The Hofstra Pride wrestling team lost to Brown University on Saturday afternoon by a score of 23-12. Multiple wrestlers left the mat with blood-stained singlets, representing the toughness that they showed, particularly in the early bouts.
Jacob Martin started the streak at 125 pounds with a 6-4 victory. After falling behind 3-1 in the second period, Martin earned a takedown and two near-fall points from a scramble to give him the 6-3 lead towards the end of the third period.
Vinny Vespa followed suit with a victory of his own at 133 pounds. Vespa was down 2-0 after the first period, but dominated the second period. He started the second period by earning a reversal and locking up a cradle. Vespa used his cradle to get four near-fall points, giving him the 6-2 lead. There was no scoring in the third period, and Vespa walked off the mat confident and victorious.
A forfeit at 141 pounds did not slow down the momentum for the Pride. Ryan Burkert continued the winning ways at 149 pounds with an exciting 4-2 win in sudden-victory. Burkert was losing 2-1 heading into the third period, but forced two stalling warnings, which gave Burkert one point and sent the match into overtime. Burkert got a takedown 15 seconds into overtime, sending him off the mat energetically.
“It wasn’t that he won, it was how he won,” said Hofstra head coach Dennis Papadatos. “He won for no other reason other than he refused to lose.”
But then things got ugly. Brown went on to win five of the last six bouts.
Sage Heller had a rough day at 174 pounds, where he lost by a score of 14-4. This bout did not go the way Coach Papadatos was expecting. “Sage loves [making] the same mistakes over and over again. He is so coachable, but he doesn’t listen,” Coach Papadatos said.
Bobby Fehr was bumped up to 184 pounds because of injuries, but lost his match by a score of 10-4.
Nezar Haddad was victorious at 197 pounds, winning 5-2. This brought the team score to 20-12 in Brown’s favor.
Although the match was out of reach for the Pride, Coach Papadatos decided to wrestle Mike Oxley at heavyweight. “I would have forfeited it so he wouldn’t get hurt, but he didn’t have a match [Friday] and he really wanted to wrestle,” said Coach Papadatos. Oxley kept it close, but lost the bout 5-1.
Injuries forced Coach Papadatos to change the lineup in an unfavorable way, but the Pride wrestled hard and there were bright spots that make the future look optimistic. “The groundhog saw it’s shadow I guess, so maybe it’s finally time for spring,” said Coach Papadatos.
Hofstra has two weeks off to prepare for the EIWA Conference Championships that start on March 3 at Bucknell University.