By Maximillian C. Burgos
The Lions traveled to Doylestown, Pa., to wrestle Delaware Valley University on Friday, Feb. 10. The Lions won a tight 21-19 match. Senior Pat Schinder clinched the narrow victory with a winning decision.
The weekend was bittersweet as the Lions suffered a tough home loss against Messiah College, 37-6, on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The Lions were confident hitting the mat Friday night.
“We tied last year, winning on criteria,” head coach Joe Galante said. “We have some great matchups, and it should be another great match this year.”
Galante wasn’t wrong.
Delaware Valley University had a lot of ups and downs this season. Coming into Friday’s match, the Delvals were 8-8, having lost a close match to Camden County College on Feb. 4. Meanwhile, the Lions were coming off a tough loss to Wilkes University a week prior.
The Lions got off to a quick start with an opening victory from sophomore Luis Rivera. Afterwards, sophomore Ryan Erwin got a pin at 141. The win stretched the Lions advantage to 12-5.
After a close loss at the 157 bout, the Lions won two in a row thanks to sophomore Kyle McIntyre and senior Nick Herring at 165 and 174, respectively. With his victory, Herring extended his seasonal record to 19-1. Herring is also currently ranked No. 9 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association poll.
With a final win coming from Schinder, the Lions secured the victory, 21- 19. Overall, the Lions won five matches by decision. The win improved the Lions season record to 12-12, leading into Saturday’s home match against Messiah College.
The 16-3 Falcons came into Saturday off a flurry of victories. The day prior, the No. 8 Falcons beat Elizabethtown College, 29 -20, adding to their dominant 11 game winning streak. Before the match, three graduating seniors for the Lions were honored. Galante had faith in his wrestlers coming against the mighty Falcons.
“They are a great team,” Galante said. “Wrestling them gives us a chance to knock off a top tournament team. It gives us a chance to wrestle against highly seeded opponents. If we can catch them off guard, it can help us in future tournaments.”
Messiah College flew across the floor mat and overwhelmed the Lions. The Lions initially came out with a quick victory by Rivera. The Lions managed to tie the match with a hard fought victory from Erwin, and Erwin’s win was the last for the Lions. The team endured loss after loss, leading to a final score of 37-6. All the losses came at the hands of ranked Falcons wrestlers. The loss dropped the Lions season record to 12-13, marking Galante’s only losing season.
The Lions now look forward to the 2017 NCAA Eastern Regional Championships at Ferrum College and Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Va. The Championships are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. The top three finishers from each weight class in the tournament will automatically qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships.