Wrestling Foiled by No. 20 Lehigh, 26-17

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A wild Mountain Hawks comeback spoiled an early Bears lead as the Brown wrestling team fell to No. 20 Lehigh, 26-17, in EIWA dual meet action at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Saturday. Lehigh improves to 9-6 overall while the Bears move to 3-10 on the season.

The meet was the final regular season outing at the Pizzitola Sports Center for seven Brown seniors: captain Cortlandt Choate (Orwigsburg, Pa.), CJ Howard (Pittsford, N.Y.), Patrick Labuz (Drums, Pa.), Giuseppi Lanzi (Amsterdam, N.Y.), Philip Marano (Northampton, Pa.), Vincent Moita (Clayton, Calif.) and Brandon Vorrius (Monmouth, N.J.).

After drawing to start the meet with the 157-pound weight class, Brown sped out to an 11-3 lead. Choate stormed out of the gate with a takedown and three point near fall, holding a 5-1 lead into the third period. The senior captain's defensive approach led to a pair of stalling points for Mike Stepian of Lehigh, but Choate outlasted his opponent in a frantic 6-4 decision.

Marano showed relentless endurance in a 5-4 win at 165, using two reversals to force a 4-4 tie late in the third. With riding time in his favor, Marano clung to Ben Haas' boot for dear life to avoid a Lehigh escape and secure the winning point as time expired.

Elliot Riddick used a late escape and countered an attempted takedown with a shot of his own to defeat junior captain Ricky McDonald (Carson City, Nev.), 5-2, at 174, getting Lehigh on the board, 6-3, heading into 184. Junior captain Ophir Bernstein (Allen, Texas) extended Brown's lead to 11-3 with a 19-2 tech fall over Zach Diekel, using a two-point near fall to end the match at 6:55.

Sophomore Augustus Marker (Castle Rock, Colo.) and John Bolich battled back and forth in the 197-pound opening period. A takedown and escape for Bolich gave him a 3-2 lead despite Marker's reversal, and the Brown sophomore nearly pinned Bolich from bottom before Lehigh's wrestler rolled out just before his second shoulder hit the mat. A late escape set up Bolich to outlast Marker in the third and prevail, 6-3.

The true turning point of the meet came when Doug Vollaro muscled out a fall over freshman Ryder Cavey (Eldersburg, Md.) in 2:32 to help the Mountain Hawks jump ahead, 12-11. Cavey shot early but fell out of position, battling valiantly against the fall before Vollaro finally dropped the second shoulder.

At 125, Moita used two escapes to avoid the shutout but Darian Cruz shot for a double and a takedown to earn the major decision, 10-2. Mason Beckman recorded a fall over sophomore Anthony Finocchiaro (Canastota, N.Y.) 53 seconds into the third period of the 133 bout, and Lehigh's Laike Gardener's major decision at 141 put the visitors head 26-11. Freshman Steven Galiardo (Chicago, Ill.) grabbed six points when William Switzer surrendered due to injury in 6:37 in the 149 bout.

The Bears wrap up dual meet season tomorrow when they travel to Columbia. Opening bout is slated for 3 p.m.

Results

Lehigh 26, Brown 17

125: Darian Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. Vincent Moita (Brown), 10-2
133: Mason Beckman (Lehigh) fall Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown), 6:53
141: Laike Gardener (Lehigh) major dec. Zachary Tanenbaum (Brown), 13-3
149: Steven Galiardo (Brown) won by injury default William Switzer (Lehigh), 6:37
157: Cortlandt Choate (Brown) dec. Mike Stepian (Lehigh), 6-4
165: Philip Marano (Brown) dec. Ben Haas (Lehigh), 5-4
174: Elliot Riddick (Lehigh) dec. Ricky McDonald (Brown), 5-2
184: Ophir Bernstein (Brown) tech. fall Zach Diekel (Lehigh), 19-2 (6:50)
197: John Bolich (Lehigh) dec. Augustus Marker (Brown), 6-3
285: Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) fall Ryder Cavey (Brown), 2:32