This weekend, the wrestling team (6-4, 3-3 EIWA) enters the meat of its Ivy League schedule, going on the last road trip of the regular season to wrestle Princeton (8-2, 8-2 EIWA) on Friday and Penn (5-6, 4-4 EIWA) on Saturday.
The Lions will be fighting for second place in the Ivy League, having been eliminated from first-place contention by Cornell in last Friday's match. A schedule front-loaded with Ivy opponents allowed the Big Red to sew up its 12th consecutive Ivy title with last Friday's 22-15 victory over the Lions.
This weekend's dual meets still count for EIWA standings, though. Head coach Carl Fronhofer said the Lions can treat Ivy League teams like other opponents, but noted that facing the Ancient Eight squads more frequently is a double-edged sword.
“I don't think it's a difference,” he said. “I mean you know each other a little bit better, it's a little easier to scout, obviously, but that works on both sides.”
Lions senior co-captain Matt Bystol also said the familiarity of Ivy League opponents cuts both ways.
“We see these guys a lot, throughout the year, too, not even just in the Ivies, so it can help you and it can hurt you to know your opponent so well,” he said. “They know you really well, so I don't think it's too much of an advantage. It's just something that's there, you've got to be prepared for.”
The first meet of the back-to-back will pit the Light Blue against a Princeton team on a three-meet winning streak. The Tigers defeated Boston University and Brown by close margins last weekend, guaranteeing Princeton its first winning season since 2000-01.
“Princeton's an interesting match, and when you look at the dual on paper, there's not a lot of head-to-head, where our strength meets their strength,” Fronhofer said. “Their best two guys in their lineup are probably 149 and 197, so that's a good opportunity for those two guys on our lineup to try to steal a couple good wins.”
On Saturday at Penn, however, Fronhofer expects the meet to turn on a couple bouts in weight classes where both teams have been strong. The Quakers lost to Brown last weekend and have lost three of their last four dual meets.
“The Penn matchup's got a little bit more probably intriguing match-ups. Fifty-seven [157 pounds] and 65 [165 pounds] are both really big matches,” he said. “All four guys competing in those two weights are nationally ranked, so those are critical matches for both teams to try to get wins there.”
The Lions wrestle Princeton at 7 p.m. on Friday, before traveling to Penn to wrestle on Saturday at 1 p.m..