Second-Ranked Nittany Lions Throttle No. 22 Pitt 30-7 in Intra-State Wrestling Rivalry
Jan. 21, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 2 nationally, dominated No. 22 Pittsburgh in front of over 5,500 fans in a packed Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions won eight of ten bouts, including the night's two marquee match-ups at 141 and heavyweight, to post a 30-7 non-conference win and improve to 12-0 on the year.
Pitt picked up an early win at 125 as Penn State gave senior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.), ranked No. 11, the night off. The Panthers got a major from Anthony Zanetta over Eric Caschera (South Williamsport, Pa.) to take an early lead. But Nittany Lion sophomore Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa), ranked No. 5 at 133, answered with a 17-5 major over Pitt's Shelton Mack to tie the score. True freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) notched an early signature win by dominating No. 7 Tyler Nauman 8-4 at 141 to give Penn State a lead it would never relinquish. Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), ranked No. 5 nationally, picked up an 8-2 win at 149 and undefeated freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 3 at 157, notched a 26-11 technical fall over Pitt's Donnie Tasser to give Penn State a 15-4 lead at intermission.
Pitt's Ethan Headlee improved to 21-8 on the year with a tough 4-0 win over Penn State's Jake Kemerer (Greensburg, Pa.) at 165. Penn State had the quick answer, however as freshman Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 174, pinned Andy Vaughn at the 5:45 mark to put Penn State up 21-7. All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 184, tacked on a hard-fought 12-7 win over 20-bout winner Max Thomusseit and true freshman Nick Ruggear (Oxford, Pa.) posted a solid 4-2 win over Pitt's Phil Sorentino at 197. The dual ended at heavyweight in a battle of top six grapplers. Penn State's Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio), ranked No. 6, notched a first period takedown and then used a full second period ride-out to down No. 3 Ryan Tomei 3-2 to thrill the Penn State faithful and put a capper on the dominating evening can cement the 30-7 win.
With the, the Nittany Lions remain undefeated at 12-0, tying the best start in the school's long and storied history (no losses or ties). The 12-0 mark ties the 1971-72 team finished the year with a 12-0 record. Penn State won the takedown battle 23-12 and posted a 6-1 edge in bonus points. Taylor's technical fall at 157 gives the Lion freshman 23 bonus wins on the year (major, TF or pin), which is ninth all-time in a single season at Penn State.
Penn State returns to on Sunday in a Big Ten road dual at Indiana. Action in Assembly Hall begins at 1 p.m. and the dual will feature a live HD web broadcast at www.bigtennetwork.com. The Big Ten StudentU production will then air on the Big Ten Network later the following week in an abbreviated form.
Penn State's next home dual is already a sellout (Sunday, Jan. 30, vs. Iowa at 2 p.m.). Tickets are also selling fast for the Lions' final two home duals (Feb. 11 vs. Illinois, Feb. 18 vs. Wisconsin) but are still available. Fans wishing to purchase single dual meet tickets can place their orders by calling 814-865-5555 or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket pricing is $8 for adults and $5 for youth, and there will be a limit of eight tickets per order. Group sales are also available. The 2010-11 Penn State wrestling season is presented by the Family Clothesline. All Penn State events will once again air live on Forever Broadcasting's WRSC (1390 AM) and WSQV (92.1 FM). All radio broadcasts are streamed live at GoPSUsports.com as part of the All-Access package. The 2010-11 Penn State Wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline.
125: Nittany Lion senior Brad Pataky (Clearfield, Pa.), ranked No. 11 at 125, was given the night off to rest an injury and classmate Eric Caschera (South Williamsport, Pa.) got the call for Penn State. Caschera took on Panther sophomore Anthony Zanetta. Zanetta picked up the first takedown just :45 to take an early lead. Caschera escaped at the 1:41 mark to cut the lead to 2-1 but Zanetta got in deep on a double leg, forcing a scramble in the middle of the mat. The Nittany Lion senior worked his way around Zanetta, however, and began working for a counter takedown of his own. But the period ended without either wrestling scoring and Zanetta carried the one point lead into the second stanza. Zanetta chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 3-1 lead at the 1:26 mark. The Panther sophomore added a second takedown and led 5-2 after a quick Caschera escape, then quickly tacked on a third to lead 7-2 with :40 on the clock. Trailing 7-2 and facing 1:03 in riding time, Caschera chose down to start the third period and was cut loose to a 7-3 deficit. Zanetta added another takedown and cut to up his lead to 9-4 with 1:35 on the clock. The Panther would add two more takedowns and, with the riding time point, post a 14-5 major.
