The varsity squash team opens its most important series of matches this season when it takes on a weak Penn squad this afternoon in Philadelphia. This match, however, will be little more than a practice session for the Crimson, which will play Navy and Princeton tomorrow and Saturday. These contests will probably decide the Eastern Inter collegiate Championship, for Yale has lost to the Middies, 5 to 4, and a Crimson win at Annapolis would definitely make the varsity a favorite to take the crown.
Harvard squash followers will no doubt remember a similar trip two years ago, when Jack Barnaby's squad, led by the brilliant Ben Hecksher, went on this exact same journey and met a totally unexpected disaster at Navy and Princeton. That year, however, the Crimson was heavily favored to take the Eastern title, and it is more than likely that overconfidence played an important part in the two upsets. Such is not the case this winter. The varsity has no illusions about being clearly superior to the rest of the league and is ready for a rough battle, especially from Navy.
Tigers Lack Depth
Princeton, although it has the top intercollegiate player in the person of sophomore Steve Vehslage, does not have the depth necessary to challenge the exceptionally well-balanced Harvard team. At the top positions, Princeton will pose a threat, but the Tigers' main hope for victory lies in the possibility of a massive Crimson let-down following the Navy match on Friday.
As for the contest at Annapolis, it is always difficult to predict what will happen in the raucous confines of the Navy squash courts. The combination of rabidly partisan crowds, swelteringly hot courts, unusually aggressive Navy players and other local conditions have proven the undoing of better teams than the present Crimson aggregation. Very few people would have given a penny for Navy's chances against Yale, but when it was all over, the Midshipmen had gained a 5-4 verdict. All this, combined with Friday the thirteenth, should give the Crimson what will undoubtedly be its toughest match of the season.
Emmet at First Singles
For the varsity during this critical three-day siege, Gerry Emmet will be at the number one position for the first time this season, having defeated Captain Charlie Hamm in a recent challenge match. Below these two, Barnaby will have Tim Gallwey, Fred Vinton, Pete Lund, John Davis, Charlie Poletti, Wally Stimpson and Tony Lake rounding out one of the most balanced, powerful lineups he has ever put on a court. Of the seven men below Hamm and Emmet, almost one one of them could hold down the third position without greatly impairing the Crimson's effectiveness. However, the elements at Annapolis being what they are, it remains to be seen what the relatively untried varsity will be able to do.