Purdue upsets South Dakota State, Lehigh and NC State earn home victories as National Duals Series kicks off

By Amanda Dahl, Purdue Sports Information

Brookings, S.D. — The final match of the dual tied it, but it was the first match that gave Purdue the edge to upset No. 17 South Dakota State on its home mat 20-19 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals Championship Series presented by Theraworx and the United States Marine Corps. With both teams winning five bouts, the 19-19 tie was broken using the second criteria and Ben Thornton’s pin at 125 pounds. The Boilermakers concluded the dual season with a 9-7 record while defeating a ranked opponent for the first time this season.

Thornton’s pin, a 3:33 stick of Ben Gillette, was the first of the season for the redshirt sophomore as he pushed his record to 24-12. A 5-0 shutout from Kyle Ayersman at 141 pounds gave Purdue a 9-5 lead after three matches.

The next four matches shifted the lead the Jackrabbits’ way and their lead ballooned to 19-9 with four wins in the middle of the lineup, two of which were major decisions. At 174 pounds, a reversal by SDSU’s 16th-ranked David Kocer with just seconds remaining in a match that appeared to be headed to sudden victory broke a 4-4 tie with Jacob Morrissey to deal the Boilermaker a tough 6-4 setback.

The Boilermakers’ upper weights then went to work. A six-point move in the final period earned Tanner Lynde a 13-3 major decision of Martin Mueller. The 184-pounder’s third major decision of the season narrowed the lead to 19-13.

A top-10 upset came in the ensuing match with true freshman Christian Brunner’s impressive 8-3 showing against seventh-ranked Nate Rotert. Brunner, unranked at 197 pounds, defeated his second nationally ranked opponent in as many matches by scoring a trio of takedowns. Two of the takedowns came in the third period, one of which was originally not called on the mat, but successfully challenged by Purdue head wrestling coach Tony Ersland.

“Christian never gets too high and he never gets too low,” Ersland said. “He understands there is a process that we are after and he stays committed to what we are asking him to do.”

The win was the 20th for the East Dundee, Illinois, native, who knocked off No. 11 Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin 4-1 in his last match.

“The game plan was to go out with a high pace and have fun out there,” Brunner said. “It was fun, that’s the best way to look at it.”

With the dual score at 19-16 in favor of SDSU with one bout to go, Purdue needed a decision to tie and that’s what Tyler Kral delivered, blanking Alex Macki 3-0. Kral’s win, the 21st of his redshirt senior campaign, sets a career high after winning 21 combined matches in his three previous seasons. The shutout was also a team-best seventh of the season.

“I like how the back half of the dual went,” Ersland said. “Even though we lost the match at 174, Jacob Morrissey fought for everything and represented himself well. That got our bench back into it. It got everybody involved, especially when we were quiet in the middle of our lineup. I was happy that even though Jacob lost, he competed better and got our team going. Certainly Ben Thornton’s win will stick out because he had the fall and that was the criteria that we won on, so it was very big for Ben to come out and get that pin.”

125: Ben Thornton (PUR) def. Ben Gillette (SDSU) by fall 3:33
133: #2 Seth Gross (SDSU) tech. fall Luke Welch (PUR), 16-1 (3:28)
141: Kyle Ayersman (PUR) dec. Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU), 5-0
149: #16 Alex Kocer (SDSU) major dec. Nate Limmex (PUR), 13-1
157: Logan Peterson (SDSU) major dec. Jeremy Golding (PUR), 10-2
165: Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) dec. Dylan Lydy (PUR), 7-1
174: #16 David Kocer (SDSU) dec. Jacob Morrissey (PUR), 6-4
184: Tanner Lynde (PUR) major dec. Martin Mueller (SDSU), 13-3
197: Christian Brunner (PUR) dec. #7 Nate Rotert (SDSU), 8-3
285: Tyler Kral (PUR) dec. Alex Macki (SDSU), 3-0
Purdue wins on tiebreaker 3.15.2 (Most Falls)

By Brian Reinhardt, NC State Sports Information

RALEIGH, N.C. – After falling behind 10-0 after the first three matches, the No. 7 Wolfpack won six of the final seven bouts and defeated visiting #16 Michigan 23-15 Friday night in the NCWA Nationals Duals. The Wolfpack (13-2) won in the National Duals for the second straight year, following up last year’s 21-17 win at #2 Iowa.

