Haas’ Pin Helps #8 Penn State Rally for 18-15 Road Win Over #10 Northwestern
By: Pat Donghia
EVANSTON, Ill.; February 1, 2008 – The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the guidance of head coach Troy Sunderland, rallied from a big early deficit to post a thrilling 18-15 win at Northwestern today. No. 8 Penn State split the bouts 5-5 with No. 10 Northwestern, but senior co-captain Tim Haas (Camp Hill, Pa.) provided the bonus points with a pin at 133 to spur the Nittany Lions on to victory.
Haas, who has steadily worked his way back from an injury that cost him the first semester of action, pinned Northwestern’s Eric Metzler at the 3:25 mark to turn a stunning early 9-0 deficit into a closer 9-6 bout. The fall did not just close the gap with the wildcats, it proved to be the difference in the bout as it accounted for the evening’s only bonus points.
With the dual beginning at 197, Northwestern bolted out to an early lead thanks to an upset loss by Nittany Lion All-American Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.) and losses at HWT and 125. Davis was upset by No. 3 Mike Tamillow 6-1. No. 1 Derek Fox posted a tough 5-2 win over No. 15 John Laboranti (Pittston, Pa.) of Penn State and senior Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.), ranked No. 10 at 125, nearly upset No. 5 Brandon Precin but fell, 4-3, in a double tie-breaker. After Haas’ pin, Nittany Lion All-American Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.) once again seemed to have a fall early in the bout but did not get the call and suffered an upset loss at 141. That loss put NU up 12-6.
From that point, the Nittany Lions went on a roll to win four of the last five bouts and grab the victory. Sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.), ranked No. 5, nearly pinned No. 4 Ryan Lang and came away with an 11-8 win at 149; No. 2 Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) moved to 21-0 with an 8-4 win at 157; and Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) upset No. 20 Dominic Marella 6-5 at 165 in another key battle. Rella’s win put Penn State up 15-12. At 174, No. 12 Nick Hayes got a hard-fought 7-4 win over No. 16 David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio) to tie the score with one bout left. Nittany Lion junior Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.), ranked No. 13 at 184, dominated Northwestern’s Adil Kolovic, 14-7, to seal the 18-15 win.
The Nittany Lions are now 10-4 overall, 2-2 in the Big Ten. Northwestern moves to 5-6, 0-2 in conference action. The Lions visit No. 15 Illinois on Sunday at 2 p.m. (Eastern) in yet another road dual. Penn State’s next action at home will be at home when No. 6 Michigan comes to Rec Hall on Friday, Feb. 8, for a 7 p.m. dual. Tickets for all regular season duals are on sale now at the athletic department ticket office in the Bryce Jordan Center. Single-dual tickets are $5 for adults and seniors and $3 for students 18 and under. Penn State students with a proper student ID are admitted free! Fans can call 814-863-1000 or 800-833-5533 to order single-dual or season tickets. All Penn State duals will be broadcast locally on WBLF 970 AM and WKVA 920 AM and streamed live at www.GoPSUsports.com. All home duals will feature a live video webcast and live scoring at www.GoPSUsports.com as well.
#8 Penn State 18, #10 Northwestern 15
Friday, Feb. 1, 2008 – Evanston, Ill.
197: #3 Mike Tamillow NU dec. #2 Phil Davis PSU, 6-1 0-3
HWT: #1 Dustin Fox NU dec. #15 John Laboranti PSU, 5-2 0-6
125: #5 Brandon Precin NU dec. #10 Mark McKnight, 4-3 (2 tb) 0-9
133: Tim Haas PSU pinned Eric Metzler NU, WBF 3:25 6-9
141: Keith Sulzer NU dec. #10 Jake Strayer PSU, 4-3 6-12
149: #5 Bubba Jenkins PSU dec. #4 Ryan Lang NU, 11-8 9-12
157: #2 Dan Vallimont PSU dec. Andrew Nadhir NU, 8-4 12-12
165: Dave Rella PSU dec. #20 Dominic Marella NU, 6-5 15-12
174: #12 Nick Hayes NU dec. #16 David Erwin PSU, 7-4 15-15
184: #13 Phil Bomberger PSU dec. Adil Kolovic NU, 14-7 18-15
Final Score: #8 Penn State 18, #10 Northwestern 15
Records: Penn State 10-4, 2-2 Big Ten; Northwestern 6-5, 0-2 Big Ten
Up next: at #15 Illinois, Sunday, 2 p.m. (Eastern)
197: The dual’s premier match-up took place at 197. A rematch of this year’s 197-pound battle at the NWCA All-Star Classic, the evening began with a meeting of All-Americans. Penn State’s Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.), 12-0 and ranked No. 2, met No. 3 Mike Tamillow of Northwestern, who entered the bout 20-2. Davis ground out a 6-2 win over Tamillow in Oregon in November at the NWCA event. The last two Big Ten champions (Davis in ’06, Tamillow in ’07) battled evenly through the first :30, until Tamillow gained control of Davis’ left angle and pulled his leg up onto his shoulder. But Davis maintained himself and eventually hopped out of the situation, keeping the bout scoreless. Each wrestler traded solid shots, but neither man could break through the other’s defenses and the bout was scoreless after one period. Davis chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Davis nearly scored a minute into the second period, getting in deep on Tamillow’s leg, but Tamillow countered the move and nearly scored himself. But, like the first period, Davis managed to fight through the situation to maintain his 1-0 lead heading into the final period. Tamillow chose down to start the third period, needing an escape to tie the score. Instead of getting just an escape, however, Tamillow reversed the Nittany Lion and led 2-1 with 1:20 left to wrestle. Tamillow then iced the bout by turning the undefeated Lion to his back for a three-point near fall. He kept Davis in that position for the final :25 seconds and posted an impressive 6-1 upset victory and gave NU an early 3-0 lead. The loss for Davis snapped a string of 18 straight Big Ten dual meet victories.
