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Hofstra dominates in Sacred Heart’s final dual meet of season

Sacred Heart’s Shaun Williams gave up a takedown in the third period and dropped his third bout of the season Tuesday night against Hofstra. (Steve McLaughlin photo courtesy Sacred Heart Athletics)

Four Hofstra University wrestlers won two matches each and the visiting Pride took all 13 matches in a round-robin match with Sacred Heart on Tuesday night at the Pitt Center in Fairfield.

The two Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) squads are preparing for the upcoming EIWA championship tournament on Friday, Feb. 26 in Manheim, Pa.

No team scores were kept as the two programs tried to provide opportunities for their wrestlers to get some action on the mat.

“It was a great opportunity for us, a full day of wrestling,” Sacred Heart coach John Clark said. “It was good that we were able to compete when many others cannot.”

Hofstra (2-1) was dominant with three pins and two technical fall victories. The Pride had 41 takedowns in 14 bouts. Trey Rogers (197) had eight takedowns in a win over Sacred Heart’s Daniel Delbonis and another seven takedowns in a 16-5 win over Sacred Heart’s Robert Hetherman.

Rogers (4-1) had two victories along with Hofstra teammates Justin Hoyle (133), Joe McGinty (157) and Charles Small (184).

In a season of limited opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clark said that the Pioneers  can’t get down. “We have to keep our eyes on the prize,” he said. “In 2 1/2 weeks, we have our (EIWA) conference tournament.”

The tournament is a qualifying event for the NCAA Division I championships in St. Louis in March.

Sacred Heart (0-2) came close to earning some victories. Small’s escape with 1:43 left in the third period helped him beat Joe Accousti, 3-2. Accousti, the junior from Newtown, had a good shot and a single leg with 20 seconds remaining but couldn’t finish it off.

At 157 pounds, McGinty (4-1) got a takedown with about 50 seconds remaining in the third period to earn a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Sacred Heart’s Shaun Williams. It was Williams, a senior from Danbury, with the early 2-0 lead thanks to a takedown with two seconds left in the first period. McGinty cut the lead to one with an escape early in the second period.

Hofstra’s Reece Heller (197) got a takedown in the first and second period to outlast Sacred Heart’s Scotty Jarosz, 4-2.

In another match at 157 pounds, Hofstra’s Holden Heller got a reversal early in the third period that broke a 2-2 tie and lifted him to a 5-2 decision over Sacred Heart’s Nick Palumbo.

“We had a tough couple of matches,” Clark said. “If we get a win, that might have changed the momentum. It’s hard to be up next (sometimes after a tough loss). A big win can energize a team.”

One match was suspended. Chris Naegele (157) was facing off with Fairfield Warde graduate Charlie Kane, who was looking for his first victory of the season. Kane took an early 2-0 lead with a takedown only to see Naegele escape and get a takedown of his own. Another Kane escape tied the match at 3-3.

The match was halted because Kane (0-3) had a cut that was bleeding and it couldn’t be closed.

Accousti and Palumbo each slipped to 3-2 on the season for the Pioneers in their fifth and final dual meet of the season.

The Pride received votes in the latest NWCA Division I coaches poll. They weren’t in the top 25 but the Pride were ranked 35th with three points.

Hofstra vs. Sacred Heart
At Fairfield
141: Vinny Vespa (H) dec. Jordan Carlucci, 5-1
141: Justin Hoyle (H) pin Vincent Milazzo, 3:18
157: Joe McGinty (H) dec. Shaun Williams 3-2
184: Charles Small (H) dec. Joe Accousti, 3-2
174: Ross McFarland (H) dec. Scott Jarosz, 5-2
197: Trey Rogers (H) major dec. Robert Hetherman, 16-6
285: Zachary Knighton-Ward (H) tech fall Mark Blokh, 17-1
157: Holden Heller (H) dec. Nick Palumbo, 5-2
165: Ricky Stamm (H) major dec. Will Schmidt, 12-4
141: Hoyle (H) pin Thomas Volpe, 0:23
157: McGinty (H) pin Jack Molloy, 6:09
184: Small (H) tech fall Grant Horn, 17-1
157: Chris Naegele (SH) vs. Charles Kane (H), no match
197: Rogers (H) tech fall Dante Delbonis, 22-6
Records: Hofstra 2-1, Sacred Heart 0-2

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

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