The Eastern championship waterpolo tournament will be held at Brown this weekend, and the Harvard squad looks ready after smashing Exeter, 11-5, in a match yesterday.
This means that the 14-man squad, which captured the New England championship last Sunday, will head for Providence with an impressive 11-1 season record and a good chance to defeat Bucknell in the first round of the tournament.
Should they manage to subdue Bucknell, the poloists will likely meet Fordham, a strong Eastern League contender, in the semifinals.
"It is in a tournament like this where our not being a varsity team can really hurt us," Phil Jonckheer, coach and captain of the Harvard team, said last night.
Most of the entries competing in the Olympic pool at Brown are of varsity status and, because of the formalized arrangement of practice sessions and coaching staffs, will offer the stiffest competition Harvard has faced to date.
"We have not faced any of the Eastern League teams at all this year and it will be tough. But if the team is clicking together we should have a good chance," Jonckheer said.
The team harmonized effectively against Exeter yesterday despite the absence of All-American goalie Doug Forrester who is scheduled to start Saturday.
Wes Raffel tallied four times to lead all scorers while Harvard's talented sprinters were able to force turnovers, effectively sloughing against Exeter's incensed squad.
However, an impressive performance against the younger Academy team was not unexpected and so does not predict how effectively Harvard can repel the Bucknell attack. "This was just a chance for the team to get together. Practices are not that well attended any more. There will be much superior talent at the Easterns." Jonckheer said.
While the Harvard poloists travel to Brown, the Radcliffe water polo team, greatly uplifted after an incredible 33-1 thrashing of Boston College earlier in the week, will prepare for the final contest of its first season. The team's season record is 2-1.