Hempstead, N.Y. – Falcon wrestling battled back from a nine-point deficit to defeat Hofstra, 21-12, Friday afternoon in Hempstead, N.Y. The victory marked the Falcons second of the day, defeating Long Island University-Post, 25-12, a mere half hour prior to the dual against Hofstra. The Falcons, now 6-1 overall, return home on a six-win streak.
In the first action of the day, Long Island-Post came out strong against the Falcons, winning the opening match in the 197 class with a 3-2 decision. The Falcons bounced back with a 7-3 decision win by freshman Joe Hensley in the heavyweight class. Senior Drew Romero took the mat in his 2018 debut with style, posting a fall over Nicholas Conetta in 4:08, propelling Air Force to a 9-3 lead.
After an Air Force forfeit the 133 bout, LIU-P tied the team score at nine, and subsequently took the lead, 12-9, with a 5-3 decision win in the 141 class. A down, but not deterred, Air Force team then turned on the afterburners, rattling off five-straight wins in the remaining matches.
Senior 149-pounder Dane Robbins added a second bonus point win with a 9-1 major decision. Freshman Parker Simington followed up with a 7-2 decision in the 157 class. In the 165 bout, Alex Lopouchanski blanked his opponent, 6-0. Senior 174-pounder Michael Billingsley posted an 8-1 victory followed by freshman Jimmy Weaver’s 9-5 decision win to put the dual away, 25-12.
Thirty minutes later, in the second dual of the day, Air Force took the mats against host university, Hofstra. Air Force was the first to put a tally on the scorecard with a 3-2 decision win by junior 197-pounder Anthony McLaughlin. The Cleveland, Ohio native is 10-0 in dual matches dating back to the beginning of last season.
Hofstra countered hard, rattling off three consecutive victories in 285, 125 and 133 classes, led by ninth-ranked heavyweight, Mike Hughes, who posted a fall over Hensley in 1:25.
Testament to the Falcons’ grit in tough situations, Air Force’s upper class veterans led the rallying charge. Sophomore Garrett O’Shea quelled the Hofstra rally, posting a commanding 7-2 victory in the 141 class. At 149, Robbins took to the mat for his second match of the day, where he won a convincing 7-2 decision to put Air Force within three points on the team scorecard.
Junior 157-puonder Alex Mossing tallied the tying score with a 6-2 decision followed by Lopouchanski’s 6-5 decision to take the team lead, 15-12. With two matches remaining and Hofstra gunning for the lead, Air Force seniors stepped up to the challenge.
Billingsley took the mat for the second time of the day in the 174 class, posting a 4-3 decision win to extend the Falcons’ lead, 18-12. Needing a fall to secure a tie, Hofstra’s 184-pounder, Cory Damiana, took the mats gunning for senior team captain Zen Ikehara. Ikehara displayed his toughness and defensive ability as he fended Damiana off for three periods. The pair entered sudden victory overtime tied at one. Determined to shut down Hofstra’s chance to tie, Ikehara found an opening for a takedown and claimed the final bout, 3-1. The victory marked the Falcons largest comeback deficit of the season.
Air Force continues action on Sunday as the squad opens the home dual slate against No. 15 South Dakota State, at 11 a.m. MT. South Dakota State is led by 2017 All-American and NCAA runner-up, No. 1 Seth Gross in the 133 class. The Jackrabbits also boasts the sixth-ranked 197, Nate Rotert, 11th-ranked 157, Luke Zilverberg, the 11th-ranked 174, David Kocer, The Falcons are 4-10 against the Jackrabbits in the all-time series.
AIR FORCE vs. LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY-POST, Jan. 12
197: Robert Pease (LIU-P) Dec. Casey Jumps (AF) –3-2 | LIU-P 3, AF 0
285: Joe Hensley (AF) Dec. Damien Caffrey (LIU-P) –7-3 | LIU-P 3, AF 3
125: Drew Romero (AF) Fall Nicholas Conetta (LIU-P) –4:08 | AF 9, LIU-P 3
133: Bryan Romero (LIU-P) FF Unknown (AF) |AF 9, LIU-P 9
141: Joseph Calderone (LIU-P) Dec. John Twomey (AF) –5-3 | LIU-P 12, AF 9
149: Dane Robbins (AF) MD Peter DeTore (LIU-P) –9-1 | AF 13, LIU-P 12
157: Parker Simington (AF) Dec. TJ Fabian (LIU-P) –7-2| AF 16, LIU-P 12
165: Alex Lopouchanski (AF) Dec. Jackson Mordente (LIU-P) –6-0 | AF 19, LIU-P 12
174: Michael Billingsley (AF) Dec. Dan Arkow (LIU-P) –8-1 |AF 22, LIU-P 12
184: Jimmy Weaver (AF) Dec. Dan McClure (LIU-P) –9-5 | AF 25, LIU-P 12
FINAL: AIR FORCE 25, LONG ISLAND-POST 12
AIR FORCE at HOFSTRA, Jan. 12
197: Anthony McLaughlin (AF) Dec. Nezar Haddad (HOF) –3-2 | AF 3, HOF 0
285: #9 Mike Hughes (HOF) Fall Joe Hensley (AF) –1:25 | HOF 6, AF 3
125: Jacob Martin (HOF) Dec. Tony DeCesare (AF) –6-4 | HOF 9, AF 3
133: Vinny Vespa (HOF) Dec. Isaac Jimenez (AF) –3-2 | HOF 12, AF 3
141: Garrett O’Shea (AF) Dec. Charlie Kane (HOF) –7-2 | HOF 12, AF 6
149: Dane Robbins (AF) Dec. Ryan Burkert (HOF) –7-2 | HOF 12, AF 9
157: Alex Mossing (AF) Dec. Connor Muli (HOF) –6-2 | HOF 12, AF 12
165: Alex Lopouchanski (AF) Dec. Chris Mauriello (HOF) –6-5 | AF 15, HOF 12
174: Michael Billingsley (AF) Dec. Anthony Oliveri (HOF) –4-3 | AF 18, HOF 12
184: Zen Ikehara (AF) Dec. Cory Damiana (HOF) –3-1 SV1 | AF 21, HOF 12
FINAL: AIR FORCE 21, HOFSTRA 12