On the heels of a road victory at Drexel last Sunday, the Binghamton wrestling team came up short twice this weekend at the West Gym, falling to Old Dominion, 21-12, on Friday before American eeked out a narrow 21-19 victory in the final seconds on Saturday.
Friday’s contest saw the Bearcats (3-9) jump out to a 3-0 lead after junior 125-pound David White earned an 11-6 win. From there, however, Old Dominion (4-8) began to dominate, taking the next four duels en route to a 14-3 lead.
Sophomore Vincent Grella stopped the bleeding with a 4-3 decision at 165 after a takedown with only 26 seconds left in the bout, but back-to-back wins by ODU at 174 and 184 sealed the match. BU’s one-two punch of senior 197-pound Cody Reed and junior heavyweight Tyler Deuel each defeated their opponents in the final two bouts, with Reed earning a 3-1 victory and Deuel notching a 6-2 win.
On Saturday, Binghamton made some adjustments that nearly translated into a victory over American, but junior 149-pound Joe Bonaldi was on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision in the final match that came down to the final seconds and gave the Eagles (6-5) a 21-19 win.
“It was highly competitive, highly entertaining — had all the elements of a great athletic competition,” Binghamton head coach Matt Dernlan said. “Even though we came up on the short side, coming down to the last minute, it was a fun match to be a part of. The guys really competed hard.”
Reed earned his most impressive win of the season, defeating 12th-ranked Daniel Mitchell on a takedown in the final three seconds. He moves to 20-8 overall in 2013-14, and 10-3 in duals.
Deuel followed suit and pinned Blake Herrin in the first period after just 2:24. Herrin was ranked No. 23 in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel, while Deuel entered the match ranked 31st. It was Deuel’s team-high 22nd win of the season (22-5, 11-2 duals).
“I’ve been pretty pleased with our growth the last month of the season collectively,” Dernlan said. “I think from an individual standpoint we’ve got a lot of great individual performances. It was probably highlighted this weekend by Reed. And I think obviously Tyler continues to set the bar for our team. With his style of wrestling, he’s putting a lot of points on the board. He’s getting a lot of bonus points almost every single match.”
The Bearcats are less experienced and pack less of a punch than in recent years past, but Dernlan says his team has steadily progressed through 2014 and that he expects another hard-fought and close battle when the Bearcats host Boston University next weekend.
“There’s some minor technical adjustments we need to address throughout the week. But I think from an effort and an attitude and a fight standpoint, we’re really starting to click,” Dernlan said. “The reality is, there’s several weight classes where our guys, they’re kind of outgunned, to be honest with you. So they have to find a way to fight, scratch and claw and not give up bonus points. And if they can do that, if some of our weak spots can stop the bleeding and not give up big bonus points, and then we have some of our other guys get bonus points, that will probably be our reality for the next month here.”
Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the West Gym.