The Lehigh wrestling team nearly swept Drexel University in its last match of 2016, winning handily 31-3 at Stabler Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The win puts Lehigh at a two-match winning streak since its loss to Penn State. Junior Drew Longo, the wrestler in the 165-weight class for the Mountain Hawks, won both his matches over the weekend giving him a record of 2-0 heading into the break.
“It feels good,” Longo said. “It would have been nice to have two shutouts, but what are you going to do, just got to fix little things. I think we all wrestled really well as a team, everybody worked hard. It felt good to get some wins here at Grace (Hall) for the fans.”
Senior Randy Cruz started things off well for Lehigh with a 6-0 victory over his opponent, giving him the win by decision. The match then heated up with senior Laike Gardner of the Mountain Hawks having a nine-point third period to win his match 10-2. The crowd was brought to its feet with each point scored by Gardner in his third period turnaround.
After Cruz’s and Gardner’s wins by decision and major decision respectively, the following matches almost all went in favor of the Mountain Hawks. Sophomore Ryan Preisch even won by pinfall at 1:03 in the first period of his contest.
The one fall to Drexel was at the 285-weight class when senior Doug Vollaro lost 3-1 in overtime to his Drexel opponent Joey Goodhart.
“Coming off of two wins in any sport is good moral for the team,” junior Darian Cruz said. “After this is Southern Scuffle, which is in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and that’s not until Jan. 1. Coming out with two wins is only good for Lehigh wrestling.”
Darian Cruz’s was the second to last match of the night, and he won his bout by decision 10-5 over his opponent Zack Fuentes.
That match was followed by one between No. 13 Kevin Devoy of Drexel and Lehigh’s No. 14 Scott Parker. Devoy was the 2015 EIWA champion, but Parker was able to take control of the bout winning by decision, 11-5.
Another win for Lehigh came from freshman Kyle Gentile, who has gained personal momentum from his 2-0 weekend with wins against both Princeton and Drexel.
“I’m just going to keep working hard in the room,” Gentile said. “(The Southern Scuffle) is going to be my first big college tournament, so that’s going to be interesting.”
After a long break the Mountain Hawks will return to action on Jan. 1-2 for the aforementioned Southern Scuffle held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while their next home match is against UPenn on Jan. 20.