No. 12 Nittany Lion Wrestlers Crush No. 11 Lehigh, 24-12 in Road Dual
Bethlehem, Pa. - January 6, 2006 - The 12th ranked Penn State Nittany Lion wrestlers drilled No. 11 Lehigh 24-12 in a battle of Eastern and Pennsylvania wrestling powers. Head coach Troy Sunderland's team won six of ten bouts and got all five of the night's bonus points in the impressive road win.
The dual began at 149, where Nittany Lion senior James Woodall (St. Dupont, Pa.) pinned Lehigh's Trevor Chinn. Woodall, ranked No. 9 in the most recent NWCA Coaches Poll (1/3/06), was taken down twice in the first two minutes to fall behind 4-2. Woodall would quickly turn the match around with two fast takedowns near the end of the period and notched a pin at the 2:49 mark, putting Penn State up 6-0. Woodall improved to 4-2 with the win.
Penn State's Nathan Galloway (State College, Pa.), ranked 15th, faced Lehigh's 13th ranked Derek Zinck at 157 in a battle of nationally ranked grapplers. The duo wrestled to a scoreless tie after one period with Galloway setting the early tempo offensively. Zinck chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped for a 1-0 lead. Galloway was slowed with a cut over his right eye, resulting in a lengthy delay, and the second period ended with Zinck up 1-0. Galloway chose down to start the third and quickly escaped as well, knotting the score at 1-1 with 1:30 to go. Neither man could score in regulation, however, sending the bout to sudden victory (the duo wrestled to a TB in November with Zinck winning 10-6). After a scoreless 60 seconds, Galloway chose down to begin the first TB period. Zinck would hold Galloway down, forcing Galloway to have to hold his top position in the second TB. Zinck would reverse Galloway to take a 3-1 lead and hold the Nittany Lion junior down to close out the bout. Galloway fell to 8-6.
True freshman David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio) majored Lehigh's Dave Nakasone at 165. Nakasone would score the first take down of the match to take a 2-1 lead after Erwin's escape. Erwin would answer with his own takedown and fight off a reversal attempt near the end of the period. Nakasone would not escape and Erwin took a 3-2 lead into the second. Erwin began the second period down and escaped quickly. Erwin notched another take down with :40 left in the period and would ride Nakasone until the buzzer to lead 6-2 heading into the third. Nakasone chose neutral to begin the third period but was quickly taken down by Erwin. Erwin was reversed, however, and the score stood at 8-4 with 1:46 to wrestle. Erwin would notch another escape and began cutting Nakasone loose in order to work towards an important team bonus point via a major decision. Erwin would turn the trick, posting a 14-5 major to put Penn State up 10-3. Erwin improved to 16-5 with the win.
Junior James Yonushonis (Philipsburg, Pa.) carried his No. 12 national ranking into his bout with 20th ranked Travis Frick in one of the night's top bouts at 174. The duo met in November with Yonushonis grabbing a 6-4 SV win. Frick scored the first take down just :25 seconds into the bout. Yonushonis would escape in short order and battle Frick even for the remainder of the period, trailing 2-1 heading to the second. Frick chose down to begin the second and escaped to take a 3-1 lead, which is how the middle period ended. The third period began with the Nittany Lion junior down. Yonushonis would escape to cut the Frick lead to 3-2 with 1:40 to go in the bout. Yonushonis nearly got a take down with :30 left, but could not get the nod and Frick would post a hard-fought 3-2 win, cutting the Penn State lead to 10-6. Yonushonis fell to 11-3.
For Nittany Lion fans, the most anticipated bout occurred at 184, where senior Eric Bradley (Plaistow, N.H.) made his 2006 debut against Lehigh's David Helfrich. Bradley, ranked No. 1 in the nation, missed the first semester with an injury. Forcing the tempo early, Bradley took the majority of the offensive shots, but Helfrich would hold the All-American off to send the bout to the second period as a scoreless tie. Bradley chose down to begin the second period and quickly escaped. Bradley again dictated action, nearly scoring a takedown but getting a point for an illegal/dangerous hold. Leading 2-0, the Nittany Lion continued to force the issue. He would take that 2-0 lead into the third. Helfrich, who had 17 bouts under his belt his year and a 13-4 record, chose down to begin the third and escaped to cut the lead to 2-1. Bradley would get the elusive takedown with 1:16 left to up his lead to 4-1. He would ride Helfrich long enough to get the riding time point and post a workmanlike 5-2 win. Penn State's lead improved to 13-6 while Bradley moved to 1-0 on the year.
Sophomore Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.) suffered a 3-2 upset loss to Lehigh's Matt Cassidy at 197. Davis, ranked No. 6 nationally, was taken down by Cassidy with :30 to go in the first but would escape in time to send the bout to the second period with Cassidy up 2-1. Davis chose down to start the second and would tie the score with an escape. He would nearly score a take down as the second period ended, but Cassidy fought him off to send the 2-2 tie to the third. Cassidy, down to begin the final period, escaped quickly to take a 3-2 lead with 1:50 left. Davis nearly scored a takedown on the edge of the mat to grab the win with :10 left, but the points were not awarded. Lehigh cut the Nittany Lion lead to 13-9 and Davis fell to 9-3 on the year. Cassidy improved to 15-4.
