No. 8 ASU wrestling loses to No. 11 Lehigh, 22-13

The Sun Devils suffered their first loss since November

ASU wrestling was dealt its first loss since November after falling to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 22-13 on Friday night.

Commitment off the bottom was something that head coach Zeke Jones found himself frustrated with throughout the meet.

“I just question how much they really want it,” Jones said.

Two matches were pivotal in momentum swings for multiple future matches. 

ASU would need a spark after redshirt junior Ryan Millhof suffered a tough loss to No. 2 Lehigh senior Darian Cruz. At 125, Cruz defeated Millhof with an 8-3 decision.

At 133 pounds, No. 14 senior Ali Naser grappled with No. 7 Lehigh junior Scott Parker.

Naser scored an early takedown on Parker, but he quickly kicked out of Naser’s grip on the ankles and the wrestlers ended the period neutral. 

Parker chose down going into the second period down 1-2.

Period two was all Parker, scoring an escape and an important takedown, but Naser recovered swiftly and earned a late escape. 

In period three, Naser found himself down 3-4 and chose bottom. Not long into the period, Naser picked up the one-point escape. The rest of the period stalled out and the match was headed into overtime.

With one stall call, the odds were against Parker, but he was able to penetrate Naser’s defense with a smart low-ankle attack.

After the ASU loss, the team score was 6-0 in favor of Lehigh

Entering the 157-pound bout, the Sun Devils were in a huge hole until redshirt sophomore Josh Shields defeated Lehigh junior Ian Brown, 3-1. 

The first period between No. 4 Shields and Brown ended 0-0. 

Brown chose the down position at the beginning of the second period and eventually earned a one-point escape. 

The third period carried all the drama after the match became tied when Shields earned himself an escape point. With 45 seconds left, Shields penetrated nicely and fended off Brown’s gator roll attempt. 

Shields is a Pennsylvania native and is familiar with most of the Mountain Hawks' roster. He said it felt like a regular match in a local wrestling room.

“It was fun to wrestle those guys again,” Shields said.

Shields was the spark for ASU heading into the intermission as he netted ASU's first three team points. 

The Sun Devils put up seven more team points, but was dealt it's first loss of the year by Lehigh, 22-13.

Jones eluded to this dual at the beginning of the season as a big test for the Sun Devils and good preparation for the tournament.

“Having tough competition at the end of the year is important,” Jones said. 

The Sun Devils will have to regroup quickly. ASU will travel to California for its final Pac-12 match of the season against California Polytechnic University Sunday, Feb 11. 

No. 9 ASU 13, No. 11 Lehigh 22

  • Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Ryan Millhof (ASU) 8-3
  • Scott Parker (Lehigh) dec. Ali Naser (ASU) SV 6-4
  • Luke Karam (Lehigh) dec. Nikko Villarreal (ASU) 3-0
  • Cortlandt Schuyler (Lehigh) maj. Jason Tsirtsis (ASU) 11-3
  • Josh Shields (ASU) dec. Ian Brown (Lehigh) 3-1
  • Anthony Valencia (ASU) maj. Gordon Wolf (Lehigh) 16-7
  • Zahid Valencia (ASU) dec. Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) 11-4
  • Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) maj. Kordell Norfleet (ASU) 8-0
  • Chris Weiler (Lehigh) tech. fall Cade Belshay (ASU) 15-0
  • Tanner Hall (ASU) dec. Jordan Wood (Lehigh) 3-3, tb2, rt

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