BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In its final competition of the fall semester, No. 11 Lehigh captured the first seven bouts and won nine overall in a convincing 31-3 win over No. 24 Drexel Sunday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. The Mountain Hawks only posted two bonus point wins, but had a 21-3 edge in takedowns and prevailed in a number of tightly-contested battles to improve to 5-1 in duals and 3-0 against EIWA opponents.
Drexel falls to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in conference duals. The Mountain Hawks have now won all 17 all-time duals against Drexel and have outscored the Dragons 76-3 in the two most recent meetings.
"We wrestled well today," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "It was a good weekend for us as we get ready for finals. I saw some things we need to work on but it was a fun match. This is a good group. They want to score points. They're wrestling all three periods and that's what we're looking for."
The dual began at 141 with senior Randy Cruz bouncing back from his first loss of the season with a 6-0 decision over David Pearce. Cruz scored takedowns in each of the first two periods and finished with a 3:15 riding time advantage.
The second bout was one of two matching ranked wrestlers. Senior Laike Gardner came from behind with a nine point third period to defeat defending EIWA champion Matt Cimato. Gardner trailed 2-1 after two periods but followed a third period escape by taking Cimato down to his back for a six-point move to take the lead. He added a two point near fall to claim a 10-2 major decision, giving Lehigh a 7-0 lead.
"He just wrestles hard the whole time," Santoro said of Gardner. "It was great to see. I just love to watch him wrestle."
Freshman Kent Lane and junior Drew Longo totaled five takedowns between them and both Mountain Hawks secured a riding time point in back-to-back decisions at 157 and 165. Lane defeated Willie Davis 8-3, while Longo topped Austin Rose 6-3.
Sophomore Ryan Preisch closed the first half of the dual with a first period pin of Nick Elmer at 174. Preisch scored an early takedown then used a half nelson to secure the fall in just 1:03. The fall marked the first pin for Lehigh in a dual meet this season and gave the Mountain Hawks a 19-0 lead at intermission.
"He's getting a lot of confidence and wrestling really well," Santoro said of Preisch, who improved to 9-0 on the season. "Elmer's a good wrestler so that's a really good win for him."
At 184, freshman Kyle Gentile completed a 2-0 weekend with an 8-5 win over Alex DeCiantis. Senior Ben Haas then made it seven straight wins with a 4-1 decision over Josh Murphy at 197. Haas' bout did not feature a takedown but Haas scored a two point near fall in the second period and added a 1:32 riding time advantage.
Drexel picked up its only win at 285 as Joey Goodhart scored a takedown in sudden victory to upset Doug Vollaro 3-1.
Junior Darian Cruz put Lehigh back on the winning track, scoring four takedowns in a 10-5 decision over Zach Fuentes at 125.
The final bout of the dual matched No. 13 Kevin Devoy of Drexel and 14th-ranked sophomore Scott Parker. A tight battle was expected but Parker won the takedown battle 5-0 against the 2015 EIWA champion, scoring two in the first, one in the second and two in the third. A 2:17 riding time advantage made the final score 11-5 in Parker's favor.
"Devoy is very dangerous," Santoro said. "We lost to him a couple years ago in the EIWA finals with Mason Beckman so we know how good he is. Scott wrestled a really good tactical match. He wrestled with intensity and scored some points late which is always important."
After a break for final exams and the holidays, the Mountain Hawks will return to action at the Southern Scuffle, Jan. 1-2 in Chattanooga, Tenn.No. 11 Lehigh 31, No. 24 Drexel 3
141 – Randy Cruz (Lehigh) dec. David Pearce (Drexel) 6-0
149 – Laike Gardner (Lehigh) major dec. Matt Cimato (Drexel) 10-2
157 – Kent Lane (Lehigh) dec. Willie Davis (Drexel) 8-3
165 – Drew Longo (Lehigh) dec. Austin Rose (Drexel) 6-3
174 – Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) Fall Nick Elmer (Drexel) 1:03
184 – Kyle Gentile (Lehigh) dec. Alex DeCiantis (Drexel) 8-5
197 – Ben Haas (Lehigh) dec. Josh Murphy (Drexel) 4-1
285 – Joey Goodhart (Drexel) dec. Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) 3-1, sv
125 – Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Zack Fuentes (Drexel) 10-5
133 – Scott Parker (Lehigh) dec. Kevin Devoy (Drexel) 11-5
Attendance – 1,111
Officials – Scott Bricker and Rob Butka