PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The Lake Erie College wrestling team puts its three-match winning streak on the line Sunday (Jan. 27) with their biggest challenge of the season to date, a road dual at second-ranked Notre Dame College. Start time for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) match is 1 p.m. at Murphy Gymnasium in South Euclid, Ohio.
The Storm (9-3, 1-1 GLIAC) has rallied from late deficits to win each of their last two matches, including a 25-16 win over traditional nonconference rival Gannon University at home Wednesday night (Jan. 23). Trailing 16-13, Lake Erie won the final three matches to earn their school-record ninth dual victory of the season.
Sophomore Nate Ball (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) got the comeback going with a 12-7 decision at 149 pounds and junior Zak Vargo (Stow, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) followed with a pin at 157 pounds to put the Storm up 22-16. Sophomore All-American Matt Vandermeer (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) closed the night with a 6-3 decision at 165 pounds for the final score.
It was the second straight dual that Ball and Vargo were part of a three-match sweep to rally the Storm. They also accomplished the feat in a 27-17 victory over then 18th-ranked Ashland University on Jan. 15.
Austin Gillihan (Corry, Pa./Corry Area) had arguably the biggest individual win of the night, defeating Jose Matos, 10-5, at 133 pounds. Matos entered the night ranked seventh nationally in that weight class. Two weeks ago, Gillihan upset then eighth-ranked Dan Fogle of the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
Vandermeer is the highest ranked Storm wrestler, checking in at second at 165 pounds in the most recent Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Rankings. Vargo is fifth at 157 pounds in that same poll. As a team, the Storm was listed first among others receiving votes, just outside the Top 20.
Lake Erie has a 2-2 record this season against nationally ranked teams.
Notre Dame (5-1, 1-0 GLIAC) meanwhile is looking to bounce back from having its 22-dual match winning streak snapped by St. Cloud State University at the NWCA National Duals on Jan. 13. The Falcons went 3-1 at that event with wins over Newberry College and the University of Central Oklahoma, both top-five ranked teams, and reached the finals of the event before falling to St. Cloud State.
The 2012-13 season marks the Falcons first as a full member of Division II and their lone season as a member of the GLIAC. Notre Dame won the NAIA National Championship in both 2010 and 2011 and made four consecutive appearances in the event from 2008-11.
Following this weekend's match, the Storm has another tough challenge when they travel to ninth-ranked West Liberty University on Thursday, Jan. 31.
Notre Dame Probable Starters 125: Johnny Papish or Brian Hauser 133: Marty Carlson 141: Mo Miller 149: Jonatan Rivera or James Jenkins 157: Jeffrey Pelton or Louden Gordon 165: Joey Davis 174: Eric Burgey 184: Charles Mason 197: Brandonn Johnson Hwt: Orlando Scales