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This Weekend In Lehigh Sports 1/26/2007

Although football recruiting is going fast and furious - with rumors of the latest commits hitting our program just this past week - I'm going to refrain from talking about who's in and who's out until next Monday, and instead talk about the basketball and wrestling teams' big matches this weekend.

The biggest game of all, undoubtedly, is Lehigh's appearance on ESPNU tonight at 9:00PM when they travel to Worcester, MA to take on the Crusaders (6-0, 15-6). The second leg on our "Theater of Pain" tour, we travel to Hart Center (where we haven't won since 1998) following our drubbing by Bucknell at Sojka Arena 62-44 last Tuesday. If we have any hope of getting higher than a #2 seed in the Patriot League tournament, it would be a massive help to get over the hump by beating a team we haven't beaten on the road in ten years - not to mention it would be our most impressive road win of the season. Although beating Lafayette at home was an expected step, we need more to make the next step, including better consistency from senior G Jose Olivero and F Kyle Neptune.

The Bucknell game didn't so much as expose Lehigh as show how far Lehigh needs to go in order to consider ourselves an elite team in this league, even with senior C Jason Mgebroff out with injury. The Bison showed us how to contest every shot, play defense, and make fewer mental errors. Olivero and Neptune forced bad, contested shots all night -and didn't show up well on the score sheet as a result. Our defense was also nowhere near the task of slowing down the Bison, as they consistently set picks to get easy underneath baskets and screens to get easy uncontested threes. If we have any hope of scratching out a win tonight, we'll have to improve on almost every phase of the game. (It gives me no pleasure to type this, but it's my honest opinion of the situation.)

Unlike the men, the Lady Hawks have a less daunting task on Saturday as they face the Lady Crusaders (7-13, 2-4) in Worcester. After an impressive win 62-50 at home versus Lafayette but a disastrous 64-37 drubbing at Bucknell, if Lehigh can string big road wins here against Holy Cross this week and next week at American the Lady Hawks will be in good shape entering the Patriot League tournament. That would mean getting more consistent play from senior G Sara Ellis and senior F Adrienne Blount, who were a non-factor in the Bucknell game.

For the wrestling team, it's back-to-back Ivy pins against struggling Harvard and Brown at Grace Hall this Saturday. After last week's clutch win over #14 ranked Cornell (punctuated by a big pin by senior heavyweight Paul Weibel), Lehigh hopes to keep the momentum going this Saturday and build off their big win last week in Ithaca. In the 184 lb weight class, freshman grappler David Craig has been a revelation and one of the big reasons we're looking brightly to the EIWAs this year. He's been rewarded for his good play with a NWCA ranking (#19) to go with his 11-4 dual record.

Recruiting news for football will wait. Only until Friday, but it will wait.


Ngineer said…
If Harvard is 'struggling' it's only because of injuries/illness. They have six guys ranked in the Top 20 and if all show up we could be in for a long day. Brown shouldn't be much of a problem.

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