BETHLEHEM, Pa. – It was a dominant season-debut for the 17th-ranked Lehigh wrestling team as the Mountain Hawks rolled to a 45-0 win over Drexel Friday night inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Lehigh earned bonus points at seven of the ten weight classes, including pins by junior Sean Bilodeau, freshman Austin Meys and junior Zach Rey in the Mountain Hawks’ first shutout victory since 2006.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “Our freshmen came did well against some good opponents. We wrestled hard and built leads which was nice to see.”
A Drexel forfeit staked Lehigh to an early 6-0 lead before the Mountain Hawks’ two true freshmen posted back-to-back bonus wins to stake Lehigh to a 15-0 lead.
At 133 Frank Cagnina rolled to a 16-4 major decision over Frank Cimato. Cagnina led 5-2 after two periods but broke the bout open with two five-point moves in the third. Stephen Dutton followed with a 16-0 technical fall over Josh Yurasits at 141. Dutton scored a takedown and two three-point near falls in the first period then added an escape, a takedown and a three-pointer in the second, before ending the match with an early takedown in the third.
“The freshmen gave us a great start,” Santoro said. “I’m proud of the way they wrestled. It’s just the beginning. There’s still a lot of work to be done but overall the team wrestled well. Drexel came to wrestle like we knew they would and we had to out fight them.”
The closest bout of the night came at 149 where Austin Sommer led 2-0 on sophomore Joey Napoli after a takedown at the first period buzzer. Napoli rode out the second period and used a third-period escape plus riding time to force overtime. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Napoli rode out Sommer in the first tiebreak and gained an escape in the second to win 3-2.
Bilodeau sent Lehigh into intermission up 24-0 with a first period pin of Charles Aungst. The Massachusetts native yielded the first takedown, but reversed to tie the bout at two. After an Aungst escape, Bilodeau threw the Dragon onto his back. After a lengthy struggle, the referee slapped the mat at 2:47 to signal the fall.
Lehigh kept things rolling after the break as junior Brandon Hatchett and sophomore Robert Hamlin sandwiched wins by decision over Meys’ second period pin of Justin Wieller. Meys used his strength and three-quarter nelson to secure the fall at 4:47.
In one of the more anticipated bouts of the evening, junior Joe Kennedy earned a 3-1 decision over Bethlehem native Brandon Palik, one of four Lehigh Valley products in the Dragons lineup. A first-period takedown was the difference for Kennedy.
In the final bout of the evening, top-ranked heavyweight Zach Rey made his season debut in style, building an 11-4 lead before pinning Jon Max Wright at 5:35. It was Lehigh’s first home shutout since December, 2002 against Rider, and first overall since a 40-0 blanking of Brown on January 28, 2006.
The Mountain Hawks will now take to the road next weekend for two key matches against in-state rivals. Lehigh will visit No. 14 Pittsburgh on Friday November 12 and No. 6 Penn State on Sunday in the 99th meeting between the two long time rivals.
Lehigh 45 Drexel 0
125 – Mitch Berger (LU) wins by forfeit
133 – Frank Cagnina (LU) maj. dec. Frank Cimato (DU) 16-4
141 – Stephen Dutton (LU) tech. fall Josh Yurasits (DU) 16-0, 5:27
149 – Joey Napoli (LU) dec. Austin Sommer (DU) 3-2, t.b.
157 – Sean Bilodeau (LU) fall Charles Aungst (DU) 2:47
165 – Brandon Hatchett (LU) dec. Joe Booth (DU) 9-2
174 – Austin Meys (LU) fall Justin Wieller (DU) 4:47
184 – Robert Hamlin (LU) dec. Jamie Callender (DU) 12-7
197 – Joe Kennedy (LU) dec. Brandon Palik (DU) 3-1
285 – Zach Rey (LU) fall Jon Max Wright (DU) 5:35
– George Chilmonik