Though the Harvard wrestling team may have returned home for the first time all year, the friendly confines of the Malkin Athletic Center were not enough to hold off No. 8 Lehigh as the Crimson lost 38-8.
Combined with its 29-17 loss to Sacred Heart (8-5) on Friday night, Harvard (0-7, 0-1 EIWA) is still winless on the year.
Lehigh 38, Harvard 8
Against the Mountain Hawks (17-3, 6-0), a team that features six ranked wrestlers and a league winning streak which dates back to the 2001-2002 season, the Crimson was only able to pull off a victory in two matches in the second most lopsided loss of the season against the second-best team it has faced this year. It lost to No. 4 Michigan 43-6 on Feb. 3.
No. 1 co-captain Jesse Jantzen (149 lbs.) was once again one of the few standouts on the day, as he scored a 9-1 major decision over Lehigh’s Matt Anderson. Senior Brandon Kaufmann (157 lbs.) was the other Harvard victor, as he also managed a major decision in an 11-2 win. Kauffman faced the Mountain Hawks’ Ben Bishop instead of No. 4 Derek Zinck, who was scratched from the lineup.
Though Jantzen scored eight points in the first two periods and seemed to be in a good position to record a pin going into the third—even though he was starting on bottom—he was unable to do so after the 6’3 Anderson got him into a hold that the much shorter Jantzen could not escape from until there were just 21 seconds remaining in the match.
“I know Jesse and tomorrow night he’ll probably be in there with the tallest person on top of him trying to get away,” said co-captain Reggie Lee (197 lbs.). “He may dominate that guy in every other position but with that guy riding him the way he did he couldn’t do much. Jesse’s going to be in the room working on that for the next month.”
Lee almost had a victory himself, but lost in quadruple overtime to Matt Cassidy. Though the scored was tied 4-4 at the end of the last overtime period, new NCAA rules that were instituted this year give the win to the opponent who has the lead in advantage time after the end of four extra periods. Lee seemed unaware that he needed to go for more points after he scored a one point escape in the final overtime.
“It was a stupid mental error,” Lee said.
Even more disheartening to the Crimson ranks is the possible loss of junior heavyweight Jonas Corl, who grabbed his left knee after an awkward fall in the first period of his match and ended up having to forfeit the match due to the injury.
“We really don’t need another injury,” said coach Jay Weiss.
The already depleted Harvard lineup had to forfeit the 165 lb. match due to personnel issues. During the Cliff Keen Invitational earlier in the year, Corl had to drop out of the tournament due to a neck injury and back spasms. The extent of his injury is not yet known.
“From how fast they kept him here it didn’t seem like that big of a deal,” Lee said.
No. 14 sophomore Max Meltzer (141 lbs.) also lost, 6-1, to No. 8 Cory Cooperman in what was the most highly-touted match-up of the evening.
Sacred Heart 29, Harvard 17
Even though the Pioneers only won six of the 10 matches during the meet, they still managed to defeat the Crimson by 12 points in a high-scoring meet that only saw one match decided by two points or fewer.
Jantzen, Lee, Meltzer and Corl provided the four victories against one of the weaker opponents that the Crimson will face all year. Sacred Heart only has one ranked wrester in No. 20 Mike Messina (141 lbs.).
“We got caught in some stupid moves,” Lee said. “But guys were being aggressive. They were going for pins and going for big wins.”
—Staff writer Evan R. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.