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Weekend Wrapup: Wrestlers Close Dual Season With Big Win

Of all the ation this weekend, it was the match that didn't make ESPNU - the Lehigh grapplers' final home wrestling dual before the EIWA championships in two weeks - that was the story of thw weekend.

The Mountain Hawk wrestlers ended their historic dual season in style with a 24-12 win, giving them a perfect dual record against EIWA foes and also set a school record for dual wrestling wins in a season (23). Tied going into the final three matches, it was junior 184 lb David Craig, freshman 197 lb Joe Kennedy and freshman heavyweight Zach Rey who swept the last three bouts to secure the historic win at home.

Probably the best match of the afternoon came with senior 149 ln Trevor Chinn, wrestling for the last time in Leeman-Turner arena:

Once again the Lehigh fans were on their feet after No. 15 Trevor Chinn earned a tight 3-1 victory over No. 11 Cesar Grajales at 149. Each wrestler earned an escape to start the second and third periods, and with less than one minute remaining the match appeared to be heading for overtime. With 40 seconds left, Chinn scored the only takedown of the bout, grabbing Grajales ankle at the edge of the mat and slipping around for the points as the grapplers went out of bounds. After Chinn held off a Grajales attempt at a reversal, the Leeman-Turner Arena crowd rose to give the senior a standing ovation as he walked off the mat for the final time in Grace Hall.

Lehigh's grapplers get a well-deserved rest before the EIWA championships in two weeks, followed shortly thereafter by the NCAA's.

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As good as the Lady Hawks have been this year, they've had another item on their bucket list they've been unable to check off until now: beating "that school in Easton" at Kirby Field House, something Lehigh hasn't been able to do since 2005. But this year's 21-6 women's basketball team was able to cross off another goal off their checklist as they disposed of the Leopards 73-58.
In what must be demoralizing for the Lady Leopards, four Lady Hawks hit double figures scoring, and all are underclassmen (underclasswomen?): junior G Alex Ross (16 points), sophomore G Erica Prosser (15 points, 4 steals), junior G Kristen Dalton (10 points) and freshman F Emily Gratch (15 points, 9 rebounds).

Now at 21-6, Lehigh (Real Time RPI: 84) is in the driver's seat for home court advantage throughout the playoffs (since Lehigh is hosting the first two rounds of the Patriot League women's tourney). Thanks to Holy Cross' 58-55 win over American, if Lehigh can manage to beat 15-10 Bucknell (Real Time RPI: 182) at home the Wednesday, they will clinch the regular-season Patriot League title and should they win two games in the tourney the final will be broadcast from Stabler as a Lady Hawks home game.

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The Lady Hawks might want to hope that the game is blocked out on ESPNU, however. Lehigh sports teams have been 0-2 on "El Ocho" this year - the latest an extremely disappointing 68-66 loss to Lafayette on Sunday. It seems like this Lehigh team cannot win a close game when it counts this year in Patriot League play - one time losing with six men on the court in the final seconds, two others on late-game collapses - and the latest one with an errant in-bounds pass in the closing seconds.

Senior F Phil Anderson had a great game in what could be his home finale as a Mountain Hawk with 8 points and 9 boards, while junior G Marquis Hall (12 points, 6 rebounds), junior F Zahir Carrington (15 points, 5 rebounds), sophomore G Prentice Small (10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and junior G Dave Buchburger (10 points, 4 rebounds) had good games. But free throws were a killer - the Thud Hawks hit a dismal 12-of-23 from the charity stripe - as was a defense that gave up 50% shooting to the Leopards.

15-11 Lehigh (Real Time RPI: 238) right now is in a dogfight for the No. 4 seed in the Patriot League tournament with 9-17 Colgate (Real Time RPI: 291). In order to get the No. 4 seed and a home game in Stabler, a win this Wednesday at Sojka against 6-21 Bucknell (Real Time RPI: 296) would go a long way towards getting that goal. But the Bison, unfortunately, are showing signs of seriously hitting their stride after beating Holy Cross a week ago in Worcester and playing Delware very tough in a "Bracket Buster" game this past weekend. Their depth will not make this an easy game at all.

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