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Split decision for Sacred Heart on opening weekend of season

TROY, N.Y. November 9 – The Sacred Heart University wrestling team won seven of the final eight matches to earn their first win of the season with a 26-12 decision over Long Island University at the Journeymen Northeast Duals on Saturday.

The Pioneers lost their opening match of the season in a 40-3 loss to Utah State, a program with five returning NCAA Division I qualifiers and a team that is just outside of the top 25 in the most recent National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) poll.

Sacred Heart, under third-year head coach John Clark, is looking to build on their 5-7 record of a year ago. It was the most dual meet wins for the Pioneers since going 7-10 in 2008-09.

Long Island took a quick 8-0 by winning the first two decisions of the match but the Pioneers took control. Graduate student Gerard Daly (141) defeated Anthony Dushaj, 17-10 to get Sacred Heart (1-1) started. Junior Nicholas Palumbo (149) outlasted Chris Gomez, 3-1 while graduate student Brandon Levesque (165) pinned Nicholas Provenzano in 1:18.

Newtown junior Joe Accousti (174) beat Michael Parrish, 8-4 while sophomore Kyle Davis (184) won by pin. Sophomore Robert Hetherman (197) earned a 11-5 victory over Marc Malico with sophomore Connor Fredricks (285) wrapping up the meet with a 3-2 decision over Timothy Nagosky.

Against No. 28 Utah Valley, the Wolverines (1-1) had three pins and a win by technical fall in a dominating performance.

Levesque (165) dropped a one-point decision (riding time), 8-7, to No. 7 ranked Demetrius Romero, a two-time NCAA Division I tournament qualifier. At 174, Accousti lost to No. 11 Kimball Bastian, a NCAA qualifier. Three-time NCAA qualifier and No. 17 senior Tanner Orndorff (184) beat Davis, 12-4 in his debut at 184 pounds

Sacred Heart’s Kyle Randall (125) earned the lone points for the Pioneers with a 13-11 win over Josiah Nava. It was the first-ever meeting between Utah Valley and Sacred Heart.

The Pioneers have six Connecticut wrestlers on the roster this season led by Accousti, the Newtown High graduate who spent two years wrestling at Appalachian State. Juniors Shaun Williams (149) of Danbury and Anthony Falbo (174) of Newtown are on the squad along with Wolcott sophomore Bill Bianchi (133), New Fairfield freshman Hunter Chin (125) and Wethersfield freshman Matt Laurie (125).

The Pioneers return to action on Sunday Nov. 24 when Sacred Heart competes at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia, Pa.

Utah Valley 40, Sacred Heart 3
At Troy, N.Y.
125 Kyle Randall (SH) dec. Josiah Nava, 13-11
133 Isaiah Delgado (Utah Valley) tech fall Hunter Chin, 15-0, 3:06
141 Cameron Hunsaker (Utah Valley) pin Gerard Daly, 2:58
149 Landon Knutzen (Utah Valley) dec. Nick Palumbo, 5-3 OT
157 Jed Loveless (Utah Valley) dec. TJ Calas, 15-2
165 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) dec. Brandon Levesque, 8-7
174 Kimball Bastian (Utah Valley) dec. Joe Accousti, 9-3
184 Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley) dec. Kyle Davis, 12-4
197 Jayden Woodruff (Utah Valley) pin Robert Hetherman, 1:57
285 Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley) pin Connor Fredericks, 2:16
Records: Utah Valley 1-0, Sacred Heart 0-1

Sacred Heart 26, Long Island University 12
At Troy, N.Y.
125 James Ryan (LIU) dec. Kyle Randall, 5-2
133 Michael Blando (LIU) pin Rafael Lievano, 2:29
141 Gerard Daly (SH) dec. Anthony Dushaj, 17-10
149 Nick Palumbo (SH) dec. Chris Gomez, 3-1, OT
157 Dominick Demarco (LIU) dec. TJ Calas, 4-0
165 Brandon Levesque (SH) pin Nicholas Provenzano, 1:18
174 Joe Accousti (SH) dec. Michael Parrish, 8-4
184 Kyle Davis (SH) pin Dan Mcclure, 2:51
197 Robert Hetherman (SH) dec. Mark Malico, 11-5
285 Connor Fredericks(SH) dec. Timothy Nagosky, 3-2
Records: Sacred Heart 1-1, 1-0 EIWA; Long Island 0-2, 0-1 EIWA

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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