|Kevin Merle||Aidan McNally|
The University of Scranton wrestling team won seven of nine contested matches on Tuesday night to defeat Elizabethtown, 31-15, in the John Long Center in its first dual meet of 2019. The Royals leveled their record at 5-5 on the season with the win while dropping the Blue Jays to 1-6 overall.
Freshman Matthew Murawski (Harrington Park, N.J./Northern Valley – Old Tappan) put the Royals in front in the first match of the day with a 16-0 major decision at 125 pounds. Following a forfeit, junior Brandon Altieri (West Newton, Mass./Newton North) battled to a 2-1 decision at 141 pounds, gaining the deciding point with riding time advantage, to put the hosts ahead 8-6.
A technical fall by the Blue Jays at 149 pounds gave the visitors an 11-8 lead, but junior T.J. Conlon (Long Branch, N.J./Long Branch) scored 16-4 major decision at 157 pounds to give the Royals a 12-11 edge, an advantage that Scranton would not relinquish.
Merle and McNally scored back-to-back pins to push the host's advantage to 24-11. Merle notched his sixth pin of the season and 25th fall of his career, which moved the senior into a tie for fifth place on Scranton's all-time pins list, at the 2:02 mark of the 165 bout. McNally then earned his first career pin 6:18 into the 174 pound match.
Merle's win was the 55th of his career, giving him sole possession of 18th place on Scranton's all-time wins list.
Elizabethtown picked up its final points of the evening with a major decision at 184 pounds before senior Dan D'Agostini (Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) and junior Keegan Connelly (Schnecksville, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) closed out the match with wins for the Royals.
D'Agostini improved to 22-2 on the season at 197 pounds with a 17-5 major decision for his 91st career win, moving to within two victories of third place on the Royals' all-time wins chart.
Connelly earned a 6-2 decision at 285 pounds to lift his record to 20-6 this year and 68-32 for his career. Connelly is now tied for eighth place in program history for career wins.
Junior Kiel Pechko (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) also added an 8-4 decision in an exhibition match for the Royals.
Scranton will be back in action on Saturday at the Will Abele Invitational hosted by Ursinus.