Tonight the Big Red of Cornell come down to Philly to match up with the Drexel Dragons. Drexel Coach Matt Azevedo coached at Cornell under Coach Rob Koll prior to becoming the Drexel Head Coach. Over the last 7 seasons the Drexel staff have steadily improved. They knocked off #16 Rider last Sunday and lost on criteria to Lehigh earlier in the season. Cornell finished lower than usual last year and the staff has built up the young team to the brink of top 10 this season.
125lbs: #38 Noah Baughman (CU) vs. #37 Zack Fuentes (DU). These guys are evenly matched. Neither guy has a signature win this season. Will the travel affect Baughman? I think this comes down to who wants it more. Toss up. To make the dual close Drexel needs this match. Slight edge to Fuentes.
133lbs: #40 Chaz Tucker (CU) vs. #5 Austin DeSanto (DU). If Tucker can’t control the tie up this match could get away from him quickly. Anthony Cefolo was able to slow down DeSanto by controlling the tie up and moving DeSantos’ head out of position, this is no easy task and may only slow him down. Tucker doesn’t have a signature win this season while true Freshman DeSanto has a few. His tech fall over Stevan Micic might be the most stunning. I’ll take DeSanto with the major.
141lbs: #4 Yianni Diakomihalis (CU) vs. Julian Flores (DU)
Much like DeSanto, Yianni D has put 141 on notice, just because I’m a freshman you better not over look me this March. Yianni has a number of signature wins, while Flores hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 50. Look for Diakomihalis to push for bonus points. I don’t think that Flores has an answer for his leg attacks and scrambles. I’ll take Diakomihalis with the tech.
149lbs: #22 Will Koll (CU) vs. #30 Trevor Elfvin or Evan Barczak (DU). Elfvin has better wins than Koll this season but Koll has better consistency than both Drexel freshmen. Drexel wrestled Barczak versus Rider. So while Koll comes in as a slight rankings favorite there is one question I have about either match up. In years past Koll has struggled to create his own points. He can counter and scramble with anyone ranked above #15. Will DU game plan for this? I’ll take Koll by a regular decision.
157lbs: #40 Freddy Stroker (CU) vs #15 Garett Hammond (DU). While Hammond comes in with a much higher ranking, Stroker beat him in sudden victory a month ago. Hammond has been more consistent during the season but will he be able to get to his attacks versus Stroker? Stroker can get a little sloppy with his technique and I think that Hammond can take advantage of this. I’ll take Hammond with a regular decision.
165lbs: #30 Jonathon Chavez (CU) vs. #35 Ebed Jarrell (DU). Chavez has a slight edge based on results. Jarrell has some good angles of attack but doesn’t always get to them. The crowd at the DAC is gonna need to get loud to propel Jarrell if Drexel wants to keep the match close
174lbs: #13 Brandon Womack (CU) vs. #30 Austin Rose (DU). Womack is the returning EIWA champ is having a good but inconsistent season, taking some strange losses. Rose is just coming off a 4 match-loosing streak with a close but solid win versus Rider. Does that boost his confidence? Womack has the clear advantage, will the atmosphere affect him? Womack by a major.
184lbs: #15 Max Dean (CU) vs. #35 Alex DeCiantis (DU). I haven’t seen Dean wrestle this year but last he looked similar to his brother from neutral. I’m not sure if DeCiantis will be able to stay in good enough position to hold off the Dean attacks. Last year Dean, like many freshman, hadn’t quite figured out the bottom position against tough D1 competition. Can DeCiantis take advantage? Edge Dean
197lbs: #10 Ben Darmstadt (CU) vs. #15 Steve Loiseau (DU). This should be a good match up. Darmstadt is having a really good season knocking off a couple of top 10 guys earlier in the season. Loiseau is also having a strong season but hasn’t been able to break through with a top 10 win. Loiseau has wrestled a tougher schedule and might have a slight edge form that experience. I also think that he wrestles with a bit more doubt than Darmstadt. Darmstadt will also have a slight size advantage. Toss up.
285lbs: #25 Ben Honis (CU) vs. #50 O’Malley/ Pelusi (DU). Honis has an advantage in skills over both Drexel guys. O’Malley could ride a wave of confidence and make this a last points scored wins kind of match. Will the atmosphere help drive the Drexel wrestler to an upset?