By: Pat Donghia
CHAMPAIGN, Ill.; February 3, 2008 - The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, under the guidance of head coach Troy Sunderland, suffered a hard-fought 18-15 upset loss to homestanding Illinois in Big Ten wrestling action. No. 8 Penn State won only four bouts against No.15 Illinois in its fourth conference road dual in three weeks.
True freshman Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.) pinned No. 11 Ryan Prater at 141, highlighting Penn State's efforts in the dual. The victory helped stem a furious Illinois start as the Illini won the first three bouts to bolt out to a 9-0 lead (action began at HWT). After Scott's pin, sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.) posted a 7-2 decision at 149 to tie the score at 9-9.
But Illinois took the lead with a thrilling victory in the dual's marquee match-up. No. 1 Mike Poeta posted a hard-fought 6-3 win over No. 2 Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) at 157, giving UI a 12-9 lead and giving Vallimont his first loss of the year. Illinois followed that win up with victories at 165 and 174 to take an 18-9 lead. Nittany Lion junior Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.), ranked No. 13 at 184, got a 7-4 win at 184 and senior Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.), ranked No. 2 at 197, closed out the dual with a 1-0 win over No. 13 Patrick Bond to post the final score.
The Nittany Lions are now 10-5 overall, 2-3 in the Big Ten. Illinois moves to 9-2, 1-1 Big Ten. Penn State's next action 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 15, #15 Illinois 18
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008 - Champaign, Ill.
HWT: #19 John Wise ILL dec. #15 John Laboranti PSU, 3-1, 0-3
125: #9 Gabe Flores ILL dec. #10 Mark McKnight PSU, 6-1, 0-6
133: #9 Jimmy Kennedy ILL dec. Tim Haas PSU, 7-3, 0-9
141: Garrett Scott PSU pinned #11 Ryan Prater ILL, WBF (2:21), 6-9
149: #5 Bubba Jenkins PSU dec. Grant Paswall ILL, 7-2, 9-9
157: #1 Mike Poeta ILL dec. #2 Dan Vallimont PSU, 6-3, 9-12
165: Roger Smith-Bergsrud ILL dec. Dave Rella PSU, 3-2, 9-15
174: #17 John Dergo ILL dec. #16 David Erwin PSU, 6-5, 9-18
184: #13 Phil Bomberger PSU dec. Ben Friedl ILL, 7-4, 12-18
197: #2 Phil Davis PSU dec. #13 Patrick Bond ILL, 1-0, 15-18
Final Score: #8 Penn State 15, #15 Illinois 18
Records: Penn State 10-5, 2-3 Big Ten; Illinois 9-2, 1-1 Big Ten
Up next: Friday, Feb. 8 vs. Michigan, 7 p.m. in Rec Hall
HWT: Penn State sophomore John Laboranti (Pittston, Pa.), ranked No. 15 at HWT, met No. 19 John Wise of Illinois in the first bout of the dual. Wise was the aggressor early on, forcing Laboranti to the edge of the mat through the first half of the period. Laboranti got called for stalling during the process. A second stall warning gave Wise a 1-0 lead after the opening period. Laboranti chose down to start the second stanza and could not escape Wise's strong ride until the :42 mark. The escaped tied the bout but Wise had 1:18 in riding time built up. With the bout tied at 1-1, Wise chose down to start the final period, looking to escape quickly enough to keep his riding time edge. He did so quickly and led 2-1 with a bonus point in hand. Laboranti began working for an offensive opening during the third period, but Wise was equal to the task and kept the Nittany Lion junior from recording a takedown. Wise, with a 3-1 decision, put the Illini up 3-0.
125: In one of six battles featuring ranked wrestlers, senior Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa.) took on Illinois' Gabe Flores at 125. McKnight entered the bout ranked No. 10 while Flores checked in at No. 9.
Starting quickly, the duo traded near shoulder throws in the first :20 with action moving off the mat before either man could record any points. Flores nearly got the first takedown at the 1:50 mark, but
McKnight countered and almost turned Flores to his back again. But the Illini senior managed to fight through McKnight's move. With 1:20 left, McKnight once again countered a Flores shot and once again almost took the Illinois grappler to his back. But this time, Flores worked around McKnight to get the bout's first takedown at the 1:08 mark to take a 2-0 lead. McKnight could not break free as the period ended and Flores led 2-0 after one period. McKnight chose down to start the second period,already facing 1:09 in riding time. McKnight escaped at the 1:41 mark, cutting Flores' lead to 2-1. Flores scored a quick takedown at the :45 mark, sliding behind a McKnight shot to up his lead to 4-1. Another rideout gave Flores the three point lead with 2:22 in riding time heading into the final period. Flores chose down to start the third period and McKnight let him up to a 5-1 lead. McKnight worked for a first takedown, but Flores was solid in blocking off his attempts. The 6-1 victory put the Illini up 6-0 after two bouts.