HWT: Penn State junior John Laboranti (Pittston, Pa.) met the nation’s No. 1 heavyweight, Wildcat Dustin Fox, in the next bout. Laboranti and Fox traded shots throughout the first period but neither man had a serious chance to score in the opening stanza and the bout went to the second period tied 0-0. Laboranti chose down to begin the second stanza but could not break free of Fox’s strong ride. The Wildcat big man nearly turned Laboranti for a quick two count, but the Nittany Lion managed to roll through the move without giving up any points. Still, Fox was strong enough on top to ride Laboranti out for the entire period and keep the bout scoreless heading to the third, but amassing a 2:00 riding time advantage. Fox chose down to begin the final period and was let up by Laboranti to a 1-0 lead. Laboranti shot low on Fox’s ankle but Fox countered the move and turned it into a close takedown call of his own to go up 3-0. Laboranti, however, worked around behind the top-ranked Wildcat to score a reversal and cut the lead to 3-2. He cut Fox loose, falling behind 4-2, and began looking for another takedown. But the Wildcat grappler managed to keep Laboranti at a distance and escaped with a hard-fought 5-2 win. The decision, Northwestern’s second straight to start the bout, put the Wildcats up 6-0.
125: In another of the three bouts featuring two top-ten wrestlers, No. 10 Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.) took on No. 5 Brandon Precin of Northwestern at 125. Precin had a quick scoring chance right out of the gates, but McKnight countered on the edge of the mat and nearly scored himself. But action moved out of the circle, forcing a reset with 2:10 left. A flurry of rolls at the 1:20 mark nearly resulted in each wrestler getting near fall points, but again, action moved off the mat and a reset was called with 1:00 left in the opening period. McKnight had another chance to turn Precin as the first period ended, but Precin was quick enough to avoid the takedown and the bout was scoreless after a furious first period. Precin chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. McKnight once again tried to roll Precin to his back, Precin countered the action and put McKnight on the defensive and the Nittany Lion broke free with :42 left. With action moving to the middle of the mat, McKnight completed a single-leg and nearly finished off a takedown, but Precin rolled through the near takedown and held onto his 1-0 lead heading into the final period. Down by one, McKnight chose down and quickly escaped to a 1-1 tie with 1:45 left. But Precin immediately got in on McKnight’s right ankle, nearly getting a takedown of his own. McKnight maintained himself and worked action into a stalemate. Each man tried to score as the period wound down, but action remained tied 1-1 after regulation, sending the bout to a sudden victory period. McKnight tired to drive through on a fireman’s carry, but Precin’s defense kept the bout tied and sent the bout to the first tie-breaker period. McKnight chose down in his half of the session and quickly escaped to a 2-1 lead with just :14 left in the first :30 period. Down by one, Precin chose down for his half and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. Heading to a second 1:00 sudden victory period, McKnight lunged at McKnight and began working for a takedown, but McKnight managed to work underneath Precin and forced a stalemate and a second tie-breaker session. Precin chose down for the first :30 session and instead of just escaping, caught McKnight and reversed him for a 4-2 lead. Now down by two, McKnight chose down and quickly escaped to a 4-3 deficit and had only :25 to get a winning takedown. But Precin’s defense kept McKnight from scoring. Precin escaped with a thrilling 4-3 (2TB) win and put the Wildcats up 9-0.
