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Lehigh Weekend: First Home Wrestling Action In Two Months

Hard to believe, but the last time Lehigh wrestled at home, the Mountain Hawks were 4-0 with folks intrigued with the potential of this team - but nothing more. Granted, there were indicators that something special was brewing, with an upset win against No. 9 ranked Michigan - but few thought that the Mountain Hawks would be comming back to Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall with a 15-1 record and a No. 8 national ranking.

Lehigh will make up for the layoff with three duals this weekend, starting with the one on Friday versus Drexel at 7:00 p.m., and back-to-back duals against Harvard and Brown at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Satruday. Lehigh will be favored in all three duals, and has some pretty impressive win percentages against these three schools: try 40-5 combined. (Lehigh is even a perfect 14-0 versus Drexel.)

The biggest test will certainly be for freshman 197 lb wrestler Joe Kennedy, who will be lining up against one nationally-ranked wrestler (Drexel's Jon Oplinger) and one EIWA-ranked wrestler (Brown's Branden Stearns). There should also be a lot of action at 184, where junior David Craig is ranked No. 15 in the nation by Intermat magazine and should face some tough tests in Harvard's Louis Caputo (No. 7 nationally) and Matt Gevelinger (ranked by EIWA).

Grace Hall, nestled right in the middle of campus, makes for a daunting, intimate setting for opposing wrestlers. Should be a good way to spend an early Friday night/Saturday afternoon. All the action is available on Lehighsports.com - and the dual against Drexel will additionally be available on tape delay, too, at 9:30 p.m. Friday.

***

It's also "mini"-Rivalry weekend in the Valley, as both the men's and women's basketball teams face off against Lafayette this weekend.

At the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Lehigh will have to rebound from their latest disappointing loss - an ugly 58-45 drubbing by 5-12 Colgate on Wednesday in their game against Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks looked a lot more like the team on a three-game losing streak than the team that walloped Army last weekend: they went 29.6% shooting against the Raiders, with only junior F Zahir Carrington and junior G Dave Buchburger scoring in double-digits. A whopping 10 turnovers from Carrington and senior F Phil Anderson added mightily to the total - while the bench only produced six points, all from sophomore G Prentice Small.

The silver lining is that 11-6 Lehigh (Real time RPI: 233) is facing a 6-11 Lafayette team (Real Time RPI: 281) also got drubbed 71-61 by Bucknell on Wednesday. But these games are always wars - they never want to lose to each other - so you can probably throw the records and RPIs out the window when they play each other. Lafayette is guard-dominated, with junior G Jeff Kari (11.5 ppg) and senior G Andrew Brown (15.1 ppg) the big scoring threats. The Leopards average 32 rebounds per game - giving Lehigh fans hope that a solid rebounding afternoon might prove to be the difference.

The 14-5 Lady Hawks (Real Time RPI: 112) cap the weekend by hosting "that school in Easton" (7-10, Real Time RPI: 219) at Stabler Arena at 7:00 p.m. Satruday. On Wednesday, Lehigh struggled early - falling behind at halftime 28-22 but ultimately cruised to a 61-43 victory behind the play of - guess who - sophomore G Erica Prosser, whose 25 points and 5 steals are simply adding to her incredible performances this year. Senior F Haly Crites added 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, and senior G Tricia Smith also added 9 rebounds.

But like the men, you can throw out the records when it's a "Rivalry". Sophomore F LaKeisha Wright leads the Leopards with 11.4 points per game, while senior G Cristin Zavocki not far behind at 10.6 ppg. The Lady Hawks have to keep the rebounding edge on the Leopards - and not have a shooting lapse of the sort they had in the first half against Colgate.

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