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Lehigh rides fast start to 19-14 win over Arizona State in dual season finale

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- In front of a sellout crowd of 1,880 Friday night inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall, No. 11 Lehigh capped its dual meet season with a 19-14 win over No. 5 Arizona State. The Mountain Hawks started fast, winning the first four bouts of the evening and ended up winning six of 10 on the night to secure their 11th straight dual victory to close the regular season.

"Everybody wrestled really well tonight," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "We came out with a lot more fire than we had in the last two duals. We needed to do that because Arizona State has a really nice team. A couple matches got away from us, which was tough to see because overall I thought we wrestled really well."

Lehigh finishes the dual season at 12-3. The Mountain Hawks' victory snapped Arizona State's nine-dual winning streak. The Sun Devils fell to 14-2 with the loss. Lehigh has now won four duals over top five-ranked teams in the Pat Santoro era, with two of the four victories coming this season.

Fifth-ranked junior Brandon Paetzell keyed Lehigh's fast start with a 6-1 decision over No. 9 Brandon Courtney in the opening bout at 125. Paetzell scored a first period takedown, rode out the second period and added an escape and takedown in the third to improve to 16-2 on the year.

"He really set the tone," Santoro said of Paetzell. "He loves to compete. Just loves to wrestle. You can see it when he's out there."

Sophomore Jaret Lane got the nod at 133 and defeated Josh Kramer 4-1. Lane broke a 1-1 tie with a third period takedown and then rode out to add the riding time point.

Lehigh honored its nine-member senior class prior to the match, with three seniors seeing action Friday evening. At 141, Ryan Pomrinca scored on a single leg shot 17 seconds into sudden victory to defeat Cory Crooks 3-1.

Sophomore Jimmy Hoffman capped the Lehigh run with a 5-4 victory over Josh Maruca at 149. Hoffman gave up the first takedown, but turned Maruca for a two point near fall early in the second period. A Maruca reversal and Hoffman escape tied the bout at 4-4 after two periods, but Hoffman escaped early in the third and held on from there to put Lehigh up 12-0.

Arizona State picked up its first win at 157 as a late reversal lifted Jacori Teemer past sophomore Josh Humphreys 8-7. Humphreys used a first period takedown and a strong ride to lead 2-0 after one and then led 4-2 after two, but Teemer turned the tides with a takedown and two point near fall in the third. Humphreys reversed and was on the way to winning 7-6 on riding time when Teemer mustered a reversal to take the lead and kept Humphreys down to win.

Seventh-ranked Josh Shields brought the Sun Devils within 12-8 with a 19-4 technical fall over freshman Brian Meyer in the first bout following intermission. The technical fall marked the first time this season Meyer gave up bonus points to his opponent.

Fittingly, on senior night, senior Jordan Kutler helped right the ship, but it didn't come easy. The third-ranked Kutler was taken down almost immediately by a blast double leg from ninth-ranked Anthony Valencia. Kutler escaped and responded with a takedown of his own, then went to work with a strong ride from the top position to lead 3-2 after one. He added takedowns in each of the final two periods, plus a second period escape and riding time to win 9-4 and put Lehigh up 15-8.

"They've wrestled a few times in freestyle," Santoro said. "We knew he had a double and it would probably come right off the whistle. He gets just about everybody with it. You just have to stay with it and just keep wrestling. Jordan has very good composure and just kept wrestling. That was a really good win for him."

Junior Chris Weiler then followed with Lehigh's lone bonus point win of the night at 184. Weiler scored a takedown in each period, a second period escape and two penalty points for stalling, plus nearly six minutes of riding time as he spent most of the match trying to turn Cade Belshay. The final score, a 10-0 major decision, put Lehigh up 11 points with two bouts remaining.

With a bit of cushion, Santoro sent out senior Chase Gallik up another weight at 197 to face Kordell Norfleet. Gallik did his job, keeping Norfleet to a 12-6 decision, which essentially sealed the dual for the Mountain Hawks.

A top 10 battle at heavyweight between eighth-ranked junior Jordan Wood and No. 6 Tanner Hall went the Sun Devil's way by a 5-2 score. Hall scored on a shrug move in the second period and countered a Wood shot for the clinching takedown late in the third.

The Mountain Hawks will now shift focus towards the 116th EIWA Championships, which Lehigh will host March 6-7 at Stabler Arena. Lehigh will be looking to win its third straight EIWA team title and 37th title all-time. Tickets can be purchased at LehighTickets.com or by calling 610-7LU-GAME during business hours.

The 2019-20 Lehigh wrestling season is presented by the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Results:
125 - Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh) dec. Brandon Courtney (ASU) 6-1
133 - Jaret Lane (Lehigh) dec. Josh Kramer (ASU) 4-1
141 - Ryan Pomrinca (Lehigh) dec. Cory Crooks (ASU) 3-1, sv
149 - Jimmy Hoffman (Lehigh) dec. Josh Maruca (ASU) 5-4
157 - Jacori Teemer (ASU) dec. Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) 8-7
165 - Josh Shields (ASU) tech fall Brian Meyer (Lehigh) 19-4, 7:00
174 - Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) dec. Anthony Valencia (ASU) 9-4
184 - Chris Weiler (Lehigh) major dec. Cade Belshay (ASU) 10-0
197 - Kordell Norfleet (ASU) dec. Chase Gallik (Lehigh) 12-6
285 - Tanner Hall (ASU) dec. Jordan Wood (Lehigh) 5-2
Attendance - 1,880

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