As the No. 19 Pittsburgh Panthers took on No. 6 Arizona Sun Devils at the Fitzgerald Field House Friday night, the underdogs came out on top.
Pitt had the odds stacked against them from the jump. Referees made a series of questionable calls against the Panthers during Jake Wentzel’s 165 bout that had the Fitz in an uproar. At one point Wentzel was on top working a cradle when he was flagged for stalling.
After the match, head Coach Keith Gavin said he was proud of the match Wentzel had, even with the loss. “I thought he wrestled one of the best matches he’s had all year,” Gavin said. “Sometimes you don’t get rewarded for it but you have to stay the course.”
After Wentzel’s loss, his teammates were out for vengeance. “We were aggressive and really going for the kill tonight,” Gavin said. “This isn’t how we drew it up at all, to get 3 pins and a disqualification, that’s not something we thought would happen.”
Cole Matthews, James Lledo and Nino Bonaccorsi all left the mat with pins. Gregg Harvey won after his opponent, Josh Nummer was flagged numerous times for stalling and was ultimately disqualified.
No. 9 Nino Bonaccorsi redeemed himself after a tough loss against Michigan’s Patrick Brucki on Sunday. Bonaccorsi said of the loss, “I think it was a good thing, sometimes I think losses are better than wins, it made me step back and really zone in and work on things I was struggling with.” And he showed that work against ASU’s Jake Ortiz. “Once I got that first take down, I thought, I need to bite down and stick them.”
Bonaccorsi had Ortiz on his back in the first period, a move Gavin said the team was not expecting. “He doesn’t have a whole lot of pins, he’s more of a takedown artist.” Bonaccorsi was able to secure the pin and help the team win the dual. The final score was Pitt 24, ASU 19.
No. 19. PITT PANTHERS VS No. 6 ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
32 Gage Curry vs. 4 Brandon Courtney
The Sun Devil’s Brandon Courtney wasted no time racking up points with a takedown seconds into the first period. Pitt’s Gage Curry was down 4-1 after the first period. While Curry attempted to recoup the lost points by remaining aggressive in the circle, he found points only in escapes. By the end of the second period, Curry was down 7-2. After taking bottom in the third, Curry was able to score yet another escape, but Courtney continued to own the match in takedowns. Courtney won the match 10-4.
7 Micky Phillippi vs. 4 Michael McGee
A fairly even match up for Pitt’s Micky Phillippi and ASU’s Michael McGee. A three-minute first period saw nothing but hand fighting. Phillippi chose down in the second and was able to earn one point after an illegal move by McGee. McGee also earned a stalling call while on top before Phillippi was able to escape to bring the score to 2-0. McGee had a questionable take down at the end of the second, which was reviewed by referees before points were awarded. McGee chose bottom in the third, and was able to reverse. To bring the score to 4-2. Gavin challenged a no call on locked hands, which earned McGee a technical violation and awarded Phillippi another point. McGee kept Phillippi’s ankle locked for most of the match, giving Phillippi little room to escape. Final score was 5-3, McGee.
22 Cole Matthews vs. Julian Chlebove
Pitt’s Cole Matthews did what Cole Matthews does and turned defense into offense, putting ASU’s Julian Chlebove on his back seconds into the first period, earning Pitt their first points of the match with a pin.
Dan Mancini vs. 11 Kyle Parco
ASU’s Kyle Parco got ahead early on in the match against Pitt’s Dan Mancini earning a take down and back points in the first period. With a series of escapes and takedowns in the second. Mancini ended up in a cradle in the third period. Parco won the match 16-2.
21 Elijah Cleary vs. 4 Jacori Teemer
Pitt’s Elijah Cleary went for a double leg take down against ASU’s Jacori Teemer in the first period but ended in a stale mate. Score by the end of the first, 0-0. Teemer chose bottom in the second and got on the board with an escape and a takedown later on in the period. Score by the end of 2 was 0-3. Cleary took bottom in the third and was able to get on the board himself with an escape. Teemer was able to earn an additional take down in the final seconds, Cleary an escape. Final score, 6-2, Teemer.
13 Jake Wentzel vs. 6 Anthony Valencia
After a battle in the center of the mat, ASU’s Anthony Valencia was able to earn a take down against Pitt’s Jake Wentzel. Wentzle responded with an escape bringing the score to 1-2 at the end of the first period. Valencia chose bottom in the second. Wentzel stayed heavy on top, tried to work in a cradle but ended up getting a stalling call. Score by the end of the second 1-3. Wentzel took bottom and was able to reverse. Tying up the score with seconds left. Valencia was able to escape and earn another take down bringing the score 6-2, Valencia.
James Lledo vs. Zane Coleman
Pitt’s James Lledo stepped on the mat hot, throwing a headlock to put ASU’s Zane Coleman on his back in the first period. It did not seal the deal; Coleman got an escape before Lledo took him down again and put him in a cradle to win the match with a pin.
31 Gregg Harvey vs. Josh Nummer
Pitt’s Gregg Harvey got on the board early against ASU’s Josh Nummer, taking him down within the first 30 seconds. Nummer was able to get an escape and Harvey was able to rack up another 2 to stay on top. Nummer had two stalling calls in the first period, earning Harvey a point. Harvey chose bottom