Middletown, CT — Saturday morning at the 2011 Wesleyan Round Robin saw two NESCAC teams, Colby and Connecticut College, face off. The contest was headlined by a match between two accomplished #1 players: Colby’s Harry Smith and Conn’s Caleb Garza.
Smith, a senior, and Garza, a junior, have compiled very similar college squash resumes. Both are captains and have played number 1 for their respective teams since they were freshmen. They were also both named Second-Team All-NESCAC during their first two years of collegiate play. Smith earned First-Team honors last season as a junior, and Garza was the 2010-2011 NESCAC Rookie of the Year. The last time the two played, at last season’s Individual Championships, Smith squeaked out a win in a marathon five-gamer: 4-11, 11-9, 4-11, 15-13, and 12-10.
Given their competitive history, Smith and Garza’s match was one of the more highly anticipated pairings of the day. The team match only added to the drama. Coming into the weekend, #22 Colby was ranked above #24 Conn, the three-time defending Conroy Cup (D Division) champions. Conn had opened the 2011-2012 season with an impressive four-match winning streak, taking out two top-twenty teams — Bates and Wesleyan — along the way. The Camels had experienced their first losses of the season the night before they faced Colby. One, a 0-9 loss to defending national champions Trinity, was practically a given, but the other, a 4-5 loss to #17 George Washington, had raised some eyebrows. Colby had faced some of the same teams as Conn, but their matching 0-9 loss to Trinity wasn’t much of a barometer. However, Colby had blanked Northeastern while Conn had only won by a 7-2 margin, suggesting the Mules might have an edge.
When Smith and Garza stepped on court, the overall match score was close, with both teams putting wins on the board. Smith and Garza traded the first four games, and the match remained competitive until the end, when Garza came away with an 11-9 win in the fifth. The final score was 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, and 11-9. Garza’s win clinched the match for the Camels, who ultimately prevailed 6-3 over Colby in the team match.
Below is video from the match between Smith and Garza.