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Spartans Take Control of ECIC II

Starpoint got off to a fast start at #7 Amherst in a Friday night edition of the league rivalry to secure a 43-34 win. The dual featured six ECIC finalists and one league champion. Going into the Christmas break the #9 Spartans sit atop the ECIC II standings now 4-0 in league action and 11-5 overall. Not only was it a league win for Starpoint but a revenge win as well after having lost to the Tigers in the first weekend of the season, 42-30.

“It was a collective team effort” stated Starpoint head coach Steve Hart following the win. “Each kid did their job whether it was not getting pinned, pinning, or winning on a decision.”

The dual started at 106-pounds where Derek Kneeppel earned a come from behind pin to give Starpoint the first points of the night. Consecutive pins by Dylan Lyness and Christian Lasher at 113 and 120, respectively, an Amherst forfeit to Gavin Lyness at 126, and another pin by Jacob Eckler put the Spartans up 30-0 after five bouts.

In a calculated move Coach Hart weighed senior Sam Stoelting (season record 18-2) in at 132-pounds making him eligible for both the 132 and 138-pound bouts. Stoelting normally competes at 126-pounds. Coach Hart was able to match Stoelting up on Amherst’s Hassan Dobbins at 138 and earn a major decision victory and four more team points for the Spartans now up 34-0.

The momentum took a shift in Amherst’s favor beginning at 145-pounds when Hayden Burrows earned a pin for the home team. A major decision win for Lenox Walker at 152 and consecutive pins by Matt ‘Mad Dog’ Mohan and Jonah Christakis helped the Tigers climb back into reach of the Spartans.

Amherst looked to take control of the match starting at 182-pounds with the ‘teeth’ of the Tiger lineup in the heavy weights. Amandip Deo had to settle for a tech fall to give the Tigers five team points. Starpoint’s Gabe Lee answered with a critical overtime win at 195-pounds. At 220-pounds Keith Coleman held Amherst’s Raman Singh to only a major decision win where the Tigers hoped for a pin.

In a league final rematch at 285-pounds Starpoint’s David Meyer was able to hold Ryan Bitka to a 7-0 decision for only three Amherst team points. With only one bout left the team score was 37-34 Starpoint.

At 99-pounds Amherst needed at least a major decision victory in order to win the dual outright. A decision win would have tied the match and Starpoint would thus win on criteria. Unfortunately for the Tigers 7th grade Spartan standout Gage LaPlante was ready to ice the match. LaPlante did so with a first period pin at 99 to make the final score 43-34.

Starpoint hosts #2 small school Pioneer in a critical ECIC II showdown on Thursday, January 3rd.

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