Nittany Lions Blank Indiana

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team made a statement in its first conference dual of the 2012 campaign.

8396342.jpegFacing Indiana in the Big Ten opener, the Nittany Lions came out in overwhelmingly dominant fashion, opening the match with four consecutive pins on their way to a 52-0 shutout victory, their largest ever against a Big Ten opponent.

By the end of the afternoon, the Nittany Lions had racked up six pins in a performance that left head coach Cael Sanderson impressed.

"Anytime you jump out 24-0 on a team to start a match it's certainly a good day for you," said Sanderson.  "Our guys took advantage of some things and did a great job."

After sophomore Nico Megaludis set the tone at 125 with a pin over Indiana sophomore Joe Ducha, redshirt freshmen Jordan Conaway and senior Bryan Pearsall kept the ball rolling with pins at 133 and 141 respectively.

Conaway, who was making his Big Ten debut, drove the crowd into a frenzy after he notched the first dual meet pin of his career over freshmen Quin Murphy.

"It was crazy to hear the crowd like that," said Conaway. "I'm not sure if you could get that kind of reaction anywhere but here."

One thing that Sanderson enjoyed seeing out of his three lightest wrestlers was their ability to continuously score points over the course of the match before finishing off their opponents with pins.

"Nico, Jordan and Bryan just kept pursuing and continued to score and get falls," said Sanderson. "They did a real nice job out there."

One wrestler who preferred to finish things off a little quicker was redshirt sophomore Andrew Alton, who notched the team's fourth straight pin at 149.

Alton, who was competing in his first dual meet of the season after returning from injury, needed only 52 seconds to finish off senior Geno Capezio.

"He kind of put himself in that position so I just went with the flow and finished it," said Alton. "It was exciting to be back out there with the crowd again."

Redshirt Sophomore Matt Brown and Junior Ed Ruth also gave the Nittany Lions pins at 174 and 184, respectively.

The most exciting bout of the afternoon, however, was the heavyweight match when redshirt sophomore Jon Gingrich narrowly defeated eighth ranked Adam Chalfant 6-5 to preserve the shutout for the Nittany Lions.

Gingrich, who has been battling with Jimmy Lawson for the starting heavyweight position, fell behind after the first two periods but rallied with two impressive takedowns in the third to claim the victory.

"I think my conditioning really played to my advantage," said Gingrich. "I came in with the game plan to try and tire him out and make him take sloppy shots and that's how it worked out."

Sanderson stated afterwards that he was impressed with how Gingrich handled himself against a ranked opponent.

"That's a big win for him," said Sanderson.  "He faced a big, tough kid and he matched him all the way."

The fact that every Nittany Lion had won their match up to that point gave Gingrich plenty of motivation to keep the Hoosiers off the scoreboard.

"The thought definitely went through my mind that it was going to come down to me for the shutout," said Gingrich. "I just told myself that the score didn't matter and tried to focus on winning."

The fans, who stayed in full force for the entire match, gave Gingrich arguably the loudest cheer after he pulled out the victory.

"To hear the crowd like that is certainly something I've never felt before," said Gingrich. "They made me feel like I could run through a brick wall."

The Nittany Lions will wrestle again next Saturday at home against Lock Haven.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-tb.cgi/41525

Leave a comment