No. 1 Lander starts, finishes strong to take down UNC Pembroke

PEMBROKE, N.C. -- The top-ranked Lander Wrestling team got three gritty decisions to start the match against UNC Pembroke and closed with three straight bonus point victories in the last three bouts to seal a 31-9 victory over the Braves in front of a rowdy crowd at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court on Thursday evening.

The win is the Bearcats' second straight in the series and also the second straight time they held the Braves under ten points as they won last year's matchup 30-7.

Lander improves to 2-0 overall and in Conference Carolinas action while Pembroke drops to 1-1 overall and in conference.

James Joplin, ranked second in the NWCA poll, would set the tone early on as he would get a second period reversal and a third period take down to grit out a 6-4 decision over No. 11 Logan Seliga to give Lander the 3-0 lead.

Kaden Kuenzi got out to a 7-2 lead and had to hold off a third period comeback by Logan Robinson to take a 8-7 decision to make it 6-0, Bearcats.

At 141, Isham Peace trailed going into the final period but got a reversal and a stalling penalty point to help earn a 6-3 decision to add three more points to Lander's total.

The hosts would cut the lead down to four with a technical fall at 149 but Jack Tangen would get four of those points back with a wild 21-12 major decision that saw him get four takedowns in the final two minutes of action.

David Hunsberger added five more points to make it 18-5 as he cruised to a 21-3 tech fall.

The Braves tried to make a run starting at 174 where they got a major decision but Nate Bukovich earned a major of his own to seal the victory at 22-9.

No. 10 Anthony Yacovetti and No. 2 Juan Edmond-Holmes each earned bonus point wins in their dual debuts after winning by forfeit against Limestone. Yacovetti won via a 17-1 tech fall in 4:45 while Holmes used three third period takedowns to earn a 17-6 major decision.

After the match, head coach R.C. LaHaye praised his team and how they responded to the hostile atmosphere. "I am very proud of our team and their performance top to bottom, especially against a hostile crowd this early in the season. Obviously, there are things we need to work on but anytime you can go into another school's gym and earn a win, it's a good night."

The Bearcats return to tournament action this weekend as they travel to the Life University Open on Saturday before breaking for the Thanksgiving holiday. Lander returns to dual action on Wednesday, November 29th against Mount Olive. That match is scheduled for a 7:00 first whistle.

125: James Joplin (Lander ) over Logan Seliga (UNC Pembroke) (Dec 6-4)
133: Kaden Kuenzi (Lander ) over Logan Robinson (UNC Pembroke) (Dec 8-7)
141: Isham Peace (Lander ) over avery buonocore (UNC Pembroke) (Dec 6-3)
149: Jake Piccirilli (UNC Pembroke) over Junior Downing (Lander ) (TF 20-5 7:00)
157: Jack Tangen (Lander ) over Keegan Roberson (UNC Pembroke) (MD 21-12)
165: David Hunsberger (Lander ) over William Lowery (UNC Pembroke) (TF 21-3 5:00)
174: John Joll (UNC Pembroke) over Brandon Matthews (Lander ) (MD 10-2)
184: Nathan Buckovich (Lander ) over Jose Zambrano (UNC Pembroke) (MD 16-7)
197: Anthony Yacovetti (Lander ) over Chad Metikosh (UNC Pembroke) (TF 17-1 4:45)
285: Juan Edmond-Holmes (Lander ) over Massimo Sullivan (UNC Pembroke) (MD 17-6)