Pete Yozzo, ’87, is one of Lehigh’s most accomplished wrestlers. A three-time national champion and EIWA conference champion, Yozzo cemented his name in the historic wrestling program’s legacy. On Sunday afternoon in Grace Hall, Yozzo was honored before the match.
In a clash of nationally-ranked wrestling programs, No. 10 Lehigh dismantled No. 4 University of Michigan by a score of 27-8.
After the match, Yozzo approached Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro and said it was one of the best matches he’d ever seen by Lehigh wrestling.
The Mountain Hawks (4-0) tallied eight victories over the Wolverines (2-1). Michigan came into the match with seven top ten ranked wrestlers. Three of those wrestlers were knocked off on Sunday. The talented line-up was without No. 2 Stevan Micic and No. 6 Kevin Beazley, but saw No. 8 Alec Pantaleo, No. 4 Myles Amine, and No. 5 Domenic Abounader take losses.
In the first upset of the afternoon, junior Ian Brown upset Pantaleo with an upper body throw for six points that sent a sold out crowd in “The Snakepit” to its feet. His victory was the fifth in a row as Lehigh went up 18-0 on Michigan behind wins from returning national champion Darian Cruz, Scott Parker, Luke Karam, and Cortlandt Schuyler. Parker scored bonus points with a pin in 5:33.
With Micic out of the lineup, Parker handled Michigan’s back up Mike Volyanyuk. His third period cradle gave Lehigh a 9-0 lead.
“I was looking forward to wrestling Micic, but obviously didn’t happen. The team needed me to step up and get bonus points, and I did.” said Parker. “We haven’t had a big win like this in a while, so it felt good to do in front of our home fans.”
Santoro knew a red-hot start would be necessary if his team was going to take down the fourth-ranked team in the country.
“We knew those first five matches were going to be crucial. To win all of them, it was a great way to start the dual,” Santoro said. “Ian beating a returning All-American was really big for us. He was kind of down after the loss Friday night, but he came into today with a positive attitude and performed.”
Brown wasn’t the only one to deliver for the Mountain Hawks. Jordan Kutler and Ryan Preisch both provided come from behind upsets between highly ranked wrestlers. Kutler, a sophomore at 174 pounds and ranked ninth in the country, defeated fourth-ranked Myles Amine. Amine scored the first takedown, and was up 3-2 with a minute left when Kutler took him down and locked up riding time before Amine escaped. Kutler’s 5-4 decision put Lehigh up 21-5.
Lehigh junior Ryan Preisch followed up at 184 pounds with a win over senior Domenic Abounader in dramatic fashion. The match was tied 1-1 with 20 seconds remaining when Preisch made his winning move. He worked a leg attack to a takedown and won the bout 3-1 sending Grace Hall into bedlam. Preisch’s win put the team score to 24-5 which locked up the victory for the Mountain Hawks.
Jake Jakobsen carried his momentum from Friday night into Sunday. The freshman rode out a 2-0 victory over Michigan’s Jackson Striggow, who was filling in for No. 6 Kevin Beazley.
Michigan’s two wins on the day came from a dominant performance by sophomore and third-ranked Logan Massa. He defeated Cole Walter by 18-2 technical fall at 165 pounds. In the last match of the dual, senior and second-ranked Adam Coon beat No. 13 Jordan Wood by 6-2 decision to bring the final score to 27-8.