After a two-week layoff, many expected the Penn wrestling team to come out firing on all cylinders against Hofstra. Instead, it sputtered early and couldn’t close the deficit.
Losing five of their first six matches, the Quakers’ comeback attempt fell well short in a 23-13 defeat to the No. 24 Pride.
Many of the Red and Blue’s stalwarts found themselves victims to unexpected defeats. No. 11 senior Zack Kemmerer lost, 2-1, in the first tiebreaker period at the 141-pound weight class, and No. 25 freshman Steve Robertson succumbed by fall at 149.
With a fifteen-day break between matches following their narrow loss to Cornell, it appeared as if the long layoff affected the Quakers’ focus on the mat.
“For some reason our guys just didn’t seem to come out ready to go,” coach Rob Eiter said. “Hofstra did.”
The Pride struck quickly, gaining a 5-0 lead through No. 12 Steve Bonnano’s defeat of Karim Shafi by technical fall. It was a lead they would never relinquish.
Though senior Bryan Ortenzio’s victory at 133 brought the Red and Blue back to within two points, they would not win another match until Ian Korb won at 174.
Korb was one of the bright spots on the day, making effective use of riding time in a 4-0 shutout win against Jermaine John.
“Coach told me to work on my riding,” Korb said, “and I actually rode him for about two and a half minutes during the first period, so I was happy with that.”
No. 8 junior Micah Burak, one of Penn’s most reliable wrestlers, was also victorious on the day, earning an 11-2 win over Tim Murphy.
Earning Penn’s final win of the day was sophomore Steve Graziano, who avenged an earlier defeat to Paul Snyder at 285 with a 7-2 victory.
Though the loss to Hofstra was a disappointing one, the Red and Blue were undeterred by their performance heading into upcoming dual matches against Harvard, Providence and Brown.
“I believe 100 percent that you’re going to see a different team next Saturday,” Eiter said.
“The thing about these guys is that they learn, and they’re getting better every match, and they really did not like the way this match went today, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to change it.”