133: Sophomore All-American Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa), ranked No. 5 at 133, made his Rec Hall debut against Pitt's Shelton Mack. Long tripped Mack, who was backing up for much of the opening period, to the mat for a 2-0 lead at the 1:31 mark, cut him loose and began working for a second takedown in the middle of the mat. Long caught Mack and turned him to his back, nearly pinning him at the :50 mark, but Mack managed to roll through and just give up the takedown. Long rode Mack out to lead 4-1 with 1:01 in riding time after the opening period. Long chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped for a 5-1 lead. His offensive pressure forced Mack into a stall warning right away. Long then pushed Long's shoulders to the mat, worked behind him and picked up another takedown with :40 left to lead 7-1. Long cut Mack loose and used a trip and throw for a 9-2 lead before the period ended. Mack chose down to start the third and escaped to a 9-3 deficit with 1:30 on the clock. Long clinched the riding time point and then tripped the Panther to the mat for another takedown and an 11-3 lead. Long cut Mack loose, took him down and cut him one more time and picked up a riding time point and one final takedown to post the convincing 17-5 major decision.
141: In one of the marquee battles of the tournament, Nittany Lion freshman Andrew Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.), ranked No. 5 at 141, took on No. 7 Tyler Nauman. Alton set the early tempo, forcing Nauman back to the outside circle. The Lion then countered a slight Nauman shot for a takedown of his own to lead 2-0 at the 2:25 mark. Nauman escaped to a 2-1 deficit after a short Alton ride, but the Lion freshman quickly used a high shot at Nauman's shoulders for another takedown and a 4-2 lead. Nauman looked to get in on a single leg with :30 left in the opening period, but Alton was able to back out of trouble and carry the 4-2 lead into the middle stanza. Alton chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. Alton tried to work a second shoulder throw but Nauman was able to force a stalemate with 1:15 left. Alton, continued to pressure the Pitt junior, however, and used a low single to take a 7-3 lead after a Nauman escape at the :45 mark. Trailing 7-3, Nauman chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 7-4 deficit, but Alton now had 1:02 in riding time. The highly ranked duo battled evenly for the rest of the period and Alton walked away with a hard fought but impressive 8-4 win over the 7th ranked Nauman.
149: Two-time All-American Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), ranked No. 5 at 149, met Pittsburgh freshman Dane Johnson. The veteran Lion wasted no time in taking an early lead, using a shot through Johnson's midsection for a 2-0 lead at the 2:24 mark. Molinaro then put forth a punishing ride, controlling Johnson for the entire period while trying to turn the Panther for back points. Johnson managed to keep Molinaro from turning him, but the Lion senior led 2-0 with 2:24 in riding time heading into the second stanza. Molinaro chose down and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Johnson gained control of Molinaro's right leg at the 1:10 mark, but the Lion junior was able to fight off the move and maintain his lead by forcing a reset with :49 on the clock. Molinaro then turned a high single into a lift and takedown with :18 left to lead 5-0 with well over 2:00 in riding time after two periods. Johnson chose down to start the third period and got hit with a first stall warning before Molinaro cut him loose after clinching the riding time point. Molinaro added a takedown and cut with :08 left and nearly picked up the major as time expired. The 8-2 decision put Penn State up 10-4.
157: Undefeated freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio), ranked No. 3 at 157, took on Panther Donnie Tasser. Taylor wasted no time taking an early lead, using a low trip to move out to a 2-0 lead with 2:28 left in the opening period. Taylor cut Tasser loose and immediately took him down again to lead 4-2 after another cut. The relentless Lion added a third takedown and cut to up his lead to 6-3 before countering a Tasser shot, working his way behind him and adding a fourth takedown with :55 on the clock. Looking to continue to build his lead, Taylor would go on to add two more takedowns before the period ended to lead 12-5 after just 3:00 of wrestling. Taylor chose down to start the second stanza quickly escaped to a 13-5 lead. Tasser countered a Taylor shot for his first takedown to cut Taylor's lead to 13-7, but the Nittany Lion freshman worked his way to a reversal and a 15-7 lead with :58 left in the period. Taylor cut Tasser loose and immediately tripped the Panther to the mat with a low shot to up his lead to 17-9 after cutting him loose with :40 on the clock. Another Taylor takedown gave the Lion a 19-9 lead with :30 on the clock. Tasser escaped with :10 left, but Taylor picked up a final takedown with :02 left to lead 21-10 with 1:24 in riding time heading into the third period. Tasser chose down to start the third period and escaped with 1:25 on the clock. Taylor worked his way around a low Tasser shot for another takedown and a 23-11 lead with 1:00 on the clock. Taylor turned Tasser to his back, clinched the riding time point, and rode the Panther out for the 26-11 tech fall with the riding time point at the 7:00 mark. The five points gave Penn State a 15-4 lead heading into halftime.