133: Senior co-captain Tim Haas (Camp Hill, Pa.) battled Wildcat Eric Metzler in the match-up at 133. Haas was the aggressor early on, forcing Metzler to the edge of the mat through the first part of the opening period. Haas got in deep on a single leg and lifted Metzler off the mat at the :40 mark, but the Wildcat grappler managed to hang onto Haas and force a stalemate. Tied 0-0 after one period, Metzler chose down to begin the middle stanza. Haas took advantage of the decision, catching Metzler on the edge of the mat with a spladle and, after a brief struggle, pinned the Wildcat at the 3:25 mark. The victory put Penn State back in the dual, cutting NU’s lead to 9-6.
141: All-American Jake Strayer (South Fork, Pa.), ranked No. 10 at 141, met Northwestern’s Keith Sulzer. Sulzer was coming off a huge win over Iowa’s Dan LeClere last weekend. With 1:35 left, Strayer got Sulzer in a body lock and nearly got a take down. But Sulzer’s strong whizzer kept Strayer from scoring and, after an extended scramble on the edge of the mat, a stalemate forced a reset with :40 left. Neither wrestler scored in an entertaining first period, sending action to the second period tied 0-0. Strayer chose down and began working for a reversal instead of an escape. But Sulzer kept control of Strayer well into the period, building up a sizeable riding time edge while riding Strayer out. While the bout was scoreless, Sulzer had a 2:00 riding time edge and chose down to start the third period. Needing more than one takedown, Strayer let Sulzer out to a 1-0 lead with 1:59 in riding time. Sulzer, however, got in deep on Strayer’s right leg, forcing the Nittany Lion into defense while precious seconds ticked off the clock. After a reset at the 1:32 mark, Strayer tried a cement mixer on the edge of the mat but Sulzer slipped out of the Lions grip and turned it into a takedown of his own and a 3-0 lead with :53 left. Strayer essentially pinned Sulzer with :30 left but, like in his match against Ohio State, did not get the call. He did get a reversal and a penalty point as Sulzer took an injury timeout during a scoring chance. The bout was tied 3-3, but Sulzer’s riding time edge gave him a one point lead with :14. Strayer had what appeared to be a takedown as time expired but once again did not get the call and Sulzer posted a stunning 4-3 win, putting the Wildcats up 12-6 after four bouts.
149: In one of three match-ups featuring top ten grapplers, Nittany Lion Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) met Northwestern’s Ryan Lang. Jenkins entered the dual ranked No. 5 while Lang entered rank No. 4. Jenkins came out like a house of fire, nearly throwing Lang to the mat early with a cement mixer. But Lang fought off the first attempt. Undaunted, Jenkins completed a throw on the edge of the mat, nearly pinning Lang in the process. The takedown and two near fall points put Jenkins up 4-0 early and, after Lang escaped on the edge of the mat, Jenkins quickly grabbed Lang’s ankle and pulled the All-American onto the mat for a takedown and a 6-2 lead (after Lang’s escape). Jenkins chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 7-2 lead with 1:27 left in the second period. Jenkins faked a shoulder throw and then went low for a takedown, but Lang countered the move, worked in for a takedown of his own and then turned Jenkins to his back for a three-point near fall, tying the bout at 7-7 after two periods. Lang chose down to start the final period, but Jenkins turned the Wildcat grappler to his back for two quick near fall points and a 9-8 lead (after a Lang escape). With 1:30 left and riding time not an issue, action restarted in the middle of the mat. Jenkins and Lang traded barbs over the next minute and with :30 left, Jenkins got a bout clinching takedown and rode Lang out. The thrilling 11-8 decision cut Northwestern’s lead to 12-9 with four bouts remaining.
157: Undefeated Penn State sophomore Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), 20-0 and ranked No. 2 at 157, took on Wildcat Andrew Nadhir. Vallimont was aggressive right out of the gate, forcing Nadhir into defense and action towards the edge of the mat. Vallimont got his first takedown with 1:58 left in the opening stanza, taking a 2-0 lead. Vallimont rode Nadhir long enough to collect 1:03 in riding time before the Wildcat escaped. Vallimont could not break through Nadhir’s defense and kept his 2-1 lead heading into the second period. Nadhir chose down and escaped to a 2-2 tie. With Vallimont continuing as the aggressor, the Nittany Lion finally broke through Nadhir’s defenses by getting a text book takedown with :11 left in the period to lead 4-2. Up by two, Vallimont chose down to begin the final period and quickly escaped to a 5-2 lead. Nadhir took his first shot on the edge of the mat, but Vallimont forced a :20 scramble and a reset with 1:10 left in the bout. Looking to ice things, Vallimont snatched Nadhir’s ankle and finished off a textbook takedown with :35 left to up his lead to 7-2. While trying to complete a cradle, Nadhir managed a reversal as the bout ended, but the victory was in the bag for the Nittany Lion. Vallimont’s 8-4 decision tied the dual at 12-12, bringing the Nittany Lions all the way back from an early 9-0 deficit.
