Lions fall, bringing winning streak to end

College’s wrestlers record two pins in close victory over Wilkes University. (Photo courtesy of Tim Lee)

With only one dual meet remaining before the Metropolitan Conference Championships, the No. 14-ranked College’s 14-meet win streak fell at the hands of No. 23-ranked Delaware Valley College 21-16 on Monday.

The win streak that stood for nearly a month was erased in the College’s (18-2) final bout, a 9-2 lost decision by an otherwise reliable freshman, Steve Godine, at 125 pounds.

The Aggies (7-7-1) led 18-16 heading into the deciding contest.

The Lions led 16-12 heading into the final two bouts, but junior Kenny Amponsa’s pin-fall loss in the heavyweight bout gave the Aggies a lead that they did not relinquish.

Senior Dan Herr, who won his 133-pound bout by major decision 9-1 to kick off the match felt the College performed well, despite the loss.

“We out-wrestled them and we were in better shape,” Herr said. “Just a few things didn’t go our way. A couple of kids let their guard down on the edge of the mat and we need to wrestle for a full seven minutes.”

Bright spots for the Lions came from usual winners: senior Justin Bonitatis at 165 pounds, sophomore Brian Broderick at 174 pounds and senior Mike Denver at 197 pounds.

Each won their respective bouts and are a combined 53-2 in dual meets this season.

Coming into the match, the College was riding high after a 24-18 victory over No. 15-ranked Wilkes University on Friday.

Freshman Zach Zotollo came up big for the Lions, defeating Colonels junior Shane Everett 5-2 at 157 pounds in only his second dual meet of the season. The College had dropped the previous two bouts as junior Brian Bollette and sophomore John Darling both fell by decision at 141 and 149 pounds.

Herr stressed the importance of freshmen contributions.

“The younger guys stepping up this year has been huge,” Herr said. “I respect all of them tremendously.”

Herr also mentioned the fact that Zotollo had moved up a weight class against Wilkes.

“(Zotollo) has wrestled at 149 all year but he weighed in at 157 against Wilkes and looked great against a quality opponent. He was a big part of our win.”

The College jumped out to an early lead on the road, winning its first two bouts as Godine won by injury default at 125 pounds and Herr pinned his opponent in 1:58 at 133 pounds.

After Zotollo’s big win, the College tacked on two more victories, a 6-2 decision from Broderick at 174 pounds and a pin at 1:08 by Denver at 184 pounds.

Although the College and Wilkes split the matches 5-5, the extra points provided by the two seniors’ pins sealed the victory.

The College’s final match will be yet another difficult test, as the Lions will host the No. 10 –ranked Cyclones of Centenary College at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 in Packer Hall.

Bobby Olivier can be reached at olivier6@tcnj.edu.