvard's men's squash team rallied to a peaceful 8-1 victory over Princeton. Despite the disruption of El Salvador President Alfredo Cristiani appearing with a swarm of Secret Service agents at his son Alex's match, the Crimson didn't let its last big home-sweet-home game of the season turn sour.
Politics mingled with squash didn't make for the ideal situation in an already highly charged match, but Harvard (7-0 overall, 3-0 Ivy) proved that it can remain cool, calm and collected in any conditions. Squash, not politics, is its forte.
"I think the environment today affected everyone," said Harvard Coach Steve Piltch. "It didn't make it easy for people to play or for people to watch."
Last season, Harvard shared the national title with the Tigers and Yale. This year, the difference in talent was clear, but Princeton is still a national power.
"Princeton was a strong team--stronger than we anticipated in some regards," Piltch said. "A lot of matches could have gone the other way."
Freshman Marty Clark's match against the president's son looked like it was going the other way at first. With security forces turning away every would-be spectator except his parents and sister, Clark's support was lacking.
"It felt like an away match and I think that affected the way I played the first game," said Clark, who lost the opener, 15-10. "I mean, everyone--including the Secret Service--would clap for [Cristiani]. It was weird."
In the second game, however, Clark ignored the Secret Service and concentrated on his own service--and his return. He crushed the smaller Cristiani with his superior strength and speed, closing out the match in three straight games.
President Cristiani said in an interview that he came to the Princeton Harvard match not because of its prestige but "because it coincided with my trip to the United Nations."
"I love squash," the world leader added. "I used to play myself."
Battle of the Best
No Secret Servicemen were clapping for number-one seeded Jeremy Fraiberg's opponent, but Fraiberg still couldn't put it together at first. The former Canadian champion lost his first game, 15-6, to Canada's former number two player, Chris Stevens.
"I was really nervous when I was down 1-0," Fraiberg said. "I said 'I've got to kick it in here. I've got to stop slogging and play more controlled squash."
Control he took, in the form of speed andperfectly placed shots. Confidence he gained, oncehe won the second game. And when Fraiberg andconfidence mix, the outcome is deadly--as theensuing 16-14, 15-7, 15-9 games proved.
Farokh Pandole and Josh Horwitz both lost notone, but two games, only to bounce back forhard-earned wins. Pandole played the psychologicalgame and took advantage of Tiger opponent's weakbackhand to dominate in the final three games. Atnumber nine, Freshman Horwitz gets the persistenceprize. The last three games against Princeton'sMartin Schneider were played in oversets, 15-14,17-16, 16-14.
"In the beginning, he had the eye of the tiger.He was playing out of his mind," Horwitz said."But you know, I want to be known as a moneyplayer--the team needed me, and now they know theycan bet on me, anytime."
At number two and three seeds, Mark Baker andJon Bernheimer were the only Crimson players towin in three games. Sophomore Jonny Kaye won infour, though he said it was "not one of my bettergames."
Jim Masland sucked up the only loss of the day.After the Co-Captain eked out a win against AlexMarx in the first game, he transformed into thetin man, hitting the metal below the red lineleft, right and center. Brother Jon Maslandremained golden, however, and pocketed a four-gamewin at the number-eight seed.
All the games played, the Cristiani Commotionover, Harvard emerged victorious.
"I thought it'd be a little closer," PrincetonCoach Bob Callaghan said. "We were a littleoutgunned at every position. Your team is muchstronger."
Returning to the political side of squash,Callaghan said, "I felt badly for the Presidentand his son. I give Marty a lot of credit forwinning under those conditions. It made the matchpretty crazy and chaotic, but then again, allPrinceton-Harvard matches are pretty crazy andchaotic."
Perhaps Harvard squash legend Jack Barnabysummed up the match best:
"We didn't know we were playing El Salvador aswell as Princeton today," the 43-year veteran ofthe Harvard coaching ranks said.
Crimson, 8-1 at Hemenway Gym
1. Jeremy Fraiberg (HARVARD) d. Chris Stevens(Princeton), 8-15, 16-14, 15-7, 15-9; 2. MarkBaker (HARVARD) d. Bob White (Princeton), 15-11,15-11, 15-8; 3. Jon Bernheimer (HARVARD) d. NickGuethe (Princeton, 18-15, 15-7, 15-12; 4. JonnyKaye (HARVARD) d. Derek Einkle (Princeton), 15-11,10-15, 15-6, 15-11; 5. Alex Marx (Princeton) d.Jim Masland (HARVARD), 14-16, 16-13, 15-7, 15-11;6. Farokh Pandole (HARVARD) d. Ron Rubin(Princeton), 16-17, 10-15, 15-12, 15-5, 15-9; 7.Marty Clark (HARVARD) d. Alex Christiani(Princeton), 10-15, 15-6, 15-9, 15-8; 8. JonMasland (HARVARD) d. Craig Medvecky (Princeton),15-8, 7-15, 15-7, 15-11; 9. Josh Horwitz (HARVARD)d. Martin Schneider (Princeton), 13-15, 10-15,15-14, 17-16, 16-14
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