"This year has been a lot of its." Harvard wrestling coach John Lee said yesterday as he reviewed the Crimson's 20-12 loss to Hofstra Saturday afternoon in Hempstead.
It's true-Harvard has yet to be thoroughly drubbed this season. Each meet has been decided by one or two crucial bouts which, if they had gone the other way, would have meant victory for the Crimson. As Lee said only Thursday. "None of these teams are unbeatable."
On Saturday, losses by Paul Catinella at 142 and Dave Seanlon at 190 proved the difference, Catinella, the Harvard captain, was ahead of Wayne Frost, 2-1, when Frost scored a takedown to go out front, 4-2. Catinella came back with an escape to narrow the gap, but Frost held on for the win.
"It was just one of those matches." Lee said. "Paul did all of the wrestling, but just couldn't get the points. It was a frustrating match to lose."
Catinella's defeat provided Hofstra with an almost insurmountable 12-0 lead. "When Catinella loses, we're usually in trouble." Lee mused.
Dean Sheppard and Mark Slutzker came through with their first varsity wins at 150 and 158, respectively, to put Harvard back in contention. Sheppard was subbing for Pat Coleman, who is out indefinitely with a torn cartlidge in his nose.
Bart Harvey turned in an outstanding performance at 167, losing a close 9-6 decision to Hofstra captain Bill Stoffer, an NCAA semi-finalist last year. In the process, however, Harvey injured his knee and may be out of action for a week or more.
Although slowed by a head cold. Mark Faller won his bout at 177 to keep the Crimson within striking distance.
Then came Scanlon's fatal loss at 190. Scanlon was pinned after only one minute of the first period by Mat Rudolph, who was as surprised as Scanlon by the quick fall in the third period of his heavyweight match for the Dutchmen since being discharged by the Army.
Jim Abbott, returning to action after a month layoff, scored a reverse and near-fall in the third period of his reavyweight bout to top Ivy Moss, 6-5.
Tom Schnorr, Steve Monsulik, and Rick Battle dropped close decisions in the lightweights to give Hofstra the early lead. Lee continued to marvel at Monsulik's performance. "He's just done an amazing job for a beginner." he said. "That guy would have pinned him a month ago."
Elsewhere in the Ivy League this weekend. Princeton drummed Penn, 23-9, to establish itself as the clear favorite. Harvard, now 1-1 in Ivy League competition, resumes conference action this Saturday against Columbia.
With Coleman and Harvey injured chances for a Harvard sweep of its remaining matches are dim. "Beating Springfield. Penn and Princeton will be another matter." Lee said yesterday. "And with these injuries nagging at us, it could be a call for Eric Behrens again."
Behrens is the Crimson's manager and occasional 134-pound back-up man.