LANCASTER, Pa. – A series of close decisions proved to be the difference in a difficult 23-13 loss for the Franklin & Marshall wrestling team against Bucknell on Friday evening at the Mayser Center.
The Diplomats dropped to 1-11, 0-8 EIWA with the hard-fought defeat while the Bison improved to 3-11, 2-5 EIWA.
Edgar Garcia got F&M off on the right foot in the opening 125-pound bout, notching a first-period takedown and holding the lead throughout. Ahead by a narrow 3-2 score late in the third, and with Bucknell's Geo Barzano holding a point with the riding time advantage, Garcia avoided overtime off a takedown with five seconds remaining to seal the 5-2 decision win.
The Bison reclaimed the momentum with back-to-back majors to go ahead 8-3 heading into 149. Each of the next three contests proved to be the deciding point in the match, as all went Bucknell's way due to decisions that were won by less than two points each.
Wil Gil forced overtime at 149 with a late two-point swing in the third period off of stalling and a riding time point but was taken down in the first sudden victory period for a heartbreaking 13-11 loss.
Emmett LiCastri was ahead 1-0 in the second frame of the 157-pound contest before suffering a takedown. LiCastri managed to escape before the end of the frame to tie the bout at 2-2. However, the Bison's Christian Bassolino chose bottom to start the third and escaped to earn the 3-2 win.
Jacob Conners battled at 165 but was undone by an early first-period takedown en route to the 3-1 defeat. Josh Young stopped the bleeding at 174 pounds with a 2-1 victory. Young tallied both of his points in the second thanks to a penalty levied against Bucknell and an escape.
Following a Bison pin at 184 pounds, Philip Robilotto (197) and No. 31 ranked Antonio Pelusi (285) closed the match out on a high note for the Diplomats. Robilotto was dominant in his contest, tallying a takedown and four nearfall points in the opening frame as he rolled to a 9-1 major decision.
Pelusi continued his impressive run with his 12th win in the last 13 matches and improving to 8-1 in duals with a 1-0 shutout at 285. Choosing bottom to start the second, Pelusi recorded the escape before fighting off Brandon Stokes throughout the remainder of the contest.
F&M continues dual competition next Sunday, Feb. 11 with a 3:00 p.m. match on the road at George Mason.
Bucknell 23, F&M 13
125: Edgar Garcia (F&M) over Geo Barzona (BUCK) (Dec 5-2)
133: David Campbell (BUCK) over Dan Martoccio (F&M) (MD 10-2)
141: Tyler Smith (BUCK) over Brett Kulp (F&M) (MD 14-3)
149: Seth Hogue (BUCK) over Wil Gil (F&M) (SV-1 13-11)
157: Christian Bassolino (BUCK) over Emmett LiCastri (F&M) (Dec 3-2)
165: DJ Hollingshead (BUCK) over Jacob Conners (F&M) (Dec 3-1)
174: Josh Young (F&M) over Frankie Guida (BUCK) (Dec 2-1)
184: Drew Phipps (BUCK) over Steven Mercadante (F&M) (Fall 5:31)
197: Philip Robilotto (F&M) over Chad Reese (BUCK) (MD 9-1)
285: Antonio Pelusi (F&M) over Brandon Stokes (BUCK) (Dec 1-0)