Tigers end regular season
While there was plenty at stake during last week’s match against Catasauqua, Northwestern’s senior night took center stage early on for seven Northwestern upperclassmen. It was the Tigers’ final home match of the regular season before.
A setback against those Rough Riders cost the Tigers a chance at a West Division crown and a spot in the league four-team tournament. Catasauqua (5-3 in Colonial League) picked up four forfeit victories that helped the Rough Riders pull out a 42-31 win over the Tigers last Wednesday night at Northwestern High School.
Catasauqua earned the fourth and final spot in the Colonial League tournament, beating out Northwestern (5-3) by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Rough Riders lost to Saucon Valley in the semifinals, 68-0, and the Panthers went on to win their seventh league title.
“They wrestled like there was something at stake and we did not,” Northwestern head coach Jim Moll said. “We expected a tough match. We got pinned in matches where I had us down for wins, which hurts. That’s a nine-point swing sometimes.”
After Ryan Haas earned a forfeit win at 160 pounds, Will Dellicker grinded out a 7-3 decision over Catasauqua’s Bradley Panto in the next bout to tie the match at 9-9 early. But Catasauqua responded.
The Rough Riders won four of the next five bouts—including falls for Adam Reinhart at 182 pounds and Jaryn Hartranft at 106—to take a commanding 33-15 lead. There were also two forfeit wins in that stretch for the Rough Riders.
That stretch turned out to be the deciding factor early on. Much like the second bout of the match where Northwestern’s Ryan Fink nearly earned a pin in the first period, but only to be pinned himself seconds later, a similar scenario played out at 182 pounds. That’s a 12-point swing that would have made a difference in the end for Moll and the Tigers.
“Those are two bouts [I thought we had a chance to win],” Moll said. “And 145 we had a shot to win. There were others where we could have done a lot better.
“It’s huge, especially when you get pinned there. If you’re expecting a win and you get pinned, that’s a nine-point swing. It could have gone either way. This might be a match where if we wrestle ten times, there might be 10 different scores.”
Tyler Watson pinned Donovan Gair in the opening minute of the first period at 195 pounds in the most convincing Tiger win of the night.
“He’s one of our few guys that wrestled well,” Moll said.
Despite the rough start, the Tigers ended the match on a high note with two strong wins from Donovan White and Harrison Bernhard. Both picked up first-period pins against their opponents.
The seven seniors that were honored were Dellicker, Fink, Haas, Jake Casciano, Hayden Ledeboer, Justin Suranofsky and Donovan White.
As the No. 10 seed in districts, Northwestern will face No. 7 Tamaqua in the first round on Thursday at Liberty High School at 6 p.m. The winner of that match will go on to face No. 2 Notre Dame (Green Pond) in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m.