Lehigh rallies from early deficit to defeat Brown

2/22/2014
Lehigh University Sports Information

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- No. 20 Lehigh rallied from an early 11-3 deficit to defeat Brown 26-17 Saturday at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Freshman heavyweight Doug Vollaro's first period pin over Ryder Cavey was the second in a string of five straight Lehigh wins, the last four of which produced bonus points. Sophomore Mason Beckman added a pin for the Mountain Hawks, who improved to 9-6 on the dual season.

Brown (3-10) opened the dual with a pair of close decisions at 157 and 165. Cort Choate hit an early five-point move against junior Mike Stepien at 157 battled back with an escape and two penalty points for stalling against Choate. Stepien also had riding time advantage but could not muster the takedown needed to force overtime. At 165, one minute of riding time advantage was the deciding factor as Phil Marano edged sophomore Ben Haas 5-4.

Freshman Elliot Riddick put Lehigh on the board with a 5-2 decision over Ricky McDonald at 174. Riddick posted takedowns in the first and third periods and added an escape.

"Overall I thought everyone wrestled pretty well," said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. "Mike Stepien started us off and did a great job. He gave up a five point move but came back and gave himself a chance to win in the third period. Tough one at 165 but then at 174 Elliot started getting his feet moving and got stronger as the match went on."

Ophir Bernstein gave the Bears their biggest lead at 11-3 with an 18-2 technical fall over freshman Zach Diekel at 184 before sophomore John Bolich earned three points back for Lehigh with a 6-3 decision over Gus Marker at 197.

Vollaro picked up his first fall of the season after he caught Cavey in a shot attempt and brought him down to his back. After several seconds of struggle, the referee slapped the mat for a Vollaro fall in 2:32 and Lehigh took a 12-11 lead after six bouts.

"Doug's pin really turned the match around," Santoro said. "He did a really good job sticking with that position and not rushing through anything."

Freshman Darian Cruz kept things going for Lehigh with a 12-2 major decision over Vinny Moita at 125. Needing a takedown to secure the bonus point for the major, Cruz scored a late takedown and added a two point tilt in the final seconds for extra measure.

Beckman followed with his first fall of the season as he built an 18-6 lead over Anthony Finocchiaro late in the third period at 133. Needing a takedown for a likely technical fall , Beckman got in on a shot and picked up the fall from the neutral position as Finocchiaro's shoulders were on the mat with just seven seconds remaining.

Sophomore Laike Gardner closed the Lehigh run with a 13-3 major decision over Zach Tanenbaum at 141.

In the final bout of the dual, Santoro opted to rest freshman Mitch Minotti and sent out freshman Will Switzer, who was involved in a competitive battle with Steven Galiardo at 149. Switzer appeared to injure an ankle late in the second period and following a second injury timeout, trailing 8-5 in the third period, Switzer defaulted at 5:44, adding six points to Brown's final team score.

"All the way through the lineup I thought we did a good job," Santoro said. "Will did a great job up a weight class. It's a shame about his ankle. Overall, it's something for us to build off going into a big match tomorrow."

The Mountain Hawks will now head to Cambridge, Massachusetts for their final dual of the regular season Sunday against Harvard. Match time is set for noon from Lavietes Pavilion. The match will be streamed live on ESPN3 while audio coverage will be available on WLVR-FM (91.3) and WLVR.org.

Results:
157: Cort Choate (Brown) dec. Mike Stepien (Lehigh) 6-4
165: Phil Marano (Brown) dec. Ben Haas (Lehigh) 5-4
174: Elliot Riddick (Lehigh) dec. Ricky McDonald (Brown) 5-2
184: Ophir Bernstein (Brown) tech fall Zach Diekel (Lehigh) 18-2, 6:51
197: John Bolich (Lehigh) dec. Gus Marker (Brown) 6-3
285: Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) Fall Ryder Cavey (Brown) 2:32
125: Darian Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. Vinny Moita (Brown) 12-2
133: Mason Beckman (Lehigh) Fall Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown) 6:53
141: Laike Gardner (Lehigh) major dec. Zach Tanenbaum (Brown) 13-3
149: Steven Galiardo (Brown) injury default Will Switzer (Lehigh) 5:44

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