Friday, January 13, 2023

Lehigh Vs Cornell Preview (1-14-2023 Saturday)


Cornell is heavily favored in this EIWA showdown, but I don't think it'll be the blow-out that a #3 Vs #16 ranking suggest that it'll be. Cornell may be favored on paper as far as rankings are concerned in plenty of matches, but head to head and history in some cases tells a different story. In my opinion which is worth exactly what you're paying for (you're reading this for free....) I say Cornell is heavily favored in three matches, Lehigh in two & the other five are truly tossups. 

U.R. Carter Bailey Vs #18 Brett Ungar
125 lbs 

This could very well end up being our EIWA 125 lbs semi-final to determine who will meet Princeton's Patrick Glory in the finals. Don't let the "U.R." next to Carter Bailey's name fool you. We're simply in a day in age where the competition is so stiff that many quality of wrestlers have found themselves in and out of the rankings throughout the season. These two freshmen are both looking to do great things for their team & helping to defeat an in conference rival would be one of them.  I look forward to this match between the two rookies. 

#7 Connor McGonagle VS #3 Vitali Arujau
133 lbs  

Vitali Arujau showed us that he is vulnerable with a recent loss to Sam Latona of Virginia Tech & against Lehigh, he better be on his toes for Connor McGonagle. One of the most improved wrestlers in the nation, he's already knocked off Pittsburgh's Mickey Phillippi & he'll be going into this match against Arujau smelling blood. I personally don't agree with Lehigh being 13 spots lower than Cornell in the rankings, and in a dual like this, they can certainly prove me right. This match is vital for both teams. 

U.R. Malyke Hines Vs #13 Vince Cornella
141 lbs 

Here's where Cornell can really open up and give themselves some breathing room. Malyke Hines, despite being a former EIWA champion has not looked all that great this season. Currently 6-8, he'll have to dig down deep inside if he wants to pull out a victory here. Cornella on the other hand is looking pretty solid with a 12-3 record. It's essential for Lehigh that if this match is to end in favor of Cornell, that it ends in a decision. For Cornell, they'll want a major. 

#25 Max Brignola Vs #1 Yianni Diakomihalis
149 lbs 

Anything can happen in the world of collegiate wrestling. Hell there's enough examples in what happened last week to provide plenty of evidence of that being a true statement.  At the same time, Max Brignola is no pushover. A tough competitor in his own right that earned a 3rd place showing at the EIWA's. Still though, we're taking about Yianni Diakomihalis, a three time NCAA champion. A three time champion who recently looked like his old self in an 8-2 victory over Arizona State's Kyle Parco. While it's very plausible that this match only ends in a decision, I'm 99.999% positive it will be a win for Cornell. 

#5 Josh Humphreys Vs U.R. Colton Yapoujian
157 lbs

Twice the round of 12 at the NCAA's, Josh Humphreys is looking better than ever. Currently 9-0, he's been using his phenomenal skills on top to rack up a majority of his wins. Colton Yapoujian, coming off of an injury from last season is currently 3-2. I would wager that a healthy, 100% Yapoujian could keep this match at a decision, but anything less will probably spell a major for Humphreys.  Once Humphreys gets on top, he lets it rock. If he could somehow get a fall here, that poses very well for Lehigh. 

U.R. Brian Meyer Vs #7 Julian Ramirez
165 lbs 

As discussed, if Lehigh wants to stand a shot at upsetting Cornell here, they are going to have to have some major upsets. The idea of Brian Meyer upending Julian Ramirez isn't anywhere near as far fetched as the current rankings might lead you to believe. The problem with Meyer is that he is severely inconsistent, and he's wrestled horribly so far this year.  1-5 on the season, it makes one wonder what in the world is going on with him. Nevertheless, he IS a two time NCAA qualifier. The last time he and Ramirez met, it was only a 3-2 decision for Ramirez. The odds are definitely in favor for Cornell here. I'd say at this point probably 85% or better. Nevertheless, this is not a shoe-in. 

U.R. Jake Logan Vs #4 Chris Foca
174 lbs 

And yet here's another match that reflects quite a few of the others. Jake Logan hasn't been wrestling as well as he's capable, but the key word here is capable. He's already defeated Foca in the past, having defeated him last season in a 5-2 decision. I realize a lot can change in a year, but what this tells me, is that this match could be a lot closer than what you would think an U.R. Vs a #4 would be. 

#20 Tate Samuelson Vs #6 Jonathan Loew
184 lbs 

While the entire dual top to bottom is going to be full of great matches, this could easily be our match of the night.  Thus far Jonathan Loew has been able to defeat Tate Samuelson twice by 6-4 decisions, one of which was in overtime. They say in sports the most difficult thing to do is to beat someone good three times in a row. Yet when you're really good yourself, that is quite doable. This will be a great match. 

#3 Michael Beard Vs #17 Jacob Cardenas
197 lbs 

As we close out our last two matches of the evening (assuming we would start at 125) one of the matches heavily favors Lehigh & the other highly favors Cornell. This is the one that favors Lehigh. An NCAA title contender, if Beard can turn this match into a major, that bodes very well for the Mountain Hawks. I'm sticking with my prediction that this dual is going to be much closer than the #16 Vs #3 rankings would have us believe. Getting a major here could be the difference maker.  With that said, will acknowledge that Jacob Cardenas is no pushover. Getting a lead on him of 8 or more points will be much, much, much easier said than done. 

U.R. Nathan Taylor Vs #18 Lewis Fernandes

I was discussing with someone last night how in a dual situation, even if you lose your match, you can still be a hero for the night. We've seen situations where a wrestlers job is to keep the match at a decision. He's down 8-0 & in the closing seconds he scores a takedown to lose 8-2. His teammates & the fan section go nuts because now the other team only gets 3 team points instead of 4 & they walk out with the 1 point victory over their rival. A very similar situation could plausibly turn up here.  If we start at 125 lbs by the time we get to Heavyweight, there could be a ton of pressure put on both Nathan Taylor & Lewis Fernandes. Pressure for Lewis to get the major, to get the pin, ect. Pressure on Taylor for him not to. Taylor has most certainly had some respectable wins thus far this season. Vincenzo Pelusi, Travis Stefanik, he even pinned Josh Heindselman.  I don't see him defeating Fernandes, but I can definitely see him keeping the match at a decision, even a close decision. 


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