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Hofstra wrestlers down Army in regular season finale

By Tyler McCord, Staff Writer

The Hofstra Pride wrestling team recorded its fifth straight victory to end the regular season by defeating Army, 26-10.

After an impressive win over Princeton's Garrett Frey in the previous dual match, redshirt sophomore Steve Bonnano (125 lbs) continued his winning streak with an 18-3 technical fall over Army's Travis Coffey in 6:54. Following Bonnano was senior Lou Ruggirello (133 lbs) earning his technical fall in just 5:00 over Jordan Thome.

After Bonnano and Ruggirello's one, two punch, junior Vince Varela (141 lbs) struggled to get off bottom and Army put its first points on the scoreboard with Casey Thome's 4-1 decision over Varela. "If you look at the number of shots that the Army kid took and the number of shots Vince took it's clear to me," said Hofstra head coach Tom Shifflet. "We just need to make sure he's feeling positive next week."

Redshirt freshman Zach Clemente (149 lbs) answered back with a late takedown and back points to secure a 6-4 decision over Daniel Young. "He's a dangerous wrestler," said Shifflet of Clemente. "He can catch you on his back. He's good in every position." After Clemente's triumph, Army's James Rafferty won by decision over Tyler Banks (157 lbs), 6-2.

After a brief conversation between the official and Shifflet, P.J. Gillespie (165 lbs) took center stage on the mat. Gillespie handled his opponent en route to a 13-3 major decision. Gillespie's win made the score 17-6 in favor of Hofstra with four matches left.

Occasionally finding his way into the line-up at 149 lbs or even 157 lbs, sophomore Matt Spataro was shaking hands ready to wrestle with Collin Wittmeyer for the 174 lbs bout, filling in for regular Ryan Patrovich. A much bigger Wittmeyer tried to work Spataro on the line and Spataro eventually tossed him right by for a takedown. Those would be the only points for Spataro as Wittmeyer's sized proved to be too much and Wittmeyer won by major decision, 11-2. The strategy worked out for Hofstra and instead of forfeiting at 174 lbs, the Pride managed to only give up four points for a major decision instead of six if they were to forfeit.

"Matt did a good job," said Shifflet. "He's being outweighed by 20 pounds by a pretty good kid that he had to wrestle. He fought the whole seven minutes and he knew he was out there for the team."

For the second match in a row junior Ben Clymer (184 lbs) was nearly pinned in the first period. Army's Will Brown caught Clymer in a headlock and threw him right to his back, squeezing Clymer's head until his face was bright red. Clymer managed to escape from Brown and avenged a 4-0 deficit to win by decision, 8-5. "He kept his composure,"said Shifflet.

Freshman Matt Loew (197 lbs) extended his winning streak to five straight matches with an 8-1 decision over Daniel Mills. After Loew sealed the dual match for Hofstra, Paul Snyder coasted to a 6-1 decision over Ross Orion.

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