It was Alumni Night for the wrestling squad, and to prepare for the highly anticipated match against No. 9 Wilkes University, the College pledged to crowd Packer Hall with hundreds of people. They did not disappoint, as over 700 fans came wearing their blue and gold colors.
“There was a lot of hype going in because we were trying to pack the gym with alumni and (other fans),” senior 184-pounder Brian Broderick said. “We knew Wilkes was a tough team, and in order to beat them, we were going to have to have a full 10-guy effort.”
While the Lions competed hard, the men fell short 19-13 after a tough battle against the Colonels.
“Going into it, we were prepared — our team was in good shape, but (Wilkes) just did a good job controlling the tempo and slowing us down, so credit to them,” Broderick said. “Wilkes is a good team, so it’s not like we lost to an un-ranked team or a team that no one has heard of before.”
The Colonels started the night off strong and built up a 13-4 lead with five more matches to go. Fortunately, the Lions were not deterred, as sophomore Antonio Mancella gave the men some momentum after an impressive 9-4 victory at 165 pounds.
The two senior All-Americans, Broderick and 174-pounder Zach Zotollo, followed afterward. Both were clutch, as they leveled the score at 13-13 with two matches to go.
“I would have liked to score more points than I did — I ended up with a three-point decision, but that’s all I was able to get at the time,” Broderick said. “I just go out there with the same mind set every match and (I hope) my individual score will contribute to the overall team score.”
Broderick did just that, but it was not enough, unfortunately, as the Lions fell in the final two matches.
“It’s tough being the heavyweight when the matches are close and the final match comes down to the final performance,” Broderick said. “It’s tough to be in that situation.”
While the Lions didn’t get the outcome they had wanted, there is now time to regroup and focus on the final two matches of the season.
“I know both are tough opponents and I am pretty sure they are both ranked, but it doesn’t really matter much, though, because we need to have another 10-guy effort at home,” Broderick said. “We just need to take one match at a time and even though they’re back-to-back, we just have to focus on Delaware Valley for now.”
Broderick is looking to set a milestone against Delaware Valley this week by joining the 100-win club.
“I am just going to go out there like it is any other match, and I am sure I will forget all about that 100-win hype once I step on the mat,” Broderick said.
When asked about achieving this milestone, the senior answered, “It is really not where you start, but where you finish. I would rather have a better finish at nationals than have 100 wins, but if they both happen then that would be even better.”