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Moses pulled a no-show on the Harvard wrestling team, and the Crimson could conjure no miracles to part the Red sea--Cornell swamped the Crimson, 34-5, at the MAC Saturday.
The confidence of seven straight wins, the marked improvement over last year's squad, and the hard work of the last few weeks couldn't save the Crimson (0-1 Ivy) from sinking against a team like Cornell (2-0).
"We wrestled well," Assistant Coach Paul Widerman said, "but not well enough."
Harvard has been spoiled by less competitive teams thus far, and was not prepared to face a powerhouse like Cornell.
"The team needs more experience with better competition in order to rise to that level to win a match like that," Widerman said.
This disadvantage took the air out of some of the stronger Crimson wrestlers, making what should have been close matches, like the 134-lb. bout between Sam Cole and Big Red's Mark Fergeson, not so close. Harvard hoped to cash in on these key matches, but ended up in the red.
Fergeson jumped right into the match, taking Cole down and putting him on his back for five points. In the second period, Cole came alive, peeling Fergeson off of him, and taking him down. Fergeson escaped, and as the time ticked down, Cole just couldn't turn back the flood, losing 7-3.
"We knew how good Sam Cole is. We have a tremendous amount of respect for his ability and his work ethic," Cornell Coach Jack Spates said, "but Mark Fergeson is special, he really is."
But "special" doesn't necessarily equal "unbeatable."
"I think Sam could beat him." Widerman said. "But, to beat someone of that caliber you need to have studied him a little bit. You start to have a strategy, some tactics."
Cole thought out his tactics, but a period late and a grade short.
"Fergeson had really good shots," Widerman said, "so he would penetrate and Sam didn't shut off the shot. Sam was attacking from the shot, and doing a pretty good job of it, but not completely enough. But as the match went on you could see Sam got out of three or four hairy positions. I thought that was real progress."
The bright spot of the day for Harvard was the other key match, at 118-lbs. with Nick Cianciola and Cornell's David Sims.
Cianciola struggled to keep Sims down on the mat, but even when the Big Red slipped away, Cianciola had little problem taking him down again.
"After I scored the take-down at the end of the second period, and I was up, 4-1, I felt pretty confident that I could win," Cianciola said.
Cianciola started Harvard off with high hopes and a 3-0 lead, but the Crimson didn't light up the scoreboard again until 154-lb. Captain Tim Kierstead stepped on the mat.
Kierstead and Big Red Joe Guciardo scoped each other out all first period, but couldn't punch in any points. Kierstead had a few half-realized shots, but couldn't get the take down.
In the second period Kierstead escaped to rack up a point, but Guciardo did the same in the third period, and the match ended in a tie.
"I don't think I wrestled that well," Kierstead said. "When you get in on a kid's legs as many times as I did, you should finish them. Being a brides-maid just isn't the same as a win."
Even if Harvard didn't score any more points, 167-lb. Dave George deserved some for bravery, stepping in for Dwight Cooper in the heavy-weight class against Big Red Anthony Tobasso.
This time David didn't slay Goliath, but he didn't get pinned either. Tobasso huffed and puffed out a 3-1 win.
The Crimson hopes this game is no indication of its future performance in the Ivy League, especially against Princeton on Friday.
"You can only go up after this," Kierstead said. Big Red, 34-5 at Malkin Athletic Center
Nick Cianciola (H) d. David Sims (C), 7-3.
Jerry Graziano (C) d. Todd Cameron (H), 11-3.
Mark Fergeson (C) d. Sam Cole (H), 7-3.
Nate Knauer (C) d. Aaron Danzig (H), 5-1.
Pat Waters (C) d. Mike Costanza (H), 14-3.
Tim Kierstead (H) and Joe Guciardo (C) tied, 1-1.
Mike New (C) pinned Fred Jenkins (H), 3:33.
Ben Morgan (C) d. John Willoughby, 8-4.
Tim Svewc (C) pinned Joe Biland (H), 1:45.
Anthony Tobasso (C) d. Dave George (H), 3-1.
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