I’ve shaken my magic 8 ball while asking “who’s going to win this one?” but it keeps saying, “ask someone smarter than you”. Didn’t know that was an option…anyway maybe one of you out there can help in the comments with some predictions. It’s hard to easily see how this dual will play out with so many possible changes to each teams starting line up . Lehigh will try to bounce back from a stiff loss in State College on Sunday. Princeton will try to bounce back from an unexpected loss to Drexel. Princeton’s Coach Ayres, a Lehigh alum, brings his best Tigers team into Grace Hall Friday night. The match ups at 141 and 174 should be worth the price of admission. Will Jordan Kutler be back in the Mountain Hawks lineup? Coach Santoro told the press that he had the flu. Will he be recovered? How will his cardio bounce back? Another big question: will Mitch Minotti take the mat? If he does the final margin of victory could double.
At first glance Lehigh looks to have more talent and should win more matches but how do bonus points affect the score? If Kutler and Minotti are out of the line up things will get much more competitive.
157 through 74 will decide the match and if things go Princeton’s way they might need bonus from All American Harner at 97 for the team victory. Harner usually comes out strong in the first period but fades in intensity, seemingly missing lots of bonus points along the way.
125lbs: Ty Agaisse (P) vs. #5 Darian Cruz (L). Agaisse is getting better but not nearly at the level of Cruz especially from neutral. Cruz wants to get back on track after the Suriano match. Agaisse lifts his chest up during transitions in neutral and that is tailor made for Cruz’s knee level shots. Can Cruz be aggressive and get a major? I think so.
133lbs: Pat D’Arcy (P) vs. # 12 Scott Parker (L). Parker, on paper, has a bit of point separation with common opponents. That usually means very little. Parker is coming off a really good match against Jered Cortez. His confidence should be high. D’Arcy’s length might slow Parker down initially and give him some challenges finishing shots early in the match. I think that Parker will figure out the quick outside circle finish is hard for D’Arcy to stop. Parker by major decision.
141lbs: #5 Matthew Kolodzik (P) vs. #3 Randy Cruz (L). This might be the marquee match up of the night. Kolodzik has had a great start to the season as a freshman. He’s already knocked off Anthony Ashnualt in a close match at Battle at the Birthplace. I like both guys for different reasons. I like Kolodzik’s style of attacks, attack angles, level changes, positions and mental approach. I can’t relate to Cruz from neutral. His counters are slow to my eye but super effective. Just ask Jimmy Gulibon. From top he is a hammer. Does Kolodzik go underneath? I think so. I think that he’ll base until he catches Cruz slightly off balance trying to put legs in and then explode for 1 or 2. I think that Kolodzik shows that he’s ready for high AA consideration by figuring out how to finish on Cruz from neutral and getting out from underneath.
149lbs: #18 Jordan Laster (P) vs. #9 Laike Gardner. How does Gardner rebound from his pin loss with Retherford? Laster can be excellent with leg attacks from space but can struggle wrestling through position on the mat. I think that Gardner may give up the first takedown but will roll from there. I’m not sure that Laster has the tank and mind set to hang with Gardner. Gardner by regular decision.
157lbs: Mike D’Angelo (P) vs. #12 Jordan Kutler or Kent Lane (L). I’ve been high on Kutler all season but he was out of the lineup versus Penn State on Sunday. I think that Kutler’s mental game is top notch. I’ll take Kutler and his near wrist game for the tech fall. I think that D’Angelo and Lane is a toss up.
165lbs: Joe Tavoso(P) vs Drew Longo or #8 Mitch Minotti (L). If Minotti wrestles I think that he dominates Tavoso. Minotti is more polished all around than Tavoso. That said if Minotti doesn’t go I think that Tavoso has the edge on Longo.
174lbs: #17 Jon Schleifer (P) vs. #12 Ryan Preisch (L). This is my co main event. Preisch had a nice win at Penn State over Sahk Rasheed. He had a good game plan and wrestled for the entire match. I’m giving Preisch the edge in all areas but it should still be competitive. Preisch by 5.
184lbs: #18 Ian Baker (P) vs. Kyle Gentile (L). I think that Baker will be back in the lineup. Neither guy is super physical from neutral here but Baker is a tough guy from the top. Can he get on top of Gentile during the first period? Will Gentile take bottom if he has choice? Either way I think that Baker will win close or get a fall.
197 #8 Brett Harner (P) vs. Ben Haas (L). Haas is coming off a match at PSU in which he didn’t look like he wanted to wrestle for 7 minutes. Haas isn’t the biggest 97lber. Harner is strong, especially for the first 90 seconds. Then he seems to fade. If Princeton wants a chance at a victory Harner needs bonus points and as I’ve written before I don’t think that Harner is interested in bonus points. I look at anything less than a major decision by Harner being unhelpful in his pursuit of being a two time All American. Harner by Major.
285 #18 Ray O’Donnell (P) vs. #12 Doug Vollaro (L). The night will finish up with a couple ranked heavy weights. Vollaro beat O’Donnell 3-1. The last time they faced each other. How does Vollaro respond to his loss to Nevills on Sunday? O’Donnell didn’t seem to have the intensity or gas tank that he needed at Grapple at the Garden, does he have it now? Both guys seemed content to settle things in SV last match. Does someone have the confidence to get it done or die trying in regulation? Vollaro by a takedown.