BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Bridgewater State University wrestling team opened the 2017-2018 season with a tough 20-19 victory over visiting New England College on Wednesday night at John J. Kelly Gymnasium.
The match, which featured 12 freshman making their collegiate debuts, was tied 19-19 after the ten bouts. Bridgewater, however, was awarded the victory due to the second tie-breaker criteria, most wins by fall, disqualification or forfeit.
In a back-and-forth affair, NEC junior Malik Settles (Lowell, Mass.) opened the match with a 14-5 major decision competing out of the 174-pound weight class.
Sophomore Henry Oberlander (Mansfield, Mass,) answered for the Bears with a first period pin (0:48) at 184 to give the hosts a 6-4 lead. Oberlander's pin would prove vital as it decided the match for the Bears in the tie-breaker.
The Pilgrims jumped back on top, 8-6, as freshman 197-pounder Ibrahim Arsakhanov (Manchester, N.H.) posted a 14-5 major decision.
The Bears reclaimed the lead, 10-8, when freshman David MacNeil (Woburn, Mass.) cruised to a decisive 11-1 major decision in the battle of the heavyweights.
That lead was again short-lived as freshman Diego Santiago (Easton, Pa.) earned a 22-6 (4:46) technical fall victory at the 125-pound weight class to give the visitors a 13-10 advantage.
BSU junior captain Andrew Valdina (Dracut, Mass.) evened the match up at 13-13 with a 6-3 decision at 133.
NEC freshman 141-pounder Najee Hall (Uniondale, N.Y.) broke a 3-3 tie with a late second period takedown and added another takedown in the third to post a 7-4 decision and put the Pilgrims back on to 16-13.
A takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining in the 149-pound bout (plus a riding time point) gave BSU freshman Devin Winn (Brockton, Mass.) an 8-5 win by decision and evened the match score at 16-16.
An 8-4 decision by freshman Noah Tougas (Cumberland, R.I.) at 157 gave the Pilgrims a 19-16 lead, but senior captain Eric Kerr (Lynnfield, Mass.) once again tied it for the Bears with a 6-1 victory in the final bout of the day at 165.
In upcoming action, the Bears travel to the University of Southern Maine on Saturday for a noontime match with the Huskies.