Jan. 17, 2014
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The Navy wrestling team (2-1) suffered its first blemish of the season, as 21st-ranked Lehigh (6-4) captured a 26-6 victory over the Mids Friday evening at Grace Hall in Bethlehem, Pa. Not only was it the Mountain Hawks’ ninth consecutive victory over Navy on their home mat, the Lehigh win also evened the series for the first time (47-47) since the rivarly began in 1910.
Navy has struggled in its matches held in Bethlehem, coming out on top in just 10 of the 36 matches. While Navy’s last win in Bethlehem came in 1995, the Mids have been held to single digits in five matches during the nine-match winning streak by the Mountain Hawks on their home mat.
“Lehigh wrestled tough and was sound across the board. We were outhustled and outworked at a lot of positions tonight,” said Navy interim head coach Brian Antonelli. “We finished a lot of periods on the bottom and that’s not where we should be if we are going to win matches.
“We’ve had some great performances this year, but then we’ve had some like tonight. We have to become a more consistent team and tomorrow we will get back on the mat to work towards that goal.”
Navy opened the match on a high note as junior Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) produced his team-best 19th win of the year behind a 9-5 victory over Lehigh sophomore Ben Haas at 165 pounds. The returning NCAA qualifier is now 3-0 this season in dual action and 12-4 over his three-year career.
The Mountain Hawks tied the match with 16th-ranked Elliott Riddick upsetting 11th-ranked Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.) of Navy, 2-1. Riddick scored a takedown at the tail-end of the second period and took the lead and then chose the neutral position to secure the win.
“Matt is an offensive-minded wrestler, but he just didn’t shoot in tonight’s match,” said Antonelli. “Riddick really wrestled a smart match, but you can’t win a match if you aren’t aggressive in this sport.”
Lehigh took its first lead in the match after redshirt freshman 184-pound Zach Diekel scored a 6-4 win over Navy captain James Mannier (Troy, Ohio), 6-4. Mannier was able to score a handful of takedowns, but faded in the final period and Diekel took advantage.
Navy junior 197-pound Paul Rands (Cary, Ill.) put together one of the best matches of his career in a 7-1 victory over Lehigh redshirt sophomore John Bolich. Rands dominated the match from the opening whistle en route to picking up his second dual win of the year.
Lehigh answered and took the lead for good when redshirt freshman Max Wessell dealt Navy junior Colynn Cook (Murrysville, Pa.) a loss by way of a 19-6 major decision.
The Wessell victory was the first of six straight wins by the Mountain Hawks which featured wins by nationally-ranked wrestlers at 133, 141, 149 and 157 pounds. Among those matches, the 157-pound match was the most competitve. Navy senior Zach Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.) found himself down 6-2 early in the senior period, but fought is way back in the final stanza. Johnson scored a takedown late in the second period to get within a point at 6-5 and then a reversal to begin the third period gave him a 7-6 advantage over eighth-ranked Joey Napoli. Napoli was able to tie the match with an escape before scoring the go-ahead takedown with under 20 seconds to go in the match to earn the 10-7 win (with riding time).
Navy’s weekend of competition will continue on Sunday when the Mids compete at the Shorty Hitchcock Open in Millersville, Pa.
Lehigh 26, Navy 6
165 – Peyton Walsh (Navy) dec. Ben Haas (Lehigh) 9-5
174 – #16 Elliot Riddick (Lehigh) dec. #11 Mathew Miller (Navy) 2-1
184 – Zach Diekel (Lehigh) dec. James Mannier (Navy) 6-4
197 – Paul Rands (Navy) dec. John Bolich (Lehigh) 7-1
285 – Max Wessell (Lehigh) major dec. Colynn Cook (Navy) 19-6
125 – Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Brenden Campbell (Navy) 8-3
133 – #8 Mason Beckman (Lehigh) major dec. Colton Rasche (Navy) 8-0
141 – #18 Laike Gardner (Lehigh) dec. Joe Locksmith (Navy) 9-3
149 – #12 Mitch Minotti (Lehigh) dec. Ray Borja (Navy) 7-5
157 – #8 Joey Napoli (Lehigh) dec. Zach Johnson (Navy) 10-7
Attendance – 1,676
### Go Navy ###