Lehigh pulls away from Penn in dual finale

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Tied 6-6 with Penn after four bouts, No. 20 Lehigh won its final six bouts of the dual season, scoring bonus points in four of those wins to top the Quakers 34-6 Sunday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall.

Freshman Josh Humphreys' 5-3 decision over Joe Oliva at 157 gave Lehigh a 9-6 lead at intermission. The Mountain Hawks won the first two bouts after the break and then closed the regular season in style, getting three consecutive pins from senior Ryan Preisch and sophomores Jake Jakobsen and Jordan Wood to wrap-up the dual season.

"It was a great way to finish out the dual meet season," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "We knew there would be some swing matches. The two we lost, plus 165, we knew would be swing matches. Obviously you want to win them all every time you go out. We're happy with the finish, but the regular season is over now and it's time to get ready for EIWAs and the NCAA Tournament."

Lehigh heads into the postseason at 9-9 overall. The Mountain Hawks went 6-1 in duals against EIWA opponents.

The first six bouts of the dual were tightly contested, with four of the six decided by a mere point. At 125, freshman Luke Resnick scored the first takedown against Carmen Ferrante, but the Quaker freshman reversed in the second period and rode out the third to claim a 4-3 decision.

Sophomore Brandon Paetzell put the Mountain Hawks on the board with a 3-0 decision over Doug Zapf at 133. Paetzell scored a first period takedown and second period escape for the only scoring.

Junior Ryan Pomrinca made it two straight for the Mountain Hawks with a 5-4 decision over A.J. Vindici at 141. Pomrinca scored the opening takedown and escaped after a reversal to lead 3-2 after one. Tied 3-3 after two, Pomrinca escaped to open the third period and held on from there.

Penn's highest-ranked wrestler is freshman Anthony Artalona at 149. On Senior Day, senior Cortlandt Schuyler made his bid for a top-15 win. Schuyler scored the first takedown of the bout off an Artalona shot in the second period. An Artalona takedown in the third and subsequent Schuyler escape sent the match into overtime. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Schuyler was ridden out in the first half of the tiebreaker, with Artalona escaping in the second half to win 5-4.

"We knew their better guys were down below, but we didn't really set a pace early on," Santoro said. "If we don't set a pace, we don't wrestle to our ability. We can't let that happen in the postseason. We have to wrestle at a high level all the time."

Humphreys started strong in his win versus Oliva, with a first period takedown and two point near fall. He added an escape in the second period but was taken down in the third and gave up a stalling point but still gave Lehigh the lead at the break.

Junior Kent Lane got the nod at 165 as senior Gordon Wolf traveled to the Mat Town Open II at Lock Haven to get enough matches to reach the 17-match threshold needed for a RPI ranking. Lane took on Neil Antrassian and was trailing 3-2 in the third period before scoring a takedown and riding out to win 4-3, extending Lehigh's lead to 12-6.

"We weighed in two guys and we weren't sure who we were going to wrestle," Santoro said. "We knew a little about Antrassian but not a lot. We knew he was going to be on the legs and we had to beat him in some scrambles. That's exactly what Kent's strength is. We thought we might have one earlier and (Antrassian) made some adjustments, but Kent made the adjustment in the third period which locked it up."

Lehigh closed the dual with four consecutive bonus wins, beginning with a 14-4 major decision from junior Jordan Kutler over Jake Hendricks. Kutler totaled five takedowns, two penalty points for stalling, an escape plus riding time as he finished the regular season at 17-4.

Preisch started the pin party by decking Ryan Farber in the second period at 184. Behind three first period takedowns, Preisch led 6-2 after one period. He tried to work several turns in the second before using a half nelson to secure the fall at 4:37.

"Ryan is a worker and a work horse," Santoro said. "He loves to try and pin you. He gets stronger as the match goes on. It was great to see him make some adjustments. He did some nice things today. We've been working on some things over the last few weeks and he hit them today. He made some nice adjustments heading into the postseason."

Sophomore Chris Weiler joined Wolf at Lock Haven, so Jakobsen made his first appearance since January 19 at American. Jakobsen wasn't on the mat for long as he locked up a cradle and pinned Greg Bensley in just 1:19.

Wood closed out the dual season by pinning Ben Goldin in 1:38. He picked up two early first period takedowns and while going for a third, dropped Goldin directly onto his back, securing the fall seconds later.

Prior to the dual Lehigh recognized its 11-member senior class in its final appearance in Grace Hall. Honorees included Schuyler, Wolf, Preisch, Ian Brown, Tyler Casamenti, Brandon Diaz, Paul Dunn, Scott Parker, David Pipa, Andrew Price and team manager Kallie Ziltz.

'It's been a blessing to have these seniors be a part of this family," Santoro said. "They have friends for life on this team. They're really good kids who have been a part of something really special. They'll always be remembered."

Wolf and Weiler both won three bouts at Lock Haven Sunday. Wolf won his first three matches at 165 before medically forfeiting out. Weiler reached the finals at 197 behind three technical falls before dropping a 20-8 bout to unrostered Penn State recruit Michael Beard.

The Mountain Hawks will now set their sights on the postseason, which begins with the EIWA Championships, hosted by Binghamton, March 8-9 in Vestal, N.Y. Lehigh won its 35th EIWA title and first since 2006 last year and is once again expected to battle Cornell and several others for the title.

The 2018-19 Lehigh wrestling season is presented by the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

125 - Carmen Ferrante (Penn) dec. Luke Resnick (Lehigh) 4-3
133 - Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh) dec. Doug Zapf (Penn) 3-0
141 - Ryan Pomrinca (Lehigh) dec. A.J. Vindici (Penn) 5-4
149 - Anthony Artalona (Penn) dec. Cortlandt Schuyler (Lehigh) 5-4, tb
157 - Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) dec. Joe Oliva (Penn) 5-3
165 - Kent Lane (Lehigh) dec. Neil Antrassian (Penn) 4-3
174 - Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) major dec. Jake Hendricks (Penn) 14-4
184 - Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) Fall Ryan Farber (Penn) 4:37
197 - Jake Jakobsen (Lehigh) Fall Greg Bensley (Penn) 1:19
285 - Jordan Wood (Lehigh) Fall Ben Goldin (Penn) 1:38


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