Entering the evening’s final bout with the score knotted at 16, senior co-captain Steve Carbone (285 pounds) knew the outcome of the wrestling team’s dual meet against Centenary College hinged on his performance.
Wrestling conservatively to protect an early lead, Carbone scored an 8-0 major decision over sophomore Adam Pearsall to finish off a dramatic 20-16 comeback victory for the No. 21 Lions last Wednesday.
With the win, the Lions improved their dual meet record to 12-3, while the Cyclones dropped to 5-4 in dual matches.
“You definitely wrestle differently when the score is tied,” Carbone said. “I tried to stay in good position and prevent giving up any points. Normally, I would open up a little more on someone if I had a lead. However, in a tie match you can sit on a lead a little bit and do what you have to in order to get the win.”
Carbone’s decisive match was the last of five consecutive wins for the Lions, who were behind early after losing four of the meet’s first five bouts.
Down 13-0, the Lions picked up their first four points of the meet on an 11-3 major decision by freshman John Barnett (149 pounds) in the fourth bout of the match.
After dropping the 157-pound match, the Lions rebounded with a 10-7 decision from freshman Justin Bonitatis (165 pounds). The win kicked off the team’s stretch of five consecutive victories.
Building on Bonitatis’ win, fifth-ranked junior Greg Osgoodby (174 pounds) picked up an 11-5 decision over junior Derek Schisler to improve his overall season record to 23-4.
“Once we got a couple of wins, we fed off each other and kept that energy,” Osgoodby said.
Senior Jim Tomczuk (184 pounds) carried the team’s momentum into his match, where he earned three crucial points for the Lions by beating freshman Benjamin Ostner in a 4-3 decision. Tied at the end of the third period, Tomczuk tallied the winning point on a ride-out in the first tiebreaker round.
In one of the meet’s most anticipated individual matchups, Centenary’s ninth-ranked senior Mike Gummerson pinned eighth-ranked senior co-captain Ray Sarinelli (133 pounds) in 5:45.
Senior Shawn Vanwingerden (197 pounds) pulled out a 6-3 decision over freshman Kaleb Wisner. With the score tied at 16, Carbone won the next bout to seal the come-from-behind victory for the Lions.
“The biggest part of our turnaround was that we kept our composure,” Osgoodby said. “Each guy went out to win his match by wrestling how he knows and not trying to do too much.”
Next, the Lions are scheduled to head to the New England Duals on Saturday at noon followed by a faceoff at Springfield College on Sunday at noon.