BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Wrestling its second dual in less than 24 hours, No. 15 Lehigh picked up its third straight dual win against an EIWA opponent, downing Bucknell 25-15 Saturday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. The Mountain Hawks won five bouts plus a forfeit to junior Robert Hamlin, and posted four wins by major decision as they improved to 8-4 overall and 4-1 against EIWA opponents.
The Bison (2-11, 2-1 EIWA) won three straight bouts from 157-174 to take a 15-11 lead, before Lehigh captured the last three weight classes with Hamlin’s forfeit win and major decisions by seniors Kadeem Samuels and Zach Rey.
“Everybody went out and wrestled the full time and that’s what won this for us,” explained Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “You want to see seven minutes of wrestling and we did that. Those back-to-back weigh-ins can be tough but they responded well to that.”
Junior Alex Abreu dropped the opening bout 7-3 to Bucknell’s Austin Miller, but just as in Friday night’s win over Rutgers, freshman Mason Beckman responded with a major decision win, 16-8 over Shawn Armato at 133. Beckman was unsuccessful in turning Armato for near fall points, but was very efficient in totaling eight takedowns en route to his eighth straight victory.
At 141 sophomore Steve Dutton yielded the first takedown against Derrik Russell but responded with ten unanswered points in a 10-2 major decision. Dutton scored a first period takedown to take a 3-2 lead after one period and took command of the match with a three point near fall in the second period.
Freshman Anthony Salupo completed the three-bout Lehigh run with a 5-3 win over Alex Pellicciotti at 149. Salupo scored a takedown in the first period, but was reversed in the second after building up a riding time advantage. After choosing neutral in the third period, Salupo scored the decisive takedown in the third period and added riding time to account for the 5-3 score.
Bucknell cut Lehigh’s lead to 11-6 at intermission when John Regan bested Brian Tanen 4-1 at 157. In the first bout following the break, senior Sean Bilodeau and Corey Lear were scoreless in the first period when Bilodeau initiated a shot that nearly put Lear on his back. The Bison wrestler was able to turn the tables in the scramble and put Bilodeau on his back before recording the fall at 2:23 and giving Bucknell a 12-11 lead.
Stephen McPeek made it three straight wins for the visitors with a 7-6 win over junior Kevin Bailey, who earned the spot-start at 174. In a back-and-forth affair, each wrestler scored a first period takedown, but McPeek hit a standing reversal at the first period buzzer to lead 4-3 after one. Bailey scored the only takedown of the second period and escaped to take a 6-5 lead early in the third before McPeek responded with the winning takedown with nine seconds remaining.
The swing matches were the ones we thought they would be,” Santoro said. “We knew 141, 149 and 157 would be battles. We gave Kevin Bailey a shot and it just didn’t work out for him today. Giving up six at 165, that was a toss-up match that went the other way. You don’t plan on those but sometimes they happen.”
The forfeit to Hamlin allowed Lehigh to regain the lead 17-15. Samuels then used a little late period reversal magic of his own to virtually clinch the match for Lehigh with his major decision over Joe McMullan at 197. Samuels built a 13-6 lead in the third period on the strength of a 6-0 takedown edge, but looking for one more score, it was McMullan who scored a takedown to make the score 13-8. In the final seconds of the bout, Samuels scored a reversal and with 2:31 of riding time, reached the major decision with a 16-8 win.
Rey closed the dual with a dominant 12-4 major decision of Tyler Lyster. Rey totaled five takedowns to earn the bonus win despite failing to turn the undersized Lyster.
Lehigh is now 8-0 all-time against Bucknell in wrestling, and is 25-2-1 in EIWA duals under pat Santoro.
The Mountain Hawks will now take to the road for their next four duals, beginning with a Midwest swing next weekend. Lehigh will wrestle Central Michigan Friday January 27 in Mount Pleasant, Mich., before trekking to Norman, Okla. to face the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday January 29. Following a weekend off, Lehigh will then travel to England to face Brown, Saturday February 11 at 3 p.m. and Harvard February 12 at noon.
Friday night’s Lehigh-Central Michigan dual is slated for a 7 p.m. start. The match can be heard on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com.
Lehigh 25, Bucknell 15
125 – Austin Miller (Bucknell) dec. Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 7-3
133 – Mason Beckman (Lehigh) major dec. Shawn Armato (Bucknell) 18-6
141 – Steve Dutton (Lehigh) major dec. Derrik Russell (Bucknell) 10-2
149 – Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) dec. Alex Pellicciotti (Bucknell) 5-3
157 – John Regan (Bucknell) dec. Brian Tanen (Lehigh) 4-1
165 – Corey Lear (Bucknell) Fall Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh) 2:23
174 – Stephen McPeek (Bucknell) dec. Kevin Bailey (Lehigh) 7-6
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) won by forfeit
197 – Kadeem Samuels (Lehigh) major dec. Joe McMullan (Bucknell) 16-8
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) major dec. Tyler Lyster (Bucknell) 12-4
Attendance – 1,265
Referee – Joe Bartell