Delaware Valley Athletics

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – Zeke Pyle’s pin at heavyweight and Charlie Frankel’s decision at 125 pounds in the final two weight classes lifted 23rd-ranked Delaware Valley to a 21-16 come-from-behind victory against No. 14 The College of New Jersey. The Aggies' win snapped the Lions’ 14-match winning streak.

The win was the first in eight career meetings with TCNJ as the Aggies improved to 7-7-1 on the season, with all seven of losses and one tie coming against teams ranked in the top 30. The Lions fell to 18-2 on the year and it was their first setback since an 18-16 loss to 11th-ranked United States Merchant Marine Academy back on Jan. 8. 

TCNJ held a 16-12 lead after Mike Denver, ranked third at 184 pounds, moved up a weight class and improved his record to 30-2 with a 6-4 decision against Aaron Karns (22-4) at 197 pounds for the Lions. That left the Aggies having to win the final two weight classes to pull out the team victory.

Pyle (12-11) gave up a takedown to Kenny Amponsa (2-8) late in the first period to trail 2-0. However, the junior was able to reverse the move and pin Amponsa with 10 seconds remaining in the period (2:50) to give Delaware Valley six points and an 18-16 advantage.

With the team win on the line, Frankel brought his 12-10 record on the mat against Steve Godine (19-10). Frankel notched a takedown 24 seconds into the first and rode Godine the rest of the period. He picked up another takedown in the second for a 4-0 lead plus more than four minutes of riding time. Frankel then got an escape and takedown to up the lead to 7-0 before a Godine reversal with 15 seconds to go make it 7-2. Frankel picked up an escape plus the bonus point for riding time for the 9-2 decision and the win for Delaware Valley.

The meet began at 133 pounds as the Lions’ Dan Herr, ranked seventh in Division III, improved to 29-4 with a 9-1 major decision against Matt Ellis (6-7). However, the Aggies took the next three weight classes – all by decisions – for a 9-4 advantage. Returning All-American Matt Ulrich (16-5) began the run at 141 pounds with a 9-7 decision against Brian Bollette (6-3) while Zak Andrews (24-5) followed with an 11-4 victory against John Darling (24-10) at 149. Returning national qualifier Emmanuel Ajagbe moved up a weight class to 157 for the Lions and improved to 16-8 with a 7-2 triumph against KC Murphy (11-10).

Delaware Valley moved returning All-American and 157 pound top-ranked Jesse Harrington up a weight to 165 to battle No. 8 and returning All-American Justin Bonitatis. After scoreless first, Harrington earned three seconds into the second. However, Bonitatis took Harrington (18-5) down and pinned him with 1:24 to go in the period (3:36) to regain the team lead for the Lions at 10-9. It was the 31st win in 33 matches for Bonitatis this season.

TCNJ upped its lead to 13-9 as eighth-ranked Brian Boderick (26-3) used an escape and takedown in the third period to pull out a 5-3 decision against returning national qualifier Dan Daddino (1-2) at 174 pounds.

At 184 pounds, Delaware Valley’s Jake Phillips started out strong and built a 5-1 second-period lead. However, Mike Kiley battled back to tie it up at 5-5 in the third. Phillips regained the lead with an escape with 53 seconds to go, but Kiley followed with a takedown with 25 ticks left for a 7-6 advantage. As the clock went under 10 seconds, Phillips was able to get a reversal and he held on for his second win of the year and pulled the Aggies to within one point at 13-12.

Denver rebuilt the Lion lead to four, but Pyle and Frankel’s heroics gave Delaware Valley the victory.