A carnival-like atmosphere surrounded the match between the two squash powerhouses as the George A. Kellner Squash Center welcomed a packed house—including fans who painted their chests and others wearing capes. T-shirt sales and introductions conducted over a public address system added to the spectacle, which even included an appearance by the Bantam mascot.
“It adds to the energy and makes it more emotional, makes it more fun,” co-captain Ziggy Whitman said. “But since it’s only one year—especially for the younger players—it makes it more difficult to ground yourself and say, ‘it’s just a squash match.’”
Broadbent fell behind 8-0 to open his match, but fought his way back to 8-7 before dropping the first game 9-7.
“I was very nervous,” Broadbent said. “I was a little tentative, and then I started settling down.”
“At the end of the game, I was thinking, ‘Look, this guy really only won one point, because I basically gave him those first eight points,’” Broadbent added.
Throughout the match, Broadbent took extra time between points, frustrating Ferreira.
“He’s the type of player who likes to play a very quick game,” Broadbent said. “I’m the opposite. I like to take my time, prepare myself for the point, so I’m not going to let him rush me and I knew that me slowing it down would take him out of his rhythm a little bit.”
Broadbent’s confidence proved justified, as he took the next three games 9-6, 9-4 and 9-5 to capture the match.
The win had added importance for Broadbent because it came on the heels of his loss to intercollegiate No. 7 Ryan Donegan at Dartmouth on Thursday. Evidently, that match only served to refocus Broadbent, who talked to co-captain Ziggy Whitman on the bus ride back from Dartmouth.
“I thought he was gloomy,” Whitman said. “But then I went and talked to him and it wasn’t gloom; it was determination.”
At No. 2, freshman Siddharth Suchde dropped a five-game heartbreaker to 2002 intercollegiate champion and current No. 2 Bernardo Samper. Throughout the match, Suchde demonstrated his range in consistently tracking down balls, but appeared reluctant to go for a kill.
“That’s his game, unfortunately,” Harvard coach Satinder Bajwa said. “He’s more of an attritional player.”
“When you come up to a college level, you’ve got to start understanding your weapons and understanding how you’re going to carve out key points,” Bajwa added.
Nonetheless, Suchde took the first game 9-5, but Samper returned to blank him in the second. Suchde pushed ahead again by taking the third 9-2, but Samper roared back with a 9-1 win in the fourth as the players alternated dominating the fast-paced games.
“Bernardo loves that pace,” Broadbent said. “But the faster you play, the better Sid plays.”