Kevin Tao's pin in the final bout of the night lifted the American University wrestling team to a 21-19 victory over Harvard in its first EIWA dual of the season on Friday.
Tao opened the 149 lbs. match with an early takedown and picked up a near fall to take the 5-0 advantage. He was then able to secure the dual for the Eagles, pinning Harvard's Alexis Wagener in 1:17.
"Going into the match I felt like we had a pretty good advantage, but in situations like that you never know how those athletes are going to react," said Head Coach Teague Moore. "Kevin was very aggressive, he knew what he was going to be able to score with and win with and he stuck with it to get the victory for the team."
Harvard won the first match of the night at 157 lbs. before Phillip Barreiro put American on the board. Harvard's Devon Gobbo took the early advantage but Barreiro responded, tying it at three with a takedown at the end of the second period. Barreiro picked up the escape in the final period for the 4-3 advantage and added the takedown right after as he held on to record the 9-4 decision.
Thomas Barreiro led 2-0 after the first period at 184 lbs. before Josh Popple tied it heading into the third. Barreiro scored the takedown but Popple got a reversal to knot it up again. Barreiro was able to secure the victory, getting the escape in the closing seconds for the 5-4 decision to put the team score at 9-6 in favor of the Crimson.
Blake Herrin registered a 12-5 decision for the Eagles at heavyweight and David Terao gave American its first team lead of the bout, pinning Jeff Ott in 5:40. Harvard won the next match at 133 lbs. with Ryan Osleeb earning a 4-2 decision over Esteban Gomez-Rivera to take back the overall lead, 19-15, setting up Tao's pin to win the match.
"I'm happy for the team, even in our losses tonight we did things that helped keep the team in it," said Moore. "In terms of the conference it's exciting, for us to get the victory at home and the way that it came it's exciting and it feels good. We just want to follow up with two more wins on Sunday."
American returns to Bender Arena on Sunday, January 13 for a double-header against Stanford and No. 14 Lehigh. The action kicks off at 12 p.m. against the Cardinal with the Eagles facing its second EIWA opponent, Lehigh, at 2 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast live on Eagles Vision TV.
157: No. 8 Walter Peppelman (Harvard) tech. fall Mark Cirello (American), 18-0 (5:25); Harvard, 5-0
165: Phillip Barreiro (American) dec. Devon Gobbo, 9-4; Harvard, 5-3
174: Cameron Croy (Harvard) major dec. Keithen Cast (American), 14-6; Harvard 9-3
184: Thomas Barreiro (American) dec. Josh Popple (Harvard), 5-4; Harvard, 9-6
197: James Fox (Harvard) major dec. Devon Bradley (American), 15-2; Harvard, 13-6
HWT: Blake Herrin (American) dec. David Ng (Harvard), 12-5; Harvard 13-9
125: David Terao (American) fall Jeff Ott (Harvard), 5:40; American, 15-13
133: Ryan Osleeb (Harvard) dec. Esteban Gomez-Rivera (American), 4-2; Harvard, 16-15
141: No. 10 Steven Keith (Harvard) dec. John Boyle (American), 4-1; Harvard, 19-15
149: Kevin Tao (American) fall Alexis Wagener (Harvard), 1:17; American 21-19