Tied with Roger Williams, 12-12 after
eight matches during their battle in Middletown Fri., Jan. 15, the
Cardinals got a first-period pin from Dan Bloom '10 (photo insert upper
left) at 125 pounds and a second-period pin from Chris Alvanos '11 at
133 to close out the affair and give Wesleyan, ranked third in New
England and 24th nationally, a 24-12 victory in the team's home opener.
Facing Trinity during the evening as well, again the match was in doubt until the last two bouts as the Cardinals held a 16-12 edge. Bloom subdued his opponent in a quick 1:19 and Maika Nagata '13 cinched the outcome with a second-period fall for a 28-12 final score.
In addition to Bloom, three other Cardinals were double-winners on the evening. Filling in for regionally top-ranked Greg Hurd '10 at 174 pounds (Hurd was out of town for a job interview), Kyle Roosa '13 (photo insert upper right) decisioned two regionally ranked opponents, downing the #5 grappler in New England from Roger Williams, 4-2, and #7 from Trinity, 10-3. Josh Berkovic '10 (main photo), ranked third regionally at 165, toppled the #2 wrestler from Roger Williams, 5-3, and added a 6-1 decision vs. Trinity as well. At 157 pounds, Dave Bachy '10 produced solid wins of 7-2 and 14-4.
Wesleyan was right back on the mat Sat., Jan. 16, taking on Johnson & Wales, a team ranked second in the region and 19th nationally, for a match while also facing Southern Maine during the excursion. Things did not go quite as well as hoped as Wesleyan needed a last-match victory from Berkovic, 4-3, to clinch a 19-15 win over USM. Johnson & Wales then took the opening eight bouts before Bachy and Berkovic posted wins to narrow the final margin to 28-7 for the host.
Wesleyan held a 16-3 lead over the Huskies after five matches. But four straight USM decisions made it 16-15 with the 165-pound match remaining. Berkovic came through and combined with his 3-1 win against his J&W opponent, finished up the week as the only Cardinal to go 4-0.
Despite the 21-point victory margin by Johnson & Wales, five individual matches went the way of the host by four points or less. Thus, the outcome was hardly as one-sided as the team score indicates.
Wesleyan just might get another shot at Johnson & Wales during the upcoming NEWA Duals hosted by Springfield Sun., Jan. 24. All 15 regional Division III squads are expected to be in attendance at the annual affair to determine the top dual-match team in New England.