Posted: November 19, 2003
Bethlehem, PA – The Mountain Hawks gained their first victory on the young season Wednesday night, defeating the visiting Pittsburgh Panthers 31-9 in front of a near-capacity crowd of 1,813. Pittsburgh took the first matchup of the night at 149, but it was all Lehigh after that as the team dominated to take their eighth win in the last nine matches against the Panthers.
Matt Kocher picked up one of only two victories for Pitt at 149, defeated Tommy Rohn with a takedown in the third period to win 3-1. But then Derek Zinck got the ball rolling for Lehigh at 157, defeating Justin Nestor 10-3 and just missing a major decision for his first victory of the year. Number one-ranked Troy Letters was up next at 165, and he pummeled Keith Gavin, winning by tech fall 18-3 at of the second period. Brad Dillon and Travis Frick then each won major decisions, 18-9 for Dillon at 174 and 13-5 for Frick at 184.
Matt Cassidy continued his strong early-season wrestling, winning another close match 5-4 over Josh Birt at 197. At heavyweight, Pittsburgh took their only other win on the night, as Joe Sahl had to retire in the third period due to a leg injury. But Mario Stuart came right back for Lehigh at 125, besting Drew Headlee 7-3.
At 133, Matt Ciasulli had perhaps the night’s most dominant performance, picking up the only pin on the night at of the first period. Finally, Cory Cooperman needed a riding time point to defeat Ronald Tarquinio 2-1 at 141 for his first victory as well.
Head coach Greg Strobel said the team came out much looser for this match. “We looked more relaxed from the beginning,” said Strobel. “I think you wrestle better when you are relaxed, your reactions are much quicker. We came out relaxed tonight and it helped our overall ability to compete.”
Strobel was very impressed with the effort of his team, especially Ciasulli. “He looked really good,” said Strobel. “He is starting to come into his own, and boy is he tough when he is on top. Zinck did well tonight too, but he could have had a major decision with one more takedown. He has to learn to take advantage of situations like that, especially now early in the season. You do those kinds of things early so you know you can do it later on when you need it.”
After the first match, Lehigh’s wrestlers held their opponents without an offensive point through five matches before Travis Shirley had a takedown of Joe Sahl at heavyweight. On the night, Pittsburgh only recorded three takedowns. The Panthers fall to 0-1 on the season, while the Mountain Hawks improve to 1-1.
Lehigh will continue their season on Sunday, when they take to the road for the first time this season as they travel to Ann Arbor, MI to take on Central Michigan and Michigan. The match against Michigan is at , and will be broadcast live on Lehigh’s website at www.lehighsports.com.
Weight Matchup Result Score
149 Matt Kocher (UP) over Tommy Rohn (LU) 3-1
157 Derek Zinck (LU) over Justin Nestor (UP) 10-3
165 Troy Letters (LU) over Keith Gavin (UP) WTF, 18-3 ()
174 Brad Dillon (LU) over Francis Iorfido (UP) MD, 18-9
184 Travis Frick (LU) over Mike Croyle (UP) MD, 13-5
197 Matt Cassidy (LU) over Josh Birt (UP) 5-4
HWT Travis Shirley (UP) over Joe Sahl (LU) injury default,
125 Mario Stuart (LU) over Drew Headlee (UP) 7-3
133 Matt Ciasulli (LU) over Adam Curry (UP) WBF,
141 Cory Cooperman (LU) over Ronald Tarquinio (UP) 2-1