Hofstra downs wrestling in first EIWA meeting between former CAA rivals

A pair of familiar foes squared off on the mat Friday night for the first time as members of a new conference, and the home team won.

The Binghamton wrestling team captured the first two bouts, but host Hofstra rattled off eight straight wins for a 28-8 victory as the former Colonial Athletic Association rivals met for the first time as constituents of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association.

The Pride (6-6, 4-2 EIWA) proved their dominance by handing the Bearcats (4-11, 3-8 EIWA) one of their largest losses of the season.

BU head coach Matt Dernlan said he hates to use the word “flat” to describe his team, but he did say that Friday’s performance was “a little off.”

“It just wasn’t consistent with how we have been [performing] this past month,” Dernlan said. “At times it looked like we lacked the confidence to be the aggressors … I hope it was an anomaly.”

After an outing plagued by missed opportunities on takedowns and close losses, Dernlan stressed that his team must apply a “laser focus” as they approach their final three matches.

That intense focus level was apparent early, as 197-pound senior Cody Reed and heavyweight junior Tyler Deuel earned back-to-back major decision victories to put Binghamton on the board first. Although Hofstra claimed the remainder of the night’s victories, Binghamton continued to display strong showings on the mat.

The matches fought in the 125- and 133-weight classes were particularly noteworthy. 125-pound junior David White took Hofstra redshirt senior Jamie Franco — a multiple-time NCAA qualifier — to a second tiebreaker period before a 2-1 loss. 133-pound sophomore Mike Sardo also put forth one of his “most complete matches of the year,” according to Dernlan, in a 5-1 loss against Hofstra redshirt freshman Jamel Hudson.

With the Bearcats scheduled to face three more opponents, including a competitive EIWA Bucknell team, before heading to the conference championship next month, the Hofstra match will serve as a lesson on the importance of consistency. However, this is a team that knows better than to let a loss linger.

“I have a short memory,” Dernlan said. “We just have to put it all behind and move forward.”