Skip to main content

A Lehigh Weekend of Wrestling, Hoops... And Eagles


I haven't led with wrestling yet this year, but with the Virginia Duals starting tomorrow morning at 11 AM, I figured it was time to highlight the No. 11-ranked wrestling team in the nation, who will be grappling tomorrow at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA.

Lehigh currently has six wrestlers ranked in Intermat's Top 20, among them senior 133 lb Matt Fisk (13th), senior 141 lb Seth Ciasulli (18th), senior 165 lb Matt Galante (18th), freshman 174 lb Robert Hamlin (18th), and senior 184 lb David Craig (15th).  But it's the big guy - sophomore heavyweight Zach Rey (6th) - who really has people talking.  His only official loss came to the 5th rated heavyweight in the country, Iowa State's David Zabriskie. (more)


Lehigh enters the dual as the 3rd seed, where they will face off against unranked UC Davis.  Should they survive the Aggies, they could face off against No. 6-seeded Edinboro (PA), where Rey could face off against Chris Burcher (19th).  Another ranked matchup would feature Galante or Hamlin facing off against Jarrod King (4th).

You have to like Lehigh's chances to be wrestling on Saturday morning, where they could be facing off against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State - or perhaps facing a rematch against Penn State, whom the grapplers already beat in dual action in November (beating them 23-15).  If Lehigh does win, it would be their first win in the Virginia Duals since 2003.

***

At Stabler Arena this weekend, expect some fireworks at the kickoff of Patriot League play - and expect some frequent checks at the concession stands, where the Eagles game is likely to be broadcast starting at 8PM Saturday night.

But it's another set of Eagles - the 3-12 American U. Eagles (Real Time RPI: 338) - that invade Stabler this weekend.  The two-time defending Patriot League champions are quite different than the senior-laden squad that played last year, with five underclassmen on the floor.  The feature player, ironically, isn't even American: he's a member of the Romanian national team, junior F Vlad Moldoveanu.  A 6'9 transfer from George Mason (yes, that George Mason), the ruddy Romanian is averaging 17.1 points per game and 4 rebounds per game.  Triple-team him, and you have junior G Nick Hendra (10.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) to worry about in the backcourt.

The Eagles are more dangerous than they look by their record: they have beaten DePaul (yes, that DePaul) on the road, so they're a chemical equation just waiting to happen.  Key will be balanced production out of All-Consonant team that Lehigh head coach Brett Reed has selected (senior G Marquis Hall, freshman G C.J. McCollum, senior G Dave Buchburger, senior F Zahir Carrington, and freshman F Gabe Knutson) and, perhaps focusing a bit of perimeter defense: opponents average a torrid .426 field-goal percentage against the Mountain Hawks, averaging 70 points per game.

Make no mistake: this is a big one.  While Lehigh has a five-game winning streak they're working on, their wins have come against teams with a grand total of ten Division I wins.  A Patriot League-opening win at home against the defending champs, even if you need a scorecard to tell who's playing, could really start some momentum - or stop it dead in its tracks.

***

The women, who extended their winning streak to eight with an impressive 66-51 win over Penn at the Palestra, are now 13-2 and will travel to DC to face American in their first taste of Patriot League play.  The 7-7 Lady Eagles (Real Time RPI: 180) will definitely be a tough test for the Lady Hawks - especially on the road.  American prides themselves on defense - they held Maryland-Eastern Shore under 40% from the field in their final out-of-conference game last weekend - and also have the sort of balanced scoring, especially at home, that could cause Lehigh grief.  Junior F Michelle Kirk (19.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and junior F Liz Leer (12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg) lead a frontcourt that will pose a defensive challenge for sophomore F Emily Gratch and sophomore C Alexa Williams to handle underneath.

Lehigh's "40 minutes of hell" defense will need to be in top form to pull off a big win in DC - and, of course, the usual inspired play by junior G Erica Prosser (16.3 ppg).  As always, if senior G Alex Ross gets warm from outside (12.6 ppg, 33.6% from 3-point range), watch out.