165: Red-shirt freshman Jake Kemerer (Greensburg, Pa.) faced off against veteran Panther Ethan Headlee at 165. The duo battled evenly for the first half of the opening period with Kemerer the aggressor. Headlee was able to play defense and keep Kemerer at arm's length until the Lion freshman got in on low single. But Headlee countered the shot and worked himself around for a nice counter takedown and a 2-0 lead as the period ended. Headlee chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 3-0 lead. Kemerer looked to gain control of Headlee's right ankle with :30 left in the second period, but the taller Panther was able to step out of bounds and force a reset in the center circle, maintaining his 3-0 lead into the final period. Down by three, Kemerer chose down to start the third period but could not break free of a strong Headlee ride. The Panther, who had 20 wins heading into the bout, rode Kemerer out and notched the 4-0 win with the riding time point.
174: No. 2 Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) battled Pittsburgh senior Andy Vaughn at 174. The second-ranked Lion took a quick 2-1 lead with a takedown and cut and then immediately added a second takedown to move out to a 4-1 lead. Ruth cut Vaughn loose and added a third takedown and cut before Vaughn took the Lion down on the edge of the mat. But Ruth quickly reversed the Panther to up his lead to 8-5 with 1:15 left in the opening period. After cutting Vaughn again, Ruth used a low single to gain control of Vaughn's legs to up his lead to 10-6 with :20 left. Leading 10-6 with 1:40 in riding time, Ruth chose down to start the second period and immediately reversed Vaughn. Ruth cut Vaughn loose again and then turned another low single into a takedown and a 14-7 lead. Ruth spent the rest of the period trying to turn Vaughn for back points, but the Panther managed to fight off the effort and keep the score at 14-7. Trailing by seven and already giving up the riding time point (Ruth had 3:07 in time), Vaughn chose down to start the third period. Vaughn escaped, took a quick shot, but Ruth countered for another takedown and a 16-8 lead. The Penn State freshman then completed a cradle on the Panther senior and pinned his veteran opponent at the 5:45 mark to put Penn State up 21-7.
184: Sophomore All-American Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.), ranked No. 6 at 184, returned to action for the first time since Dec. 5 and met Max Thomusseit. Wright quickly turned the 20-bout winner to his back for a near fall, almost pinning him right out of the gates. Thomusseit fought off the move but the takedown and back points gave Wright a 5-1 lead after Thomusseit escape. Thumusseit then answered with a takedown of his own to cut the lead to 5-3 with 2:00 on the clock. Wright escaped to a 6-3 lead after a reset and action resumed in the center circle. There was no more scoring for the opening period and Wright led 6-3 heading into the second period. Wright chose down to start the period and escaped to a 7-3 lead. Thomusseit used a high double to work Wright to the mat and cut the Lion All-American's lead to 7-5 with :40 on the clock. Wright worked his way behind the Panther and picked up a two-point reversal to lead 9-5 after two furious periods of action. Thomusseit chose down to start the third stanza and reversed Wright to cut his lead to 10-7 after cutting the Lion loose. Wright would battle Thomusseit evenly for the rest of the bout and add one final late takedown to post a 12-7 win, clinching the dual for the Lions and putting the team up 24-7.
197: True freshman Nick Ruggear (Oxford, Pa.) took to the mat against Pitt senior Phil Sorentino. Ruggear took the early lead with a 2-0 takedown at the 2:09 mark, using a solid midlevel shot to take the Panther down. Ruggear then rode the veteran Panther for 1:05 before Sorentino escaped. The rest of the opening period was scoreless and Ruggear led 2-1 after three minutes of wrestling. Sorentino chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 2-2 tie (Ruggear had 1:15 in riding time). But the Lion true freshman quickly gained control of Sorentino's ankle and nearly picked up another takedown. But the takedown was waved off as action moved out of bounds with 1:20 left in the period. Tied 2-2 with 1:17 in riding time, Ruggear chose down to start the final period. The Lion rookie quickly worked his way free to a 3-2 lead while maintaining a 1:09 time edge. Ruggear then gained control of Sorentino's ankle and worked for another takedown, but action moved out of bounds once again and a reset was called with 1:18 on the clock. The duo scrambled at the :30 mark, with Sorentino gaining control of Ruggear's right leg, but the Lion freshman easily forced a tie-up and killed the clock. The solid defense gave the Nittany Lion a 4-2 win.
285: In a battle of ranked heavyweights, No. 6 Cameron Wade (Twinsburg, Ohio) took on No. 3 Ryan Tomei. The talented duo traded early barbs, with each man looking for a chance to take a lead. Action was centered in the middle of the mat but neither grappler could break through the other's defense until the very end of the period when Wade countered a Tomei shot and rolled behind him for a low double leg and a takedown at the buzzer. Trailing 2-0, Tomei chose down to start the second stanza but could not work his way free of Wade's ride. The Lion junior scrambled to maintain control of Tomei's feet and worked his way back into control from the top, building up a solid riding time edge in the process. Wade maintained his control of Tomei for the entire period and led 2-0 with 2:03 in riding time after two periods. Wade chose down to start the third but Tomei maintained control for over a minute before cutting him loose to a 3-0 deficit. Tomei picked up one late takedown but Wade walked away with a 3-2 win, giving Penn State a 30-7 win.