PHILADELPHIA – The No. 10 Lehigh wrestling team spotted No. 22 Penn an early 12-0 lead but the Mountain Hawks won six of the final seven bouts to rally for 21-15 win Sunday at the Palestra. Senior Zack Rey put Lehigh ahead with a third period pin over Anthony DiLonardo while freshman Mason Beckman clinched the victory with a 3-2 decision at 125.
Senior Joe Kennedy added a key 6-2 decision over Micah Burak in a battle of top ten ranked wrestlers at 197 to pace Lehigh, which improves to 5-2 on the dual season. The Mountain Hawks have now won their last five duals after starting the season 0-2.
“There was a complete momentum shift in this match,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “Give Penn credit in those first few matches. They got the first takedown in just about every match. They were more ready than we were, but our guys battled back. Tanen wasn’t feeling well but he battled back. Hatchett battled back against a tough kid.”
Penn raced to an early lead with three straight wins at 133, 141 and 149. The Quakers’ Bryan Ortenzio earned a 13-2 major decision over freshman Chris Dinnien and All-American Zack Kemmerer provided more bonus points at 141 with a 16-1 technical fall over freshman Jim Carucci.
The Quakers scored the first takedown in the first six bouts, but Lehigh was able to bounce back for wins at 157 and 165. Senior Brian Tanen held off Troy Hernandez 10-8 at 157. A three-point near fall in the second period provided the cushion for Tanen to win despite yielding a pair of third period takedowns. Senior Brandon Hatchett was taken down early by Lorenzo Thomas but responded with two takedowns of his own to prevail 7-2.
A pair of freshmen battled at 174, with Penn’s Ian Korb scoring a takedown in sudden victory to knock off Nate Brown, but it would be the Quakers’ final win of the dual as Lehigh took the final four bouts.
Junior Robert Hamlin started slowly before scoring takedowns in the second and third periods to defeat Erich Smith 6-1 at 184.
Kennedy backed up his dual win over Burak a year ago by scoring the only two takedowns of the match in his 6-2 win. Kennedy scored in the first period and added an insurance score in the third as the eighth-ranked Mountain Hawk bested the fifth-ranked Quaker.
Rey gave Lehigh the lead for the first time by pinning DiLonardo in 6:44. DiLonardo managed to keep things close for a while as Rey led 5-2 after two periods. Rey added another score in the third, and after two escapes, Rey brought DiLonardo to the mat with a half nelson and stacked him for his second fall of the season.
Needing a win from Beckman to secure its fifth straight dual win, the Lehigh freshman scored a takedown early in the third period and held on to win 3-2 with his riding time advantage.
“Joe and Micah have gone back and forth,” Santoro explained. “They’re two great competitors. It’s always going to be a battle but Joe did a great job. Zack getting a pin was huge for us. With Mason, we put a freshman out there with the dual on the line and he went out and wrestled really well.”
The Mountain Hawks will return to the mats on Friday when they host defending national champion and No. 5 Penn State in the 100th dual meet between the longtime rivals. The dual is slated for a 7 p.m. start from Stabler Arena. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting the Lehigh ticket office located in Grace Hall and by logging on to Lehighsports.com.
Photography by Leah Kulp ‘12
Lehigh 21 Penn 15
133 – Bryan Ortenzio (Penn) major dec. Chris Dinnien (Lehigh) 13-2
141 – Zack Kemmerer (Penn) tech fall Jim Carucci (Lehigh) 16-1, 5:22
149 – Steve Robertson (Penn) dec. Kyle Rosser (Lehigh) 10-3
157 – Brian Tanen (Lehigh) dec. Troy Hernandez (Penn) 10-8
165 – Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) dec. Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) 7-2
174 – Ian Korb (Penn) dec. Nate Brown (Lehigh) 6-4, s.v.
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Erich Smith (Penn) 6-1
197 – Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) dec. Micah Burak (Penn) 6-2
285 – Zack Rey (Lehigh) Fall Anthony DiLonardo (Penn) 6:44
125 – Mason Beckman (Lehigh) dec. Geoffrey Bostany (Penn) 3-2
Referee – Anthony Zullo