Junior Aaron Anspach (Columbia, Pa.) would jump out early on Lehigh's Dan Murrer at HWT, scoring an early takedown to set the tempo. Anspach would take a 2-1 lead into the second period. He chose down to begin the second and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. Anspach posted two more take downs in the second period and rode Murrer out to lead 7-2 heading to the third. Murrer chose down to begin the final period. Anspach would pad his riding time cushion before the Lehigh sophomore was allowed out. The Nittany Lion heavyweight would continue to work towards a major decision, notching two more takedowns and riding Murrer out throughout the final :25 seconds. With the riding time point, Anspach would notch an impressive 12-4 major decision and push Penn State's lead to 17-9. He improved his record to 13-8 with the win.
Sophomore Tim Haas (Camp Hill, Pa.) faced Lehigh's Matt Fisk at 125. Haas was the aggressor in the first period but the Lehigh freshman would hold him off for two minutes. Haas' relentless offense would lead to a take down with :34 left in the opening stanza. Leading 2-1, Haas chose down to begin the second period and escaped quickly to go up 3-1. Neither wrestler scored for the remainder of the period and Haas rode a 3-1 lead into the final two minutes. Fisk chose down to begin the final period only to be ridden for :45 seconds. But an escape with 1:15 to go would cut Haas' lead to 3-2. Haas, however, would maintain his offensive pressure and worked his way to an important 3-2 win. Haas improved to 13-3 with the victory and push the Lion lead to 20-9.
Freshman Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), ranked No. 13 in the country, majored Lehigh's John Stout at 133 to clinch the dual for the Nittany Loins. Strayer would dominate the action in the first period and manage a take down with :46 left. The red-shirt freshman would ride Stout out and lead 2-0 after one. Strayer chose down to begin the second. A quick escape was followed by a takedown and three back points, giving Strayer an 8-1 lead. Strayer would nab yet another take down as the second period wound down and had a comfortable 10-2 lead heading into the third. Stout chose down to begin the third, briefly cutting the lead to 10-3 before Strayer would take him down again. Strayer would continue to pour on the offense on his way to a 17-5 major. The win gave Penn State a 24-9 lead and clinched the dual victory. In another marquee match-up, Nittany Lion senior DeWitt Driscoll (Connellsville, Pa.), ranked 12th nationally, faced Lehigh's Cory Cooperman, ranked No. 3. Cooperman scored the first take down of the match just :20 into the bout. Driscoll quickly escaped to cut the Cooperman lead to 2-1. Looking to reverse the memory of a 9-1 defeat at the hands of Cooperman back in the November dual, Driscoll continued to battle the returning All-American throughout the first period. Cooperman, 10-1 heading into the bout, would notch another take down in the first period and take a 4-1 lead into the second period. Driscoll chose down to begin the second and quickly escaped to cut the lead to 4-2, which is how the second period would end. Cooperman chose down to begin the evening's final period and would score a reversal to lead 6-2. Driscoll escaped to cut the lead to 6-3. But Cooperman fought off every Driscoll scoring opportunity and posted an impressive 9-3 win, making the final score Penn State 24, Lehigh 12. Driscoll fell to 8-4.
Penn State improves to 6-2 with the win while Lehigh falls to 5-3-1. The Lions also got their second dual victory over Lehigh this season. Penn State downed Lehigh 18-17 back on Nov. 13 to claim the Pa. Duals title in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions have now won three duals in a row and improved their record vs. ranked teams to 4-2.
Penn State will host No. 10 Cornell on Sunday in a 1 p.m. battle in Rec Hall. Single match tickets can be purchased by visiting the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket Center or by calling 814-865-5555 or 800-863-3336. Prices are $5 for adults and $3 for youth and senior citizens.
Dual Summary #12 Penn State 24, #11 Lehigh 12 January 6, 2006 - Stabler Arena - Bethlehem, Pa. 149: #9 James Woodall PSU pinned Trevor Chinn LU, WBF 2:49 6-0 157: #13 Derek Zinck LU def. #15 Nathan Galloway PSU, 3-1 TB 6-3 165: David Erwin PSU maj. dec. Dave Nakasone LU, 14-5 10-3 174: #20 Travis Frick LU def. #12 James Yonushonis PSU, 3-2 10-6 184: #1 Eric Bradley PSU def. David Helfrich LU, 5-2 13-6 197: Matt Cassidy LU def. #6 Phil Davis PSU, 3-2 13-9 HWT: Aaron Anspach PSU maj. dec. Dan Murrer LU, 12-4 17-9 125: Tim Haas PSU def. Matt Fisk LU, 3-2 20-9 133: #13 Jake Strayer PSU maj. dec. John Stout LU, 17-5 24-9 141: #3 Cory Cooperman LU def. #12 DeWitt Driscoll PSU, 9-3 24-12 Records: Penn State 6-2, Lehigh 5-3-1 Attendance: 4,636 Next up for PSU: Hosts No. 10 Cornell on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Rec Hall.