165: Sophomore Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) took on No. 20 Dominic Marella of Northwestern at 165. Rella, coming off a win over the ninth-ranked grappler in the nation last weekend, got the first takedown of the bout with a counter takedown as Marella tried a quick throw midway through the first Period. He then put together a strong ride, amassing a :50 riding time edge before Marella escaped to a 2-1 deficit. Rella countered every offensive move Marella made during the opening period and held the 2-1 lead after three minutes of wrestling. The Nittany Lion sophomore chose down to begin the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. Rella forced Marella back towards the edge of the mat again, with each wrestler trading solid shots but no one adding to their score. With :18 left in the period, Rella locked around Marella’s midsection, but a blood timeout was called before the Nittany Lion could finish the move, forcing a reset in the waning seconds of the period. With :02 left, Marella swatted at Rella’s face and caught the Nittany Lion’s right eye, forcing an extended Rella injury timeout before the period ended. Down 3-1, Marella chose down to begin the final period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 deficit. Off a reset with 1:13, Marella shot low on Rella’s ankles and got a go-ahead takedown with 1:14 left in the bout. Needing an escape to tie things up, Rella slowly worked himself free to tie the bout at 4-4 with just :45 left (riding time was not an issue). The Nittany Lion then countered a quick Marella shot and worked his way around the ranked Wildcat to take a 6-4 lead with :28 left. Marella escaped with :12 left but Rella hung on for the impressive 6-5 win. The decision, his second straight over a ranked wrestler, gave Penn State its first lead of the dual, putting the Nittany Lions up 15-12 with two bouts remaining.
174: Penn State’s David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio), ranked No. 16, met No. 12 Nick Hayes of Northwestern in a critical match-up at 174. Hayes shot low on Erwin, nearly getting an early takedown, but Erwin countered and worked himself under and behind Hayes to nearly get a takedown of his own. The early scramble resulted in nothing but a reset, however. Erwin got the bout’s first takedown, getting control of Hayes at the 1:20 mark. The Lion sophomore completed a far-side cradle and turned Hayes for two back points before Hayes escaped to cut the Lions’ lead to 4-1. Hayes then got his first takedown shortly thereafter, getting the points with :25 left and cutting Erwin’s lead to 4-3. Hayes then rode Erwin out, keeping the scored at 4-3 Erwin after a furious opening period. Hayes chose down to start the first period. But Erwin once again began riding the Wildcat wrestler and working to turn him. But Hayes worked himself into a scoring position of his own and, after a scramble in front of the Penn State bench, reversed Erwin to take a 5-4 lead with :38 left in the second period. Needing an escape to tie the bout, Erwin could not work free of Hayes’ ride and trailed 5-4 heading into the third period. Down by one, Erwin chose neutral to start the third period. Hayes, however, got in deep on Erwin’s right ankle and got a key takedown to lead 7-4 with 1:15 left in the bout. Action moved off the mat with :45 left, forcing a reset. Erwin worked himself to his feet but Hayes hung tight and forced another reset with :18 left. Hayes would then ride Erwin out and post a hard-fought 7-4 win. The decision tied the bout at 15-15 heading into the evening’s final bout.
184: With the dual match on the line, No. 13 Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.) took to the mat against NU’s Adil Kolovic at 184. The ranked Lion wasted no time in opening up a 2-0 lead, getting a takedown at the 2:49 mark. After letting the Wildcat up, Bomberger added another quick takedown and leading 4-2 with 1:12 left in the bout. A strong double-leg with :31 left gave Bomberger a 6-2 lead and the Nittany Lion grappler then rode Kolovic out to hold that edge heading into the second period. Bomberger chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 7-2 lead. Another, almost identical, double-leg led to Bomberger’s fourth takedown and a 9-2 lead with just over a minute left in the second period. The Nittany Lion junior then put together a dominating ride, not allowing Kolovic out until the :20 mark. Kolovic , however, notched his first takedown with a double-leg as time expired. Still, Bomberger led 9-5 with 2:47 in riding time heading into the third. Kolovic chose down to start the final period and Bomberger held him just long enough to clinch the riding time point. Kolovic escaped to a 9-6 deficit. With Kolovic more aggressive than early in the bout, Bomberger was able to hold the Wildcat at a distance and then counter a Kolovic shot and get his fifth takedown. The nice move put the junior up 11-7 (after the Kolovic escape) with a bonus point in hand. Bomberger maintained added one more takedown and walked away with a 14-7 win, giving the Nittany Lions a thrilling 18-15 come-from-behind victory.
Tags: Bubba Jenkins, Dan Vallimont, Dave Rella, David Erwin, Jake Strayer, John Laboranti, Mark McKnight, Phil Bomberger, Phil Davis, Tim Haas, Troy Sunderland