The Drexel Dragon wrestlers bounced back strongly from their recent losing streak Jan. 26 with an impressive home victory over the Sacred Heart University Pioneers at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. After falling in their four previous matches, the Dragons were able to take advantage of their opponent’s misfortune and capitalize on their opportunities en route to a 47-9 win.
The Drexel wrestlers got off to a slow start, once again falling behind to begin the match. Sacred Heart jumped out to a 9-0 lead, winning the first two bouts. The Pioneers did not get to enjoy their early success for long, as senior Frank Cimato got the Dragons rolling with a win-by-fall in the 141 match to cut the deficit to 9-6. Following Cimato’s victory, Sacred Heart was forced to forfeit the next three matches in the 149, 157 and 165 weight classes, which resulted in the Dragons taking a 24-9 lead.
Kevin Matyas was the next Dragon to take to the mat. He built upon the lead by pinning the Pioneers’ Sam Sheppard at 174. Sacred Heart’s misfortune continued in the 184 bout, as they were once again forced to forfeit a match. In what would later be determined the last non-forfeited match of the night, Brandon Palik wrestled his way to a 20-3 tech fall to claim a victory in the 197 bout. The night ended with Sacred Heart forfeiting the 285 match.
The win against Sacred Heart put the Dragons at 6-9 overall on the season and dropped the Pioneers to 0-7.
Earlier that day, multiple Dragon wrestlers traveled to Mechanicsburg, Pa., to compete in the Messiah Open. Sophomore Franco Ferriana earned a first-place finish in the 133 division, and teammate David Pearce secured a second-place finish. Freshmen Matthew Cimato and Jason Fugiel also competed their way to first-place finishes in the 149 and 157 divisions, respectively. Both Matthew Cimato and Fugiel each ended the day with two pins.
At 285, freshman Joseph Giorgio added to the Dragons’ success, earning a third-place finish and going 5-1 on the day. David Pearce, Michael Paccione and Nicholas Maccini each added a win-by-fall on their day. William Long made his mark on the competition with a major decision at 157.
As a whole, the Drexel wrestlers put in impressive efforts at the DAC and at the Messiah Open.
“It was a great weekend for us,” head coach Matt Azevedo said. “The guys won a lot of matches, and it definitely gives us momentum going into Friday’s match against Boston [University].”
The Dragons will return to the mats Feb. 1 when they host a 7 p.m. matchup against conference opponent Boston University at the DAC. The match will be one of high importance for the Dragons, as they will look to continue their recent momentum and set themselves up well for the Colonial Athletic Association championships.
“Boston is a conference opponent, so these matches hold extra weight,” Azevedo said. “These matches will affect the seeding at the CAA Championships.”
Boston University currently holds a 7-4 overall record but is only 1-3 within the conference. The Terriers are coming off a pair of impressive victories over Virginia Military Institute and Davidson University. The Drexel wrestlers will attempt to ride their recent success and hard work to a win against Boston. Azevedo believes his team is ready for the test.
“I like how the team has been training over the last two weeks,” he said. “We should have a very good showing Friday night.”