BETHLEHEM — After opening the dual season with a criteria victory over No. 4 Oklahoma State, two more top 15 opponents await the Mountain Hawks this weekend. No. 7 Lehigh heads to Princeton on Saturday to face the 14th-ranked Tigers before returning home to battle No. 12 Pittsburgh on Sunday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Major decision victories from sophomore Josh Humphreys and senior Jordan Kutler helped Lehigh build a 58-48 edge in total match points, which proved to be the deciding criteria. Lehigh heads to Princeton looking to avenge its first loss to the Tigers in 50 years last year. The Mountain Hawks then resume their cross-state rivalry with Pitt following a one-year hiatus.
Lehigh’s dual meet schedule features nine teams currently ranked in the NWCA top 25, including both of this weekend’s opponents. Seven of Lehigh’s first nine duals will be against nationally-ranked opposition.
Six Mountain Hawks appear in the latest InterMat rankings, led by senior Jordan Kutler, who is ranked second at 174. Lehigh also has six wrestlers ranked by FloWrestling and Amateur Wrestling News and has five ranked by The Open Mat. In addition to Kutler, Brandon Paetzell (125), Nick Farro (133), Josh Humphreys (157) and Jordan Wood (285) are ranked across the board by all four outlets. Junior Jake Jakobsen (197) is ranked by two and sophomore Jimmy Hoffman (149) is ranked by one.
Princeton opens its dual meet season when Lehigh visits on Saturday. The Tigers hosted the Princeton Open earlier this month, with Patrick Glory (125) and Mike D’Angelo (149) winning titles. The Tigers have continued their recent resurgence with a 9-6 dual record last year, a third place EIWA finish, and a 15th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Princeton had three All-Americans last year. Patrick Brucki is ranked second by InterMat at 197. Glory is ranked fifth at 125. Matthew Kolodzik is taking an Olympic deferral year, but D’Angelo is ranked 12th at 149. The fourth ranked Tiger is Quincy Monday, who is ranked ninth at 157. Monday lost to Josh Humphreys twice last year, but beat Humphreys in the semifinals of the Princeton Open.
When Lehigh meets Princeton, the Mountain Hawks will get re-acquainted with Tiger head coach Chris Ayres ‘99, a former EIWA Champion, All-American and assistant coach at Lehigh. Ayres, wrestled for the Brown and White from 1995-1999 and coached on Greg Strobel’s staff for five seasons, before moving on to Princeton. He won an EIWA title at 150 in 1998 and earned All-American honors with a sixth place finish at 157 in 1999. Ayres wrestled under and then coached alongside Pat Santoro and succeeded him as Lehigh’s Harmon-Rauch Assistant Coach in 2003.
Pittsburgh carries a 1-1 dual record into Sunday’s dual with the Mountain Hawks. The Panthers opened their season at the Michigan State Open, with Cole Matthews (141), Micky Philippi (133) and Nino Bonaccorsi (184) winning titles. Pitt then split a pair of home duals, beating Campbell 28-6 on Nov. 9 and falling to then-No. 3 Ohio State 23-12 on Nov. 15. Six Panthers appear in the latest InterMat rankings, led by Philippi, who is fourth at 133. Bonaccorsi and heavyweight Demetrius Thomas are also ranked in the top 10 in their respective weight classes. Other ranked Panthers include Matthews, Taleb Rahmani (157) and Jake Wentzel (165). Keith Gavin is in his third season as head coach at his alma mater.
Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro wrestled for the Panthers from 1985-1989, under the guidance of the late Rande Stottlemyer, who retired following the 2012-13 season. Pittsburgh’s only four-time All-American, Santoro amassed a 167-13 record in four seasons for the Panthers, and won national titles at 142 in 1988 and 1989. A three-time EWL Champion, Santoro is also the Panthers’ career leader with 43 falls and posted an incredible 97-3 record over his final two seasons. Pittsburgh assistant coach Drew Headlee returned to his alma mater in 2014 after two seasons as Lehigh’s volunteer assistant coach. Third-year Panthers head coach Keith Gavin is also a Pitt graduate. After graduation, Gavin trained and competed in freestyle with the Lehigh Valley Athletic Club (now Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club) before moving on to coaching positions at Virginia and Oklahoma.
Princeton and Pittsburgh are two of Lehigh’s oldest rivals as they rank seventh and sixth, respectively, on Lehigh’s most-often wrestled opponent list. Last year’s Princeton win at Grace Hall snapped a 14-dual winning streak for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh has won its last four duals against Pittsburgh. The Mountain Hawks are 6-1 against Princeton under Pat Santoro. Santoro is 9-2 in duals against his alma mater.
Saturday’s dual versus Princeton begins at 5 p.m. from Jadwin Gym in New Jersey. The dual will be streamed on ESPN+ (subscription required). Sunday’s Lehigh-Pitt match begins at 2 p.m. from Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall.
Bloomsburg women’s soccer to face Millersville in NCAAsBLOOMSBURG — The No. 6-ranked Bloomsburg University women’s soccer team claimed the top seed in the Atlantic Region and the hosting rights for the first two rounds of the 2019 NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championships. Bloomsburg will host No. 4 Millersville. The Huskies had a bye through the first round and the Marauders defeated East Stroudsburg in their opening round game. The Huskies and Marauders will square off on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Huskies lead the all-time series 24-5-5, including a pair of wins during the 2019 regular season. In fact, in the last 13 meetings between the two teams, Bloomsburg holds a 10-2-1, advantage. At home, the Huskies are 5-0-2 against the Marauders since 2009. In their last meeting. Bloomsburg came away with a 2-0 win on November 9 at Steph Pettit Stadium.
The Huskies come into Saturday’s game with a 16-2-1 overall record after falling in double overtime to West Chester in the conference quarterfinals. Bloomsburg grabbed the top seed in the Atlantic Region after putting together an impressive season. The Huskies are one win away from tying the program’s single-season win record. One of the leaders for the Huskies this year is sophomore Nicole Varano, a graduate of Mount Carmel High School, who has nine goals and an assist tis year. Five of Varano’s goals have gone for the game-winner.
As a team, 14 Huskies have found the back of the net this year while 17 have registered at least one point. Bloomsburg has out-scored its opponents 47-7 on the year and out-shot them 380-155. The Bloomsburg defense has been one of the best in the country with a .321 goals against average, third in the nation. Leading that defense has been redshirt junior Jenna Hawkins. Hawkins has started and played in every game for the Huskies in goal and has an impressive 0.37 GAA for the season, fourth lowest in NCAA DII. Earlier this season, Hawkins became the all-time shutout leader at Bloomsburg with 30 after posting 11 so far this season. She was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Defensive Player of the year.
Millersville is coming off a 3-1 win over East Stroudsburg in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The Marauders earned the No. 4 seed in the region after bowing out of the PSAC tournament with a 1-0 overtime loss to ESU in the first round match up. The Marauders are currently 15-4-1 on the year and are 1-2 in the last three games.