InterMat Wrestling – Late bonus-point wins lift Lehigh past Arizona State

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. — In front of a capacity crowd inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall, No. 24 Lehigh scored bonus points in the final three bouts of the night to rally past No. 23 Arizona State 23-13 Saturday evening. The Mountain Hawks trailed 13-9 after seven bouts but senior Ryan Preisch tied the dual with a major decision at 184 and sophomore Chris Weiler put Lehigh back in front with a third period pin at 197. Sophomore heavyweight Jordan Wood added a major decision victory to clinch Lehigh’s sixth consecutive dual win.

“We knew we had to win some of those lower ones to compete,” Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. “The win at 157 was huge. We knew we were favored in those last three weights and those guys went out and did a nice job.”

Lehigh won six of the 10 bouts overall, scoring bonus points in just those final three, as the Mountain Hawks move to 6-7 on the dual season.

The first six bouts of the dual were all tightly contested, with two of the six decided by a single point and two others decided by just two.

Freshman Luke Resnick fell 3-2 to Brandon Courtney in the opening bout at 125 by way of a third period takedown, but back-to-back 4-2 decisions from sophomore Brandon Paetzell at 133 and junior Ryan Pomrinca at 141 put Lehigh in front 6-3. Paetzell rode out the second period but needed a third period takedown to knock off Josh Kramer, while Pomrinca used a first period takedown, plus an escape and riding time to top Cory Crooks.

Arizona State (4-8) pulled even at 6-6 after Josh Maruca knocked off senior Cortlandt Schuyler 7-2 at 149, snapping Schuyler’s five bout winning streak.

The Mountain Hawks got a big boost going into intermission with a late 6-1 decision by freshman Josh Humphreys over 13th-ranked Christian Pagdilao at 157. Humphreys was ridden out in the second period and trailed on riding time advantage late in the third period when he put Pagdilao in danger after a shot and worked his way into a takedown and four point near fall in the final seconds.

“That was a great match,” Santoro said. “Pagdilao’s a really good kid. To find a way to win at the end. Those are big moments, because for a young guy you have to find ways to win matches like that. You’re going to need those at the national tournament and you have to find a way to go get it.

“The Humphreys win really ignited the team,” Santoro continued. “I think they saw that when you keep wrestling good things happen. That’s the thing with wrestling. It’s never over. Josh has done what he’s done all year which is keep wrestling.”

Lehigh just missed another big win coming out of intermission as senior Gordon Wolf came up just one point short against fifth-ranked Josh Shields at 165. Wolf scored the first takedown in the first period and after trading three reversals, and then a late Wolf escape, the Lehigh senior led 5-4 after one. Wolf led 6-5 early in the third but Shields scored a go ahead takedown and kept Wolf down to win 7-6.

The Sun Devils opened up a four-point lead with a major decision at 174 as second-ranked and defending NCAA champion Zahid Valencia scored late to cement a 12-4 win over seventh-ranked junior Jordan Kutler.

Preisch pulled Lehigh even with a 10-0 major decision over Jacen Petersen. He scored a first period takedown and turned Petersen for four near fall at the end of the period and added an escape and takedown in the second period plus riding time.

With the dual tied 13-13 after eight bouts, Weiler took the mat against Austyn Harris. Weiler opened the scoring with a second period reversal and locked up a cradle before losing control before he could turn Harris. Leading 2-1 in the third, Weiler locked up a cradle and turned Harris for four near fall, then locked up another cradle, triggering an eruption of the crowd of 2,085 with the fall at the 6:06 mark.

“We’re working on getting Chris bigger,” Santoro said. “He went through the same thing last year. He did a good job tonight of making adjustments. He couldn’t just dive in there on a leg. He won it on top and that’s where he’s good.”

Wood capped the dual by picking up five takedowns, including one late to secure a 12-4 major decision over Brady Daniel.

Lehigh has now won five straight duals against the Sun Devils to take a 6-2 lead in the all-time series.

The Mountain Hawks return to the mats on Sunday when they host No. 12 Virginia Tech with match time set for 2 p.m. from Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Tickets can be purchased online at LehighTickets.com or at the Grace Hall ticket office prior to the match.

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

Results:

125 – Brandon Courtney (ASU) dec. Luke Resnick (Lehigh) 3-2

133 – Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh) dec. Josh Kramer (ASU) 4-2

141 – Ryan Pomrinca (Lehigh) dec. Cory Crooks (ASU) 4-2

149 – Josh Maruca (ASU) dec. Cortlandt Schuyler (Lehigh) 7-2

157 – Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) dec. Christian Pagdilao (ASU) 6-1

165 – Josh Shields (ASU) dec. Gordon Wolf (Lehigh) 7-6

174 – Zahid Valencia (ASU) major dec. Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) 12-4

184 – Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) major dec. Jacen Petersen (ASU) 10-0

197 – Chris Weiler (Lehigh) Fall Austyn Harris (ASU) 6:06

285 – Jordan Wood (Lehigh) major dec. Brady Daniel (ASU) 12-4

Attendance – 2,085





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