BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- After falling to No. 2 Penn State the night before, the Lehigh wrestling team rebounded with an 18-12 victory over the Bloomsburg Huskies on Saturday afternoon at the Nelson Fieldhouse. Junior Joey Napoli earned an important win at 157 over sixth-ranked Frank Hickman en route to the Mountain Hawks' second victory of the season. Lehigh will now be idle until November 30 when it will host Hofstra at 7 p.m.
"It was a tough turnaround from last night," said head coach Pat Santoro. "Some guys had a good performance, but some were a little lack-luster. That's part of being young and you have to have a short memory. I don't think we had the intensity that we wanted our guys to be at, but we're going to get better from this."
The Mountain Hawks and Huskies split the first two bouts with junior Alex Abreu winning 4-2 over Sean Boylan before freshman Laike Gardner was knocked off 6-1 by No. 17 Nick Wilcox for a 3-3 draw entering the third bout. At 141, No. 18 sophomore Anthony Salupo used a late two-point take down and riding time to break a 1-1 tie for a 4-1 decision over Matt Rappo to give Lehigh a 6-3 lead in the match.
No. 19 senior Shane Welsh overcame a two-point take down by Josh Roosa at 149 with two escapes and a point from riding time for the 3-2 victory to bump Lehigh's team score to nine, as Bloomsburg stayed at three after the fourth bout of the afternoon.
At 157, junior Napoli used two take downs, an escape and riding time to beat his second top-six wrestler in as many days with a 6-0 victory over Frank Hickman. With 30 seconds remaining in the first period, Napoli took down Hickman for an early two-point lead, and followed his take down with an escape early in the second. He then added another take down late in the second period before riding time tacked on the extra point as the Mountain Hawks lead grew to 12-3 entering intermission.
"He was probably our most aggressive wrestler today," said Santoro. "He's worked hard all year and it's starting to pay off now. He still wants to get better and win a national championship this year."
In front of a large number of hometown supporters, No. 20 freshman Eric Hess grabbed a quick 2-0 lead over Josh Veltre with a take down just seconds into the 165 bout. After a two-point reversal by Veltre to even the score, Hess used a reversal of his own for a 3-2 advantage. Hess added a late escape for the 4-2 win as the Mountain Hawks' lead reached 15-3.
Sophomore Nathaniel Brown opened at 174 with an escape followed by a quick take down of Chris Smith for a 3-0 advantage in the first period. Brown finished the bout off with a 4-1 victory after adding a point of riding time after a late Smith escape to push Lehigh's lead to 18-3 after yet another three-point decision victory for the Mountain Hawks.
The Huskies picked up their second win of the afternoon as Andre Petroski defeated senior Kevin Bailey 4-2 to cut Lehigh's lead to 18-6.
Bloomsburg rounded out the afternoon with two more wins at 197 and the heavyweight bouts as No. 19 Richard Perry notched a 7-3 win over freshman John Bolich before No. 19 Justin Grant defeated freshman Jack Delia 3-2 to wrap up the match, as Lehigh ended with an 18-12 victory.
After this weekend's split, the Mountain Hawks will now break until Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 when they will host Hofstra at 7 p.m. and Penn at 1 p.m., respectively, at Leeman-Turner Arena inside Grace Hall.
"They are both really good teams and high level programs," said Santoro. "It's going to high intensity matches and we're going to have to wrestle very well to win those matches."
Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging on to Lehighsports.com, or by visiting the Grace Hall ticket office on match night.
125: Alexander Abreu (Lehigh) won by decision over Sean Boylan (Bloomsburg) 3-2.
133: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) won by decision over Laike Gardner (Lehigh) 6-1.
141: Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) won by decision over Matthew Rappo (Bloomsburg) 4-1.
149: Shane Welsh (Lehigh) won by decision over Josh Roosa (Bloomsburg) 3-2.
157: Joseph Napoli (Lehigh) won by decision over Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg) 6-0.
165: Eric Hess (Lehigh) won by decision over Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg) 4-2.
174: Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) won by decision over Christopher Smith (Bloomsburg) 4-1.
184: Andre Petroski (Bloomsburg) won by decision over Kevin Bailey (Lehigh) 4-2.
197: Richard Perry (Bloomsburg) won by decision over John Bolich (Lehigh) 7-3.
285: Justin Grant (Bloomsburg) won by decision over John Delia (Lehigh) 3-2.