The win closes out the Pack’s dual portion of the 2016-17 season, with NC State finishing 13-2. With last year’s 23-1 mark, NC State has won 35 of its 38 duals over the last two seasons.

The dual started at 157 pounds, and Michigan took the first three matches to jump out to a 10-0 lead. The Wolfpack responded with four straight wins, and won six of the final seven matches to take the victory.

#10 Redshirt-junor Michael Macchiavello started the Pack’s comeback at 184 pounds. The reigning ACC Wrestler of the Week got three first period takedowns and was in control throughout his 18-7 major decision win. Macchiavello has now won seven straight matches at 184 pounds.

#25 Redshirt-sophomore Malik McDonald followed up and made it back-to-back wins for NC State with a 9-5 decision over #32 Jackson Striggow. After a 3-3 tie after the first period, McDonald controlled the final two periods with a pair of takedowns and the ride time point.

At the break, Michigan was up 10-7.

NC State captured the lead for good in the first match after the intermission. #20 Redshirt-senior Mike Kosoy made quick work of his opponent and recorded a pin just 23 seconds into the match for six team points and the 13-10 lead.

#23 Redshirt-sophomore provided the home fans with the most exciting match of the night, as he took out two-time All-American Conor Youtsey in extra time 5-3. Down 3-1, Fausz scored a takedown with just eight seconds left to send it into overtime. Fausz then secured the win with the winning takedown with five seconds left in the first OT period.

Michigan’s final win would be a tech fall by #7 Stevan Micic at 133 pounds.

The Pack closed the dual with back-to-back wins by a pair of top-10 wrestlers.

#2 Junior Kevin Jack dominated his match, winning his 25th in a row with a 19-5 major decision at 141 pounds. #10 Redshirt-senior Sam Speno closed out the evening with a 5-4 decision.

Up Next: The Wolfpack will defend its ACC title, as NC State will host the 2017 ACC Championship on March 4 in Reynolds Coliseum. The action begins at 11 a.m., with the finals slated to start at 7 p.m. ACC

#7 NC State 23, #16 Michigan 15
157: #10 Brian Murphy (Mich) dec. #24 Thomas Bullard; 7-4 – 0-3
165: #2 Logan Massa (Mich) major dec. Chad Pyke; 21-8 -0-7
174: #9 Myles Amine (Mich) dec. #33 Nick Reenan; 5-2 – 0-10
184: #10 Michael Macchiavell (NCSU) major dec. Ernest Battaglia; 18-7 -4-10
197: #25 Malik McDonald (NCSU) dec. #32 Jackson Striggow; 9-5 – 7-10
285: #21 Mike Kosoy (NCSU) fall Payne Hayden; 0:23 – 13-10
125: #23 Sean Fausz (NCSU) dec. Conor Youtsey; 5-3 (SV1) – 16-10
133: #7 Stevan Micic (MICH) tech fall #16 Jamal Morris; 25-5 – 16-15
141: #2 Kevin Jack (NCSU) major dec. Sal Profaci; 19-5 -20-15
149: #10 Sam Speno (NCSU) dec. Zac Hall; 5-4 – 23-15

By Steve Lomangino, Lehigh Sports Information

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In its final dual of the season, No. 11 Lehigh took seven of 10 bouts from visiting Rutgers to defeat the 12th-ranked Scarlet Knights 23-10 Friday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall as part of the NWCA National Duals Championship Series. Junior Darian Cruz and senior Mitch Minotti posted wins by major decision, but it was an overtime win from freshman Andrew Price at 184 that helped Lehigh clinch its 10th win and avenge a three-point loss at Rutgers last season in the same National Duals Championship Series event.

With the win, Lehigh closes the dual meet season at 10-4, clinching the Mountain Hawks’ 18th consecutive season with at least 10 dual meet wins. Rutgers heads into the Big Ten Tournament with a 12-5 dual season.

“It was a really good Rutgers team and they came to wrestle tonight,” Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. “There were a lot of really good matches and our guys just fought really hard. I was really pleased with the way we wrestled. A lot of guys grew tonight.”

Lehigh claimed the first two bouts on the night and five of the first six to build a 17-3 advantage through 165, then won overtime matches in two of the final three weight classes to close out the dual campaign.

Darian Cruz opened the dual with an 18-4 major decision over Brandon Paetzell at 125. Cruz scored three first period takedowns plus a two-point near fall to lead 8-2 after one period and hit a cement mixer in the third, nearly pinning Paetzell. He opted to cut Paetzell loose late in the third and couldn’t pick up the one takedown that would have given him the technical fall.

