Falcons Fall Just Short Of Cortland, Take Out RIT
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Cortland, NY - Ranked #21 in NCAA Division III Wrestling, the Falcons of Messiah College traveled to Cortland, NY, on Saturday with hopes of continuing their impressive start to the 2011-12 season.
Though falling short of knocking off #8 SUNY Cortland, the Falcons showed that they compete with the best.
Messiah overcame a starting pin of senior Danny Lethbridge to earn decisions in the 133 and 149 lb. match-ups. Freshman Kaleb Loht moved to 15-3 on the season with his 7-2 decision in the 133. Ty Kanouff moved to 6-3 with his major decision (11-2) over Cortland's Andre Berry in the 149.
"Ty was awesome today," said Messiah head coach Bryan Brunk of Kanouff. "(Berry) is probably number one in our conference at that weight, and Ty was tougher than him today. He was great."
With Cortland earning a major decision in the 157 and another decision in the 165, the Falcons needed to respond in a big way. They did just that, with senior Matt Cross earning a major decision (11-3) in the 174 over Cortland's William Maldonado.
"Right now, Matt is wrestling better than ever before," said Brunk. "He's been huge for us."
Next, senior Tim Stewart gave the Falcons a 17-16 lead with a dramatic pin of Will Parks with 6:21 remaining the third period. His pin came as the two were tied 2-2.
With a slim lead, and momentum grabbed, Messiah could not complete the upset victory.
Junior Russell Jones lost in the 197 to Cortland's Jared Myhreberg. Facing a major decision, Jones had a late reversal (:06 left) to lose 10-4. Jones' avoidance of the major decision gave Messiah a glimmer of hope heading into the final match-up.
In that 285 lb. match-up, Cortland's Joey Giaramita had takedowns of Messiah junior Mike DiOrio in the first, second, and third periods on his way to a 7-0 decision.
The decision completed a 22-17 win for the #8 Red Dragons, as they moved to 5-0 on the season. The Falcons dropped to 2-2 with the narrow loss.
"Our guys believed they could win, and that important," said Brunk. "We could have pulled it out, and we wanted to get it done. But we weren't able to make it happen in either of the last two decisions, so we'll have to try and focus on the positives.
"We're going toe-to-toe with the best in the country," he added. "And we expect to start winning. We believe it's coming."
Still fired up from the close loss to Cortland, the Falcons took apart the Rochester Institute of Technology 42-6.
"We were better than them, even though both teams were missing a few guys," said Brunk of the win over RIT. "Our guys wrestled every second on the mat."
Cross, who moved to 14-1 on the season with his two wins on Saturday, was again a standout performer in his win over RIT's Nick Fuschino 8-2.
"(Fuschino) is one of the better wrestlers in our conference," said Brunk. "It was a good match, but there was never a question that Matt was going to win. It was a great day for him."
With the win, Messiah moved to 3-2 on the day. RIT fell to 2-3.
"We're definitely proud of the guys," said Brunk. "We want to build on this and keep pushing forward. We have a good group of guys in this program."
Messiah will have more than three weeks to rest before their next match, set for December 28. On that day, the Falcons will compete in the Wilkes Open at Wilkes University.
Complete scores from today's meets are below:
Cortland 22, Messiah 17
(No exhibition matches)
(No exhibition matches)