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11/20/15 Lehigh Beats Pitt

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11/20/15 Lehigh Beats Pitt

Postby Allen Brown » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:55 pm

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In its first home dual of the season, No. 10 Lehigh erased a 7-4 deficit by winning the final seven bouts in a convincing 27-7 win over Pitt Friday night inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Sophomore Darian Cruz and senior Nathaniel Brown posted bonus point wins for the Mountain Hawks, while an 8-2 decision by junior Mitch Minotti over Ronnie Garbinsky at 157 gave Lehigh the lead for good.

Lehigh improves to 3-1 on the season, while Pitt suffers its first loss and falls to 3-1.

"I really believe there's another gear in this team," Santoro said. "We're not hitting on all cylinders right now. I know its November but there were certain matches where I think we needed to be more assertive going after things and show more urgency instead of waiting until the end. The second half guys stepped up and wrestled really well. Nobody wrestled poorly, but I know there's another gear to this team and we have to find it."

Cruz gave Lehigh an early 4-0 lead with a 14-5 major decision over L.J. Bentley at 125. In his first Grace Hall action since the 2013-14 season, Cruz scored two first period takedowns, extended his lead with a five-point second and kept on the aggressive with a takedown and two point near fall to secure the major decision.

Pitt captured the next two bouts to go in front 7-4. At 133, sophomore Jon Mele made his Lehigh debut in place of Mason Beckman. Mele found himself tied 3-3 with Dom Forys after one period, but the Panther picked things up over the final two periods on the way to a 21-10 major decision that evened the score at 4-4.

One of the more anticipated bouts of the night matched Lehigh Valley natives Randy Cruz and Mikey Racciato at 141. In a match that featured several quality scrambles, Racciato won the only scramble that resulted in a takedown, and that first period takedown was the difference in a 3-2 win for the Panther.

Junior Laike Gardner pulled Lehigh even after four bouts with a 7-5 decision over Robert Lee at 149. Gardner and Lee were tied 3-3 after one period. Gardner was reversed in the second period but tied the match at five after an escape and a penalty point for locking hands. A third period escape and 1:15 riding time advantage provided the difference for Gardner.

Minotti gave Lehigh a 10-7 lead at the halfway point with his win over Garbinsky. He tallied a second period escape plus two second period takedowns and a third period takedown plus 1:44 riding time advantage.

In the first bout after intermission, freshman Ryan Preisch delivered an impressive come-from-behind 4-3 win over Cody Wiercioch at 165. Wiercioch took the lead with a second period escape and takedown but in the third, Preisch took the lead with an escape and takedown of his own and rode out Wiercioch to win on 1:50 riding time advantage.

At 174, junior Elliot Riddick posted his first dual meet win of the season, defeating Te'Shan Campbell 5-2. Riddick shot off the whistle and scored a takedown in the opening seconds. He took the lead for good on a third period escape and added a late takedown for measure.

Brown was dominant in his second near fall-less technical fall of the season, racking up 11 takedowns plus an escape and a stalling point in a 24-9 win that was over in 5:15. The victory clinched the match for the Mountain Hawks.

Senior John Bolich made it six straight Lehigh victories with a 6-0 shutout of Nick Bonaccorsi at 197. Bolich used a strong ride to ride out the second period while turning Bonaccorsi for a four point near fall, and added an escape and riding time advantage.

The final bout of the dual matched nationally-ranked heavyweights Max Wessell and Ryan Solomon. Wessell scored the only takedown of the match in the first period in a 3-2 victory.

"Those last three guys did a really nice job," Santoro said. "I'm not even sure how many takedowns Nate had. He was really focused. After those first couple times out he really wanted to get re-focused on those takedowns and getting as many as he can every match so when he gets to the national tournament he can get them when he needs to."

The Mountain Hawks will be back inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall on Sunday to face the Fighting Scots of Edinboro at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at LehighTickets.com or prior to the match at Grace Hall.

No. 10 Lehigh 27, Pitt 7
125 – Darian Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. LJ Bentley (Pitt) 14-5
133 – Dom Forys (Pitt) major dec. Jon Mele (Lehigh) 21-10
141 – Mikey Racciato (Pitt) dec. Randy Cruz (Lehigh) 3-2
149 – Laike Gardner (Lehigh) dec. Robert Lee (Pitt) 7-5
157 – Mitch Minotti (Lehigh) dec. Ronnie Garbinsky (Pitt) 8-2
165 – Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) dec. Cody Wiercioch (Pitt) 4-3
174 – Elliot Riddick (Lehigh) dec. Te'Shan Campbell (Pitt) 5-2
184 – Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) tech fall Zach Bruce (Pitt) 24-9, 5:15
197 – John Bolich (Lehigh) dec. Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt) 6-0
285 – Max Wessell (Lehigh) dec. Ryan Solomon (Pitt) 3-2
Attendance – 1,736
Officials – Gary Kessel and Ryan Hagan

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Allen Brown

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