BETHLEHEM, Pa. – No. 12 Lehigh bounced back from Friday’s loss to Virginia Tech with a dominant performance in wins over Harvard and Brown Sunday afternoon inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. The Mountain Hawks won 17 of 20 bouts on the day, scoring bonus points in 13 of them, including eight falls as Lehigh won 40-7 over the Crimson and 43-3 over the Bears.
Freshman Austin Meys and senior Joe Kennedy each had two pins on the day to lead the Mountain Hawks, who improve to 12-6 in duals including a 5-1 mark versus EIWA opponents.
"It was a good day," said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. "It was good to see guys score a lot of points and get a lot of pins. It was a great way to end the month of January which was brutal schedule-wise. The guys knew what they had to do and wrestled hard. There was no letdown from the Virginia Tech loss."
The Mountain Hawks dropped the opening bout against Harvard but rallied with three straight bonus wins to take control of the dual. Santoro chose to rest freshman Frank Cagnina against the Crimson and sent out sophomore Alex Abreu wrestling up a weight class against Fermin Mendez at 133. Abreu served as a catalyst for the Mountain Hawks with a dominant 15-0 technical fall in 4:32.
"Alex has been working so hard and has gotten so much better," Santoro said of Abreu. "He was very excited about the opportunity and he seized it."
Freshman Stephen Dutton followed with a tech fall of his own before Napoli built a 13-3 first period lead before pinning Joe Alie in 2:52 for his first fall of the season.
Harvard’s top ranked wrestler, Walter Peppelman edged junior Sean Bilodeau 1-0 at 157 to cut Lehigh’s lead to 16-7 at intermission, but the Mountain Hawk upper weights were dominant with three pins in the final five bouts.
Junior Brandon Hatchett returned to the Lehigh lineup at 165 after missing the Virginia Tech match. Hatchett used a third-period cradle to score a fall over Adam Hogue in 5:41.
Meys made it back-to-back pins as he stuck Ian Roy at 2:28. Kennedy sandwiched his fall, which came at 3:54 over Bryan Panzano at 197 around wins by decision for sophomore Robert Hamlin and junior Zach Rey.
Lehigh limited the Crimson to just two takedowns the entire match, with both coming at 125.
The Mountain Hawks successfully carried momentum into the nightcap against Brown, winning nine of ten matches from the Bears.
Senior Mitch Berger shook off an earlier loss with an impressive comeback win over Billy Watterson at 125. Berger trailed 6-2 after one period, but rode out the second and tied the match with a penalty point for stalling and a takedown in the final seconds of regulation plus riding time. The match went into tiebreakers where Berger rode Watterson for 30 seconds and then was cut loose for the winning escape to prevail 7-6.
Cagnina extended the Lehigh lead in his only match of the day as he scored five late third period points to secure an 18-6 major decision over Cort Choate.
Brown’s lone win came at 141 where Grant Overcashier scored a third period reversal to knock off freshman Albert Woody in his varsity dual debut,
Napoli’s second win of the day, a 4-1 decision over Giuseppi Lanzi and a first period pin from Bilodeau over Pat LaBuz put Lehigh up 16-3 at intermission.
Lehigh’s upper weights again dominated the second half of the dual, as the Mountain Hawks closed out the festivities with five bonus wins.
Hatchett scored a takedown in the final seconds to clinch a win by technical fall over Dave Foxen 16-1 in 7:00. Meys followed with his second fall of the day and ninth of the season as he used a quarter nelson to pin Brandon Vorrius in 2:42.
At 184, Hamlin followed with his first fall of the season as he overcame a slow start to pin Ziad Kharbush in 3:31. Kennedy then netted his second pin of the day, reversing Brandon Shull onto his back for a fall at 3:29.
Rey closed the day’s proceedings with a convincing 14-1 major decision over Tyler Cowman.
"We’ve got three barnburners left," Santoro said. "These last three matches are going to be comparable to the Cornell and Virginia Tech duals. We have to do a lot of scouting and get to their level because these last three duals plus Easterns and Nationals are not going to be easy."
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Sunday February 6 when they host No. 19 American at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME or by visiting the Lehigh ticket office located in Grace Hall.
Lehigh 40, Harvard 7
125 – Steven Keith (Harvard) major dec. Mitch Berger (Lehigh) 10-2
133 – Alex Abreu (Lehigh) tech fall Fermin Mendez (Harvard) 15-0, 4:32
141 – Stephen Dutton (Lehigh) tech fall Joe Marino (Harvard) 16-0, 4:41
149 – Joey Napoli (Lehigh) pinned Joe Alie (Harvard) 2:52
157 – Walter Peppelman (Harvard) dec. Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh) 1-0
165 – Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) pinned Adam Hogue (Harvard) 5:41
174 – Austin Meys (Lehigh) pinned Ian Roy (Harvard) 2:28
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Cameron Croy (Harvard) 8-3
197 – Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) pinned Bryan Panzano (Harvard) 3:54
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. Andrew Knapp (Harvard) 6-1
Referee – Jake Llewellyn
Lehigh 43, Brown 3
125 – Mitch Berger (Lehigh) dec. Billy Watterson (Brown) 7-6, t.b.
133 – Frank Cagnina (Lehigh) major dec. Cort Choate (Brown) 18-6
141 – Grant Overcashier (Brown) dec. Albert Woody (Lehigh) 4-2
149 – Joey Napoli (Lehigh) dec. Giuseppi Lanzi (Brown) 4-1
157 – Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh) pinned Pat LaBuz (Brown) 2:33
165 – Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) tech fall Dave Foxen (Brown) 16-1, 7:00
174 – Austin Meys (Lehigh) pinned Brandon Vorrius (Brown) 2:42
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) pinned Ziad Kharbush (Brown) 3:31
197 – Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) pinned Brandon Shull (Brown) 3:29
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) major dec. Tyler Cowman (Brown) 14-1
Referee – George Chilmonik
Attendance – 1,555