Friday, January 09, 2009

Lehigh Rasslers Cruise into Semifinals of Virginia Duals

Lehigh cruised into the semifinals of the Virginia Duals this Friday, after first destroying Ohio 34-8 and then managing to secure a 21-15 victory over No. 24 Kent State.

Junior 165 lb Matt Galante was the biggest star on Friday, securing two falls and getting bonus points against the two MAC schools. Against Ohio, junior 133 lb Matt Fisk and junior 184 lb David Craig also secured falls.

Saturday will be a really busy day for Lehigh fans. At 2 p.m., take your pick: listen to the wrestling semifinals against Edinboro, or listen to the 10-4 men's Basketball team travelling to Washington, DC to take on American. At 7 p.m., the 11-3 women's basketball team host American at Stabler, and at 8:30 p.m. the wrestlers will either be wrestling to take the Virginia Duals or wrestling for third place. (All coverage can be found on Lehighsports.com.)

And, of course, there's that Eagles/Giants thing at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Day at Jadwin Gym

Of all the days to be at an Ivy League basketball game, and I pick the wrong one.

Yes, I really would have liked to have traveled up to Boston to see Harvard pull off a historic 82-70 pummeling of Boston College (yes, that isn't a typo). Instead, I packed up the family thinking of another team with a great shot at a road win - my Mountain Hawks, of course.

I've been outside Jadwin Gym before, but I've never been in the modern, yet intimate, setting for college basketball. My wife, my five year old son and I got there late and had dinner at the "bistro" area - a cordoned area where you can eat your food and still catch the game action while you eat - a really nice touch.

Unfortunately Lehigh fell behind right at the end of the first half and never got closer to four points the rest of the way in a 73-64 defeat, breaking a five game Lehigh win streak.

The win for Princeton was as ugly as the Harvard win was beautiful. The Tigers won by hitting their shots (to the tune of 47% for the game) and fouling - early and often. Lehigh went to the free-throw line an amazing 41 times - and only canned 27 of the free points. I don't think there's anything more frustrating than seeing free points clang away off the iron - fourteen times.

Junior F Zahir Carrington had 20 points and 11 boards on the night - but went 6 for 16 shooting underneath the boards. Junior G Marquis Hall simply had a rough night, scoring 11 points but went a dismal 3 for 13. Two of his connects were three pointers.

I won't lie; I was disappointed. But despite the loss in a place where Lehigh hasn't won since 1930, I did see that this Lehigh team is different than an awful lot of the Lehigh basketball teams I've seen over the years. Better than the Austen Rowland team for sure - if they play up to their potential.

Maybe this team needed to get this bad game out of their system before hitting the really big games coming up - like the one against American this Saturday at 2PM. Here's hoping this is the case.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Honors Pour In for Mountain Hawks

With the release this week of the big All-American lists, several Mountain Hawks have showed up with honorable mentions. Of course, the biggest honor remains for these 2008 Mountain Hawks - no, I'm not talking about the trophies at the annual awards dinner, but the coveted LFN Hawks of the Year unveiled on this site.

Here's the list of the honorees. Congratulations to all the winners!

FCSADA Academic All-Star Team: Senior DB Brendan VanAckeren (3.48 GPA)

College Sporting News "Fabulous Fifty"
Honorable Mention: Senior DB Quadir Carter

The Sports Network All-American Team Honorable Mention: Senior DL Brian Jackson, Senior LB Tim Diamond, Senior P/K Jason Leo

Monday, January 05, 2009

Lehigh Rasslers Are An Amazing 12-0

There was an awful lot more than just the Eagles' win over the Vikings to watch this past weekend. For Lehigh, the hits just keep on coming.

If there was any doubt about it in 2008, the first two duals of 2009 erased those thoughts. No. 9 Lehigh is firmly on the national stage in wrestling again after prevailing against perennial power No. 16 Penn State in a 17-16 thriller that couldn't have been closer.

Lehigh picked a fine day to be on national television on FCS Pacific. After mauling West Virginia 35-3 on Friday, Lehigh started out strong at Rec Hall in State College, PA with two major decisions that gave Lehigh bonus points - one by junior 184 lb David Craig (12-2 over Jack Decker) and another by freshman 197 lb Joe Kennedy (15-3 over Clay Steadman).

I'll let the release do the rest of the talking:

The dual began at 174 with a wild battle between 14th ranked sophomore 174 lb Alex Caruso and No. 15 Quentin Wright. Caruso scored the opening takedown in the first period but found himself trailing in the third. A second takedown and subsequent Wright escape tied the bout at five after regulation. In the sudden victory takedown, Wright shot a double-leg attempt and after a lengthy scramble netted the decisive takedown in a 7-5 win.

...

In the deciding bout, junior 165 lb Mike Galante converted a pair of first period takedowns and added a third in the second period. Friend spent most of the third period looking for a big move, but Galante would not allow it, and added one final score at the buzzer plus riding time advantage to lock up Lehigh’s first victory over Penn State since January 7, 2005.

After the huge win at State College, what's next for the grapplers is a trip to Hampton, PA this Friday in the Virginia Duals, scheduled to take place all day Friday and Saturday. (Fortunately for you, the diehard Lehigh fan, the Eagles play Sunday at 1 PM, huh?)

The men's basketball team has been for the most part fantastic this year. However, this Friday saw the 9-3 Mountain Hawks fall behind 17-2 to the 4-7 Columbia Lions - at home, no less - showing that this team still isn't good enough to simply show up and win. Fortunately, though, sophomore G Rob Keefer and junior F Zahir Carrington turned it up after that pathetic start, combining for 41 points in a 73-59 victory to put Lehigh at 10-3 on the year. Best of all, Lehigh's defense turned the screws on the Lions, holding them to 8 points after the 17 point spurt at the beginning of the game - while scoring 29 to hold a 31-25 halftime lead. Normally, junior G Marquis Hall is the scoring leader, but this time he did everything else - 12 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.

Lehigh (Real Time RPI: 192) travels to nearby Princeton, NJ to take on the 3-8 Tigers this Wednesday night at 7:00 P.M. (Real Time RPI: 329) in a very winnable game, and then take on what could be their toughest league contest of the year at 8-6 American (Real Time RPI: 85) in Washington, DC at 2:00 P.M. Hope your radio reception is good; the game will only be avaiable via audio on WLVR. (Of course, you can also get audio from the Lehighsports.com too.)

It's a rare occasion where a Lady Hawks loss on the road to a MAC school is a disappointment, but with the 10-4 Lady Hawks riding so high lately (Real Time RPI: 118), their 67-59 loss to 4-8 Akron (Real Time RPI: 192) actually was a disappointment, breaking the Lady Hawks' five game winning streak. A big reason was the fact that junior G Melissa Ross, and her 13.6 points per game, were missing from the lineup - though senior C Melissa Rich's 17 points and 8 rebounds did a lot to fill her missing shoes.

They'll have the week to get healthy, as Patriot League play starts on TV Saturday night at 7:00 PM against American in Stabler Arena (and also televised on Service Electric 2 and in some markets on MASN as well). Like the men's game in Washington DC, it will be a matchup against two of the best teams in the league - the Eagles are 9-5 with a Real Time RPI of 151.

Rassling Friday. Basketball all day (and night) Saturday, as well as more rassling. And the Eagles 1PM on Sunday. Hope you didn't have anything planned.
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