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Two matches. Two turning points. And two very different teams in the same red and blue uniforms.

Two days could not produce more different results for the Penn wrestling team as it split its weekend matches.

After opening up their Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association slate with a decisive 24-11 victory over Bucknell (4-10, 0-4 EIWA), the Quakers (6-4, 1-0) ended Sunday on a down note — losing to rival Hofstra, 18-15.

The high point of the weekend began and ended with nine and a half minutes of resilience by No. 18 Gabe Burak. The senior Colorado Springs native came out quietly against Bucknell’s Corey Lear and by the end of the first period, he found himself down 0-2 with almost two and half minutes of riding time against him.

But after starting on top in the second, Burak negated the riding advantage. With forty seconds left in the third period, he scored a takedown to send the match into overtime.

The first sudden victory period passed without any score, but Burak managed a winning takedown 9:45 into the match.

“Praise to the Lord just giving me strength to keep me focused,” Burak said. “I’m usually pretty good on top and looking to turn him, but didn’t. I still rode him out for the period and was able to finish the match strong.”

The dual meet featured victories by all of Penn’s ranked wrestlers and another win for freshman Kyle Cowan.

As impressive as Burak and the Quakers were on Saturday, Penn disappointed the second day in losing to Hofstra (8-3-1, 3-1 CAA).

The first fixture of the day was a rematch of two fifth-year seniors from the Southern Scuffle as Penn’s No. 4 Rollie Peterkin took on No. 6 Lou Ruggierello.

Hofstra’s three-time Colonial Athletic Association champion scored an early takedown and managed to stay in control for the majority of the match.

“I think my loss today was my fault,” Peterkin said. “I didn’t wrestle my best match and I didn’t wrestle in my best positions. I let him dictate the pace and I should’ve wrestled a smarter match.”

“I will definitely beat him next time though,” Peterkin said.

The disappointment continued throughout the day with the ebb and flow of one of the closest duals of the season. Nine of the ten matches were won by regular decision — margins of less than eight points.

Penn had a few bright spots, as freshman Andrew Lenzi’s hard-fought 3-2 win over Hofstra’s Matt Spataro and Zack Kemmerer’s 27th win of the season.

But coach Rob Eiter was concerned about the team’s mental approach.

“It wasn’t that we lost,” Eiter said. “It was how we lost. We just got outworked today. They beat us in four minutes in the top and bottom position where we felt we have worked really hard. We didn’t have the right attitude going in.”

“I don’t care if we lose 3-2 or 10-2. It’s how we lost that’s disappointing,” Eiter added.

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