The Matchup: #20 Ryan Patrovich (HU) vs. Bryan Panzano (Harvard)
Synopsis: 165 may be a spot where the Pride is able to recover a few of the bonus points that they surrendered at the two previous weights. After spending a week or two out of the top-20, RS sophomore, Ryan Patrovich is back where he belongs. I suppose it is no coincidence that Patch’s return to the top-20 occurred a few days removed from him posting perhaps the most significant win of his young collegiate career, 3-2 over Edinboro’s Jarrod King, a wrestler who have given Patrovich trouble in the past. The former 2x NYS Champion would complete the double-play with an 8-3 win over Buffalo’s Ron Majerus a day later. Always difficult to score on, if Patrovich goes out early and look for his offense, I think his chances of posting at least a major decision against one of two possible opponents…..165 has been a weak spot for Harvard. Rotating between Michael Sadler (1-15) and Bryan Panzano (2-12), the Crimson have found themselves on the wrong end of a lot of bouts at this weight. Most recently, Panzano dropped a 15-6 MD to Brown’s Jeff Lemmer, a wrestler that does not possess the same quality resume that does the Pride’s Patrovich.
Prediction: Patrovich Wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 13-12 Hofstra
Result: Patrovich (HU) MD Sadler (Harvard), 17-6
The Matchup: #10 Alton Lucas (HU) vs. Andy Olsen (Harvard)
Synopsis: 174 is another weight class where the Crimson will have two options. Between Andy Olsen (3-1) and Patrick Ziemnik (3-8), I went with Olsen only because of his 2-0 record last week against opponents from Wagner and Brown. In all sports, you must go with the hot hand, and in this case, that hand seems to belong to the sophomore out of the state of Georgia….Alton Lucas too went undefeated last weekend, including a 16-4 MD against Edinboro’s John Foley. The effort against Foley only proved what Pride fans have felt all along about the senior from West Babylon, that when Alton goes out hungry and looking to light up the scoreboard, there are few opponents that are going to be able to contain his explosiveness. The best thing about March wrestling is that it has the ability to erase everything that you have done in the past. If Lucas commits himself to going hard for a full seven minutes in every match from here on out, there is no reason why he cannot contend for National title honors. He remains one of the most naturally gifted athletes I’ve ever met. He just needs to put it all together. When he does, he, along with all Pride enthusiasts, will see just how special a wrestler he is….Against a lesser experienced opponent, I say that Lucas has his way early, threatens bonus points, but ends up settling for a 8-2, 9-3 type decision. Much like his match against Buffalo’s Nate Rock (admittedly a very solid opponent), I believe that Alton has the potential to determine his own fate in this bout. If he wants bonus points, he possesses the talent to out and earn them.
Prediction: Alton Wins by Decision
Projected Team Score: 16-12 Hofstra
Result: Lucas (HU) Dec Olsen (Harvard), 7-3
The Matchup: Ben Clymer (HU) vs. #10 Louis Caputo (Harvard)
Synopsis: After dropping the last three in a row, Harvard should return to their winning ways at 184 behind the leadership of Louis Caputo. Sporting a 24-4 record, Caputo has been nothing short of a remarkable leader for the Crimson the past three years. An All-American two years ago, the Missouri native looked poised to repeat the honor last season before an injury ended his sophomore campaign. Since coming back this season, Caputo has been about as reliable as they come for Coach Weiss. Because of his superior experience and polish, I feel that Caputo has been considered a favorite over true freshman, Ben Clymer. However, to his credit, I have all of the confidence in the world that Clymer will keep this bout a lot closer than many may have predicted. Of late, it seems that every time he takes the mat, Clymer finds himself wrestling against a top-20 (or borderline top-20) opponent. And, even in defeat, he always managed to make a good showing of himself. Sporting an overall record of 18-11, I place Clymer in the same category as I did Harvard’s Peppelman. Neither is quite there yet. But, the more you watch them, the more you can recognize that the potential is there for them to do great things in the coming years. If this bout is wrestled next season, I may be tempted to call for an upset. However, for the time being, I think it is only fair that I give credit where credit is do, and show respect for the #10 Crimson wrestler by predicting a victory for him this evening.
Prediction: Caputo Wins by Decision
Projected Team Score: 16-15 Hofstra
Result: Caputo (Harvard) Dec Clymer (HU), 6-2
The Matchup: Joe Fagiano (HU) vs. Sean Murphy (Harvard)
Synopsis: At 197, 3-15 Sean Murphy is expected to get the call for the Crimson. He will be pitted against Joe Fagiano, who after sitting out the past few months, returned to the lineup last weekend. Having departed the HU lineup as a top-20 ranked wrestler (17-20 range), Fagiano’s return was a little bit on the rough side, dropping two decisions to opponents that I feel he may have been favored against prior to his absence. If last weekend was simply a case of mat rust, then so be it. These things happen and are easily correctable as soon as you continue to compile additional varsity matches. In fact, while you never want to take any opponent (regardless of their overall record) too lightly, it might end up working out for the best for Fagiano to go against a struggling opponents. His two opponents last week, Edinboro’s Pat Bradshaw and Buffalo’s Jimmy Hamel are at the level that unless you are back on your game, they will beat you regularly. Opposed by an opponent like Murphy, Fagiano may find that he is able to execute more effectively. And, like a hitter in a slump, sometimes all it takes is that one very good performance to get you back into the groove of things. While I believe all HU fans will join me in thanking Anthony Tortora for stepping up and doing his best every time out on the mat, it may go without saying that if HU has any hopes of preserving their conference tournament winning streak and making noise at the National tournament, it will require Joe Fagiano to be back in the swing of things, with his “A” game in full effect.
Prediction: Fagiano Wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 20-15 Hofstra
Result: Fagiano (HU) Pinned Ziemnik (Harvard) 4:02
The Matchup: Jordan Enck (HU) vs. Andrew Knapp (Harvard)
Synopsis: As is one of the underlining themes of my preview, 285 will be another weight class where the host school will find itself with a decision to make. Do they go with 5-8 Andrew Knapp or 2-7 Spencer DeSena? I know which way I’d like to see them go. With DeSena being a product of Garden City High School in Nassau County, I think the majority of support from my readers would be that they’d like to see the local boy get his shot to do good. Like Enck, DeSena finished his HS career as a 215-pounder. Therefore, physically, the two would likely matchup well. Despite his living 20 or so minutes away from me, I never got the chance to see much of the Crimson freshman during his scholastic days. However, having seen Andrew Knapp last season, I will say that if I was Coach Weiss, I think I would opt to go with DeSena. While bigger than Enck, I feel that Knapp may have a hard time matching the athleticism of the true freshman from Manheim. Last season, early season starter, Jim Guerin was able to defeat by being just a half step quicker. When you take into consideration that Enck is even quicker than Guerin, I just think that the Crimson would be better off going with the smaller, more agile option at this weight class. Regardless of who opposes him, I think I would favor Enck in this bout. With a recent win over Cornell Zach Hammond coupled with the victory over fellow highly touted freshman Brett Correll, Enck seems to be coming into his own at exactly the right moment of the season. The last time that I saw him, Jordan was still wearing the knee brace. Therefore, his offense may still be hindered slightly. However, given his natural ability and above average speed (even with the bum knee), I like his chances to score a sufficient amount of points to get his hand raised. I could see this bout going in the direction of a 3-1, 3-2, 4-2 type decision. This should be the case regardless of which team’s wrestler is the victor.
Prediction: Enck Wins by Decision
Projected Final Team Score: 23-15 Hofstra
Result: Double Forfeit
Final Team Score: Hofstra-31; Harvard-11