***

Finally, the dilemna.  As some of you may know, I'm a Saints fan, but my family are Eagles fans (and, not-so-secretly, I root for the Birds too).  One thing that Saints fans share with Eagles fans is a pathological hatred for Dallas.  If you think that puts me on safe ground for Saturday's playoff game at Dallas though, think again.

If Philadelphia beats Dallas, they would travel to New Orleans the following week to play the Saints.  Aside from the family tensions that would arise from this repeat of 2007's playoff scenario, there is my own personal issues with any Ealges/Saints contest, where it's definitely a mixed blessing for me.  (I already encountered this when I went to the Linc for the first time this year to see the Eagles/Saints clash.)

And yet - I can't root for Dallas.  While it would be sweet to avenge the 24-17 debacle where the officials seemed to be blind to the Cowboys' constant violations of the Geneva Convention regarding Saints wide receivers, to have the Eagles' season ended by not one, but TWO, losses to the Evil Empire... that will not do.

So it's root for the Eagles this weekend - and then, hopefully, a week of mixed feelings to come.

Comments

Anonymous said…
A true fan has undivided loyalty to one team. A person who has mixed emotions between two teams is a phony. If you can not honestly say you want the Saints to beat the Eagles, you are not true fan.
Very true comment. I am big fan of Eagles and i want Eagle to beat Saints
Anonymous said…
Now you can root for the Saints, since the Cowboys crushed the pathetic Eagles.
willson said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

How To Get Lehigh Fans To Games, And Keep Them There?

You don't have to have attended more than twenty-five years of Lehigh football games to know it's a completely different world out there for your friendly neighborhood sports fan.

When Lehigh's Murray Goodman Stadium was opened in 1988, there were only about a dozen channels on the small, eighteen inch black and white TV we had in our dorm room.  Only two channels might have had "major college football" games on at the same time a Lehigh football game was being played live over the mountain.  (Notre Dame, the only school who had all their games televised, almost always played their games at 3:30 PM.)

Nowadays there's way more entertainment options on a typical college weekend than ever, and it's very logical to think that the increased amount of competition might not just keep students away from attending football games, but local fans as well.

It's not an issue confined to Lehigh - in 2014, home attendance at all FBS games dropped to their lowest le…

Fifteen Guys Who Might be Lehigh's Next Football Coach (and Five More)

If you've been following my Twitter account, you might have caught some "possibilities" as Lehigh's next head football coach like Lou Holtz, Brett Favre and Bo Pelini.  The chance that any of those three guys actually are offered and accept the Lehigh head coaching position are somewhere between zero and zero.  (The full list of my Twitter "possibilities" are all on this thread on the Lehigh Sports Forum.)

However the actual Lehigh head football coaching search is well underway, with real names and real possibilities.

I've come up with a list of fifteen possible names, some which I've heard whispered as candidates, others which might be good fits at Lehigh for a variety of reasons.

UPDATE: I have found five more names of possible head coaches that I am adding to this list below.

Who are the twenty people?  Here they are, in alphabetical order.

Trump's Disinvitation of the Eagles Commits the Cardinal Sin against Philadelphia - Slighting Them

Monday evening, less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to visit the White House, Trump "disinvited" the Super Bowl Champion Eagles from coming.

The "reasoning" for disinviting the Eagles - if you can call it that - was included in a statement released by the White House.

"They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly (sic) stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart (sic), in honor of the great men and women of out military and the people of our country," it reads, conveniently ignoring the fact that no Philadelphia Eagles kneeled during the National Anthem during the course of the entire season.

I don't think Trump fully comprehends what he has done.

Certainly Trump probably thinks he is speaking to his "base" - the people Trump thinks voted for him in 2016, and people who think will continue to vote for him and his preferred candidates in the future.

But Trump's bottomless bad faith in "disinviti…