Sophomore Scott Parker made it two straight wins for the Mountain Hawks, using a third period pancake to take down Scott DelVecchio to break a 1-1 tie at 133. A 1:29 riding time advantage resulted in a 4-2 victory for Parker.

Rutgers posted its first win at 141 as fifth-ranked Anthony Ashnault defeated 16th-ranked senior Randy Cruz 4-0 in a battle of All-Americans. Ashnault escaped in the second period and added a takedown in the same frame plus 1:08 riding time for the scoring in the bout.

A pair of similarly-ranked fifth-year seniors met at 149 and after yielding the first takedown, Lehigh’s Laike Gardner battled back for a 7-3 win over Ken Theobold. A late first period score had Gardner up 3-2 after one. He led 4-3 after two on the strength of a penalty point for stalling and then reversed Theobold early in the third and rode out for the victory.

Junior Drew Longo gave Lehigh a 13-3 lead going into intermission with a come-from-behind 2-1 decision over No. 17 John Van Brill at 157. Trailing 1-0 in the third, Longo scored a reversal and then rode out, erasing Van Brill’s riding time advantage to hold on for the one point victory.

“Drew’s such a leader on our team,” Santoro said. “That’s why he’s one of our captains. We talked about it a month ago. He wanted to do the drop. He felt it tonight, but Drew has been there a thousand times and he can keep wrestling when he’s in that situation.”

Minotti’s second major decision in as many duals extended Lehigh’s lead to 17-6 as he downed Willie Scott 13-5 at 165. An early cradle resulted in a six-point move for Minotti who added three more takedowns in his bout, yielding just an escape in each period plus a takedown in the final seconds with the major already secured.

The Scarlet Knights gained hope towards a comeback following an upset win at 174 as Jordan Pagano knocked off fourth-ranked sophomore Ryan Preisch 10-4. Preisch led 2-0 early but a surprise headlock from Pagano stunned Preisch for two-and-two. Pagano kept Preisch at bay with takedowns in the second and third periods to hand Preisch just his third loss of the season.

Within 17-6 with three bouts remaining, Rutgers bumped up No. 13 Nicholas Gravina to 197 and sent out Phil Bakuckas to face Price at 184. The match was low scoring and had minimal scoring attempts with the bout tied 1-1 through regulation with Price receiving the only warning. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Price rode Bakuckas, who had recently moved up from 174, out in the first half of the tiebreaker and then escaped early in the second half of the period and used solid defense to close out the clinching victory.

“He did a great job,” Santoro said of Price. “Things happen in dual meets. We’ve seen that over the years. Everybody came out and wrestled extremely hard, to a man. We were really pleased with that. It’s a good way to finish up the dual season with a win like this.”

Gravina picked up the only bonus win for Rutgers, claiming an 11-2 major decision over sophomore Thomas Murray at 197.

Senior heavyweight Doug Vollaro closed the dual with a 3-1, sudden victory win over Rahzonn Gross.

“Any time you can get a win over a team like Rutgers it’s a great win,” Santoro said. “They’re doing a great job. It was a fun dual. It was really good to finish with a good Big Ten team and now we move forward with our eyes on March right now.”

Lehigh will now shift focus towards the 113th EIWA Championships, March 3-4 at Bucknell’s Sojka Pavilion.

No. 11 Lehigh 23, No. 12 Rutgers 10
125 – Darian Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. Brandon Paetzell (Rutgers) 18-4
133 – Scott Parker (Lehigh) dec. Scott DelVecchio (Rutgers) 4-2
141 – Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) dec. Randy Cruz (Lehigh) 4-0
149 – Laike Gardner (Lehigh) dec. Ken Theobold (Rutgers) 7-3
157 – Drew Longo (Lehigh) dec. John Van Brill (Rutgers) 2-1
165 – Mitch Minotti (Lehigh) major dec. Willie Scott (Rutgers) 13-5
174 – Jordan Pagano (Rutgers) dec. Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) 10-4
184 – Andrew Price (Lehigh) dec. Phil Bakuckas (Rutgers) 2-1, tb
197 – Nicholas Gravina (Rutgers) major dec. Thomas Murray (Lehigh) 11-2
285 – Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) dec. Razohnn Gross (Rutgers) 3-1, sv
Attendance – 1,553
Officials – Gary Kessel and Jim Rivello


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