133: Senior co-captain Tim Haas (Camp Hill, Pa.), fresh off his key pin in Penn State's win at Northwestern two nights earlier, met No. 9 Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois at 133. Kennedy got the first takedown of the bout at the 2:33 mark, finishing a double-leg on the edge of the mat. Haas then slid underneath Kennedy and, after a long scramble, reversed the Illini sophomore to tie the bout at 2-2 with 1:29 left in the opening period. But after a reset, Kennedy returned the favor with a reversal of his own at the :56 mark to retake a 4-2 lead. Kennedy then rode Haas out to keep that lead, along with 1:35 in riding time, heading into the second period. Haas chose down to start the middle stanza and once again, Haas worked himself underneath Kennedy and nearly reversed him. But a stalemate stopped action with Kennedy still in control a minute into the period. The ninth-ranked Illini then rode Haas out to hold the
4-2 lead after two periods. Kennedy also assured himself a bonus point with 3:356 in riding time. Kennedy chose down to start the third period but got reversed by Kennedy and trailed 6-3 with 1:29 left to wrestle. Kennedy held off Haas' final shots to post a hard fought 7-3 win. Once again, like Friday night at Northwestern, Penn State found itself down 9-0 after a dual's first three bouts.
141: True freshman Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.) took to the mat against No. 11 Ryan Prater of Illinois. He wasted no time in breaking out to a lead, grabbing Prater's ankle and taking him down and to his back for a four-point move. Prater then escaped to cut the Scott lead to 4-1 with 1:40 left. Prater got in deep on Scott's left thigh, but the talented Lion freshman countered the move, worked behind the ranked Illini grappler and got a takedown of his own. Not content to stop there, Scott completed a cradle, turned Prater to his back and got a thrilling pin at the 2:21 mark. The fall cut Illinois' lead to 9-6.
The win was Scott's first in a Big Ten dual as well.
149: Sophomore Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va.), ranked No. 5 at 149, met Illini Grant Paswall. Paswall was the early aggressor, setting the temp through the first minute, but Jenkins found his opening with a single-leg at the 1:40 mark. But Paswall managed to force a stalemate and a reset, keeping the bout scoreless two minutes into action. Jenkins nearly turned Paswall with a cement mixer at the 1:00 mark. While the Illini managed to stay off his back, Jenkins did get the takedown to inch out to a 2-0 lead. Jenkins then put together a strong enough ride to keep his advantage until the period ended (although he was called for a stall with just :01 left). Down 2-0, Paswall chose down to start the second period but could not escape until the 1:43 mark, giving Jenkins a 1:12 riding time edge. Jenkins began forcing Paswall to the edge of the mat, keeping the Illini grappler on his heels while looking for a scoring opportunity. Up 2-1, Jenkins chose down to start the third period, looking to escape in :12 to keep his riding time edge. Instead of escaping, Jenkins reversed Paswall to up his lead to 4-1. He then put together a solid ride, looking for a turning opportunity and securing the bonus point in the process. A two-point near fall with :30 left put Jenkins up 6-1 and the Nittany Lion sophomore began looking for one more turn to get a major. But Paswall managed to escape in the final seconds, keeping things to a regular decision. The 7-2 win tied the bout at 9-9.
157: In the dual's premier bout, the nation's top two 157-pounders took to the mat when No. 1 Mike Poeta of Illinois met undefeated Nittany Lion Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.), who was ranked No. 2. Vallimont entered the bout with a 21-0 record. Vallimont took the first shot, nearly getting a takedown. But a furious scramble that nearly resulted in each wrestler scoring resulted in nothing and a reset was called with 2:25 left in the opening period. Vallimont once again instigated the action, getting in deep on Poeta's right thigh and working to drive through for the first takedowns. But Poeta managed to force a stalemate and a reset with less than a minute to wrestle in the period. Poeta then got onto the scoreboard with a quick takedown at the :24 mark. After a reset with :04 left, Vallimont notched a furious escape to cut the lead to 2-1 with just :01 left. Poeta chose down to start the second stanza and escaped to a 3-1 lead. Neither wrestler had a scoring chance in the first part of the middle period. With :12 left, Vallimont nearly scored on a takedown but Poeta once again managed to lock the Nittany Lion up to keep his 3-1 lead heading into the final period. Vallimont chose down to start the last period and quickly escaped to cut Poeta's lead to 3-2. Vallimont forced Poeta into a first stall warning and then began taking a flurry of shots, trying to quicken the pace of the bout. Poeta countered once of Vallimont's shots and got his second takedown on the edge of the mat, upping hiss lead to 5-3 after a
Vallimont escape. But the Illini junior had enough left to post the exciting and hard-fought 6-3 win (with riding time). The victory put Illinois back on top, 12-9.
