Friday, January 05, 2007

This Weekend in Lehigh Sports 01/05/2007

While waiting to put together my "Lehigh's recruiting needs in the offseason" blog post, I'm going to continue to break down the Lehigh sports scene for this weekend after a rough week for basketball, but a surprisingly solid performance at the Southern Scuffle in wrestling.

Last weekend, Lehigh placed five at the Southern Scuffle to successfully shake off a slow start to finish 11th, just barely beating Pitt and Virginia, while finishing just behind Ohio State and North Carolina. Senior heavyweight Paul Weibel was the star, taking out Joe Fendone of Edinboro before eventually falling to the defending national champion Cole Konrad of Minnesota in the semifinals. He apparently almost got the pin before bowing out - overall, seems to me (who doesn't know a lot about wrestling) a great job.

This weekend, it's off to the west coast to compete in a grueling five duals in three days. Cal State-Fullerton, American, Arizona State, Stanford, and UC-Davis are on the offing this weekend. None are ranked opponents, and though they should be good competition, you'd hope that there's a good shot that we can fly back from the west coast with one dual win here.

Our men's basketball team has been officially solved by two beatable teams: Monmouth of the NEC (6-8, 209 RPI) and Columbia of the Ivy (8-5, 191 RPI). What's more disheartening is the way we're losing: getting either embarassed (getting hammered in the 67-39 loss to Monmouth) or losing on huge mental errors (committing a foul with a 1 point lead with .4 seconds to play in a 55-54 loss to Columbia). Let's face it, teams have figured it out: triple-team our best scorer, senior G Jose Olivero, and make someone else beat you. Not exactly the way you want to go into your league schedule this weekend vs. American at Stabler on Saturday.

This team, on paper, is better than their 5-11 record and (ugh) 288 in the RPI might indicate. Injuries to the big guys below have killed us as well, but what's really killing us the most is not playing consistently and making terrible errors of judgement down the stretch. But the time for making mistakes is through. Hopefully with American this Saturday at home we get things started, and getting our first (!) road win this year at Navy will be equally as important. If not, well, you'll be hearing a lot about Lehigh football recruiting this winter.

The women's team, loaded with seniors, also disappointed in a 66-56 loss to Yale, giving the Elis their first road win since November 21st. Like the men, it seems like they're simply not playing with enough consistency to be a favorite going into league play. Only senior Sara Ellis and sophomore C Melissa Rich hit double-figures against Yale, with five of Ellis' points coming at the line. Rich has been a find at center, and (once again) on paper this is a team that should be running for the title, but there are too many Yale games where it's potential unfulfilled.

And with Army playing like they're on fire, Bucknell not too far behind, and Navy and Holy Cross waiting in the wings, it's time to get things consistent once again in time for American and Navy this coming week. Hopefully next week it will all look better.
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