BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In a match-up of top-20 teams, No. 13 Lehigh won eight bouts, including a number of tight matches en route to a 25-6 win over No. 16 Michigan Friday night at Stabler Arena. Sophomore Joey Napoli keyed a seven-match Lehigh run to end the dual with a third-period reversal to defeat Eric Grajales 4-2 at 149. With the win the Mountain Hawks improve to 3-1 on the dual season while Michigan is now 1-1.
“I’m really pleased with our performance,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “Michigan is a really good team. They have a lot of new faces that have done some good things. For our guys to come out after last week and rebound like that was a great way to come back, and win a lot of matches late.”
Wrestling: Michigan Post-Match Extra, Nov. 19, 2010
Lehigh received a huge boost from senior Mitch Berger at 125 as he erased a 4-2 first period deficit to defeat Sean Boyle 9-5. Berger scored takedowns in the second and third periods and added 1:43 of riding time as he evened his season record at 2-2.
“Mitch is in great shape and he works really hard,” Santoro explained. “He’s gotten himself in a hole in a lot of those matches but he didn’t dig himself a hole tonight and he won that third period. That’s what he does.”
In the next two bouts, Lehigh’s true freshman battled hard but dropped one-point bouts to tough opposition. At 133 Frank Cagnina suffered his first loss of the season, letting a 4-2 lead get away by giving up a pair of third period takedowns in a 7-6 loss to Zac Stevens. Stephen Dutton found himself down 4-2 after one period against third-ranked Kellen Russell, but battled back, scoring a takedown in the third period before falling short by a 6-5 score.
Michigan’s only lead of the night was short-lived as Napoli rallied to beat Grajales and Lehigh picked up steam from there. Grajales led 2-1 after one period, but Napoli rode out the second period on top and after losing his riding time advantage, reversed Grajales and re-gained the riding time advantage for the extra point in his 4-2 win.
The Mountain Hawks won a second match without the benefit of a takedown as junior Sean Bilodeau won 8-2 over Aaron Hynes at 157. After a scoreless first period, Bilodeau tilted Hynes for three points and then added three more near-fall points with a half nelson. The wrestlers traded reversals in the third period which cost Lehigh the major decision. The Mountain Hawks still took a 9-6 lead into intermission.
“You’ve got to score points,” Santoro said. “There are three positions in wrestling and you have to win all three. You win two of the three; you’re going to win most matches.”
After the break, junior Brandon Hatchett kept things rolling for Lehigh with a 5-4 win over Dan Yates at 165. The Wolverine scored the first takedown, but Hatchett reversed. A Yates escape put him in front, but Hatchett scored a takedown late in the first period to go up 4-3 and added an escape to open the second period.
Lehigh picked up its first and only bonus points of the night at 174 as freshman Austin Meys posted a workmanlike 11-1 win over Justin Zeerip. The first period featured no scoring, and after Zeerip opened the second period with an escape, Meys took over, using his quarter nelson to earn a takedown and then using a spladle for three late near fall points to lead 5-1 after two period. In the third, Meys escaped and benefitted from two penalty points for stalling before adding a late takedown to clinch the major.
Sophomore Robert Hamlin joined Napoli at 4-0 on the season with an 8-3 win over Hunter Collins at 184. After giving up the first takedown, Hamlin scored first in the first period and added takedown in the second and third periods.
The Mountain Hawks won a wild bout at 197 as junior Joe Kennedy rallied to defeat Anthony Biondo in a battle of ranked wrestlers. Eighth-ranked Biondo scored in the opening seconds and built up over two minutes of riding time before Kennedy finally escaped. The wrestlers trade escapes in the second and third periods, and Kennedy sent the match into overtime by taking down Biondo with an inside trip in the final seconds. The match when into tiebreakers where Kennedy rode out the visibly tired Biondo in the first 30 second period then registered an escape and a late takedown in the second period, en route to a 7-4 win.
In the final bout of the night, top-ranked heavyweight Zach Rey made two first-period takedowns stand in a 5-2 win over Ben Apland.
Next up for the Mountain Hawks is three matches next Saturday at the Northeast Duals in Troy, N.Y. Lehigh will face No. 23 Virginia at 11:15 a.m., No. 11 Missouri at 2:15 p.m. and George Mason at 4 p.m.
Lehigh 25 Michigan 6
125 – Mitch Berger (LU) dec. Sean Boyle (UM) 9-5
133 – Zac Stevens (UM) dec. Frank Cagnina (LU) 7-6
141 – Kellen Russell (UM) dec. Stephen Dutton (LU) 6-5
149 – Joey Napoli (LU) dec. Eric Grajales (UM) 4-2
157 – Sean Bilodeau (LU) dec. Aaron Hynes (UM) 8-2
165 – Brandon Hatchett (LU) dec. Dan Yates (UM) 5-4
174 – Austin Meys (LU) maj. dec. Justin Zeerip (UM) 11-1
184 – Robert Hamlin (LU) dec. Hunter Collins (UM) 8-3
197 – Joe Kennedy (LU) dec. Anthony Biondo (UM) 7-4, t.b.
285 – Zach Rey (LU) dec. Ben Apland (UM) 5-2
– Gary Kessel