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Sacred Heart holds off Cal Baptist for 5th win in last six matches

Sacred Heart swept a pair of matches on Saturday from Davidson and California Baptist to improve to 6-3 on the year. (Photo courtesy Sacred Heart University)

FAIRFIELD, February 1 – Nick Palumbo’s victory in the final match of the day lifted the Sacred Heart University wrestling to their fifth win the last six matches with a 21-17 decision over visiting California Baptist University on Saturday at the Pitt Center.

Palumbo beat Cal Baptist’s Zachary Rowe, 3-1, at 157 pounds to lift the Pioneers (6-3) to the win in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Sacred Heart beat Davidson in an Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) match earlier on Saturday, 27-15, to pick up a pair of victories.

Sacred Heart won the first four matches to grab a 15-0 lead over the visitors from California. Newtown’s Joe Accousti (174) beat Jacob Cooper, 3-1 while Brandon Levesque won by pin.

Cal Baptist cut the lead to one, 15-14, thanks to three consecutive wins. Cal Baptist’s Zach Schrader got it started with his team-leading 19th win of the season at 285 pounds. Gerard Daly (141) stopped the run for Sacred Heart with a 6-2 victory over Lorenzo De La Cruz to extend the Pioneer lead to 18-14.

But A.J. Raya’s 5-2 decision over Sacred Heart’s Raf Lievano (149) cut the lead to one, 18-17, setting up a winner-take-all match at 157 pounds.

Against Davidson, Sacred Heart won the first five matches to take a 21-0 lead. Brandon Levesque (165) and Robert Hetherman (197) won with pins while Newtown’s Joe Accousti (174) picked up three points for the Pioneers with a 3-0 win over Steve Newell.

Davidson won back-to-back matches at 125 and 133 but Sacred Heart snuffed out any Davidson hopes with consecutive victories from Gerard Daly (141) and Nick Palumbo (149) to clinch the victory.

It’s the most dual meet wins in a single season for Sacred Heart since picking up seven victories in 2009 when the Pioneers were 7-10. The team record is believed to be nine wins set in 2003.

Sacred Heart returns to the mat when they host EIWA rival Bloomsburg University on Sunday, February 9 at the Pitt Center.

Sacred Heart 27, Davidson 15
At Fairfield
165: Brandon Levesque (SH) tech fall Noah Satterfield, 16-1, 4:10; 174: Joe Accousti (SH) dec. Steve Newell, 3-0; 184: Kyle Davis (SH) dec. Gavin Henry, 13-1; 197: Robert Hetherman (SH) pin Lachlan Rosato-Hetherman; Heavyweight: Connor Fredericks (SH) dec. Mitchell Trigg-Fredricks, 3-2; 125: Cian Fisher (D) dec. Kyle Randall, 6-4; 133: Kyle Gorant (D) injury default over Anthony Petrillo; 141: Gerard Daly (SH) dec. David Loniewski, 7-3; 149: Nick Palumbo (SH) dec. Will Baldwin, 6-2; 157: Hunter Costa (D) dec. Will Schmidt, 8-6, OT
Sacred Heart 5-3, Davidson 3-8

Sacred Heart 21, Cal Baptist 17
At Fairfield
165: Brandon Levesque (SH) pin Cole Pruitt; 174: Joe Accousti (SH) dec. Jacob Cooper, 3-1; 184: Kyle Davis (SH) dec. Garrett Strang, 5-3; 197: Robert Hetherman (SH) dec. Arick Lopez, 4-2; Heavyweight: Zach Schrader (CB) dec. Connor Frederick, 12-4; 125: Dilan Atjun (CB) dec. Kyle Randall, 15-2; 133: Christian Nunez (CB) pin Sean Faraon; 141: Gerard Daly (SH) dec. Lorenzo DeLa Cruz, 6-2; 149: AJ Raya (CB) dec. Raf Lievano, 5-2; 157: Nick Palumbo (SH) dec. Zachary Rowe, 3-1
Records: Sacred Heart 6-3, Cal Baptist 3-8

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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