165: Sophomore Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) met Roger Smith-Bergsrud at 165. Rella, who was riding a two match win streak over ranked wrestlers, battled the Illinois junior evenly through the first half of the opening period. But Smith-Bergsrud completed a double-leg on the edge of the mat to get the bout's first points at the 1:12 mark. Rella quickly escaped after a reset to cut the lead to 2-1 and then the Nittany Lion sophomore upped his tempo. While forcing Smith-Bergsrud to the edge of the mat over the last minute of the period, Rella could not break through for his first takedown and trailed 2-1 after one. Rella chose down to start the second stanza and quickly escaped to a 2-2 tie. Continuing to set the tempo, Rella got hold of Smith-Bergsrud's left ankle and nearly got the takedown on the edge of the mat. But the Illini grappler fled the mat and forced a reset with 1:10 left. Rella could not break through Smith-Bergsrud's defense and the bout headed to the third period tied at 2-2. The Illini chose down to start the third period and escaped to a 3-2 lead. Needing a takedown, Rella pressured Smith-Bergsrud for the full two minutes, but the Illini grappler managed to back away from every Rella shot and escaped to a 3-2 win. The victory gave Illinois a commanding 15-9 lead with just three bouts left to wrestle.
174: In a key match-up at 174, Nittany Lion David Erwin (Urbana, Ohio), ranked No. 16, met No. 17 John Dergo of Illinois. Dergo got the bout's first takedown at the 1:50 mark, inching out to a 2-1 lead after an
Erwin escape. Dergo nearly got a second takedown with :40 left, but Erwin managed to fight out of trouble to keep the bout close after three minutes of wrestling. Up 2-1, Dergo chose down to start the second period and escaped to a 3-1 lead. The Nittany Lion sophomore once again found Dergo deep in a single leg and once again managed to force a stalemate with :48 left. Erwin could not find an opening in the Illini defense until just seconds remained in a period and time ran out before Erwin could finish the takedown. Down 3-1, Erwin chose down to start the final period and quickly escaped to a 3-2 deficit. But Dergo got the bout's next takedown and, after a brief ride, led 5-3 with :53 left to wrestle. With :33 left, Erwin finally tied the bout with his first takedown. But Dergo escaped with :18 left to take a 6-5 lead and kept his distance from Erwin for the bout's final seconds to post a hard fought 6-5 win. The decision put Illinois up 18-9 with only two bouts left.
184: Junior 184-pounder Phil Bomberger (Port Royal, Pa.), ranked No. 13, met Illinois grappler Ben Friedl. Bomberger worked Dergo's upper body early in the bout, and then, after a reset, went low and drove through for a double-leg takedown at the 1:32 mark to take an early 2-0 lead. Dergo escaped at the 1:18 mark to cut the lead to 2-1. The Nittany Lion junior could not notch another takedown in the opening period and held a slim 2-1 lead heading into the second period. Bomberger chose down and quickly escaped to a 3-1 lead. Knowing that the only way Penn State could post a comeback was through two wins and any combination of bonus points in the final two bouts, Bomberger continued to pressure the Illini grappler until getting a second takedown at the 1:09 mark to take a 5-1 lead. Bomberger nearly turned Friedl for back points, but the quick Illini scrambled out of the situation to escape and cut Bomberger's lead to 5-2 with :45 left in the second period. That score held for the remainder of the period and Friedl chose down to start the final period. A quick escape cut Bomberger's lead to 5-3 but a quick Bomberger double-leg gave the Nittany Lion a 7-4 lead (after he let Friedl up). Needing two takedowns and a ride-out to notch a major, Bomberger pressured Friedl into a first stall warning but could not break through the Illini's defense. The 7-4 decision for Bomberger cut Illinois' lead to 18-12.
197: Three-time All-American Phil Davis (Harrisburg, Pa.), coming off his first loss of the season in an upset defeat Friday night, put his No. 2 national ranking on the line against No. 13 Patrick Bond of Illinois. With Penn State down by six, Davis needed to try and find a way to pin the talented Bond to secure an 18-18 tie in the bout. Bond, however, created the first scoring chance, getting control of Davis'
left leg and pulling it up to his hip. Davis kept Bond from scoring, however, hopping his way out of trouble after a minute of work. The defensive stop for Davis kept the bout scoreless heading into the second period. Davis chose down to start the second period and quickly escaped to a 1-0 lead. Bond once again got in on Davis' right leg and nearly got a go-ahead takedown with :45 left. But Davis once again was forced into defense to keep his 1-0 lead by forcing a reset at the :25 mark. Down by one but needing only to stay off his back to secure the dual meet win for Illinois, Bond chose neutral to start the final period. Davis forced action to the edge of the mat but could not find an opening in Bond's defenses. Davis got the win, a 1-0 victory, but Illinois escaped with an 18-15 upset victory in the dual meet.
Tags: Bubba Jenkins, Dan Vallimont, Dave Rella, David Erwin, Garrett Scott, John Laboranti, Mark McKnight, Phil Bomberger, Phil Davis, Tim Haas, Troy Sunderland