PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The 11th-ranked Lehigh wrestling team claimed eight out of 10 bouts from No. 21 Pittsburgh and handed the Panthers their first loss of the season, 28-8 Friday night at Fitzgerald Field House. The Mountain Hawks are now 2-0 dual matches as they picked up their first road win of the season, while Pitt is now 3-1 on the season.
"We beat a very good team and we were winning matches, but I thought our performances could have been better," said head coach Pat Santoro. "I think training leading up to the match caused the guys to be sluggish. We are going to adjust how we train moving forward on road trips to ensure that the guys fresh for competition."
Pitt's LJ Bentley scored the first points of the 125 bout with a takedown in the first 30 seconds, but junior Darian Cruz scored a reversal and then piled up four near fall points in first period. Cruz then tacked on four more near fall points within the final two minutes of the first period. After a scoreless second period, Cruz remained defensive throughout third period to protect his lead and held on for 10-2 major decision to put Lehigh on top through the first bout.
Eighth-ranked Dom Forys of Pitt scored a takedown for first points of the 133 bout, but sophomore Scott Parker countered back quickly with an escape. Forys scored an escape after starting in the down position to start second period, but then Parker recorded a takedown. Forys escaped out to go ahead 4-3 and then scored another takedown with 30 seconds left in the second period to take 6-3 lead heading into final period. Parker scored an escape to start the third period. Forys then scored a critical takedown with under 40 seconds left in the bout to go ahead 8-4 and held on to win 9-4 with the riding time advantage.
Senior Randy Cruz tallied the first points of his match against Robert Lee at 141 with a takedown with just over one minute left in the first period. Cruz started in the down position to start the second period and scored an escape as he fought off multiple near takedowns. Cruz protected his lead in the third period and grinding out a 3-0 victory.
The 149 bout began with a takedown by Pitt's Mikey Racciato with 40 seconds left in first period. Laike Gardner managed to cut into lead with an escape and trailed 2-1 heading into the second period. Gardner chose bottom position to start the second and went to work with an escape to go with a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the period. Racciato scored a late reversal, but Gardner escaped to take a 5-4 lead into the final period. Gardner then recorded an early takedown in the third and rode out the rest of the period to an 8-4 decision with 2:42 in riding time.
At 157, freshman Jordan Kutler notched the first points of the bout against Jake Wentzel with a takedown with just over one minute left in first period. Kutler racked up over a minute of riding time in first period. Kutler fought through two near takedowns to start second period and scored an escape to go ahead 3-0. Wentzel escaped for the only points of the final period but riding time gave Kutler a 4-1 victory and Lehigh a 13-3 lead at the halfway points.
Pitt's Te'Shaun Campbell came storming out of the gates with a takedown and four near fall points within first 30 seconds against junior Drew Longo in the 165 bout. Campbell then added on four more near fall points before the end of the first minute of the opening period. Longo tallied an escape in the final minute of opening period, but Campbell countered with another takedown and four near fall points to record the 16-1 technical fall victory at 2:44.
At 174, sophomore Ryan Preisch scored a late takedown over Christian Dietrich after slow start to the first period. Preisch then scored a critical takedown with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second period to hold a 5-0 lead through two periods. Preisch remained on the offensive in the third and picked up another takedown and tacked on four near fall points as his riding time exceeded one minute. Preisch would get the bonus point and claimed the first of three straight major decisions by Lehigh with a 12-0 victory.
Freshman Kyle Gentile claimed the first points of his bout with a takedown after a 1:30 scramble with Mat Carr in the 184 bout. Gentile finished the first period with 1:34 in riding time. He would then tack on an early point in the second period with an escape. Gentile extended his lead to 5-0 with a takedown in the final minute of the period and bumped his riding time to over two minutes. Gentile allowed a strategic escape point in the third period to then score his third takedown of the bout. Gentile finished with 3:08 in riding time on his way to the 10-2 major decision victory.
After a scoreless first period at 197, senior Ben Haas chose bottom to start the second period and then and intense scramble ensued, but was ultimately blown dead due dangerous positioning. Haas kept up the pressure and scored a reversal against Zach Bruce, combined with two near fall points. He then tacked on four more near fall points late in the period to take 8-0 lead into third. Haas closed out the third period by racking up over a minute of riding time to earn the bonus point and claim the 9-0 major decision.
The dual concluded with a battle of ranked heavyweights as No. 14 Ryan Solomon of Pitt faced 11th-ranked senior Doug Vollaro. After scoreless first period, Solomon scored the first points of the bout with an escape. Vollaro returned the favor as scored an escape of his own to start the third period. Vollaro nearly had a takedown as time expired in third period, but then got his takedown off a counter in the overtime period to win the bout 3-1 and lock up the dual victory for Lehigh.
The Mountain Hawks will return to the mat on Saturday with a trip to Edinboro for a 3 p.m. dual with the Fighting Scots.
No. 11 Lehigh 28, No. 21 Pitt 8
125: Darian Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. LJ Bentley (Pitt) 10-2
133: Dom Forys (Pitt) dec. Scott Parker (Lehigh) 9-4
141: Randy Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Robert Lee (Pitt) 3-0
149: Laike Gardner (Lehigh) dec. Mike Racciato (Pitt) 8-4
157: Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) dec. Jake Wentzel (Pitt) 4-1
165: Te'Shaun Campbell (Pitt) tech. fall Drew Longo (Lehigh) 16-1 (2:44)
174: Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) major dec. Christian Dietrich (Pitt) 12-0
184: Kyle Gentile (Lehigh) major dec. Matt Carr (Pitt) 10-2
197: Ben Haas (Lehigh) major dec. Zach Bruce (Pitt) 9-0
285: Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) dec. Ryan Solomon (Pitt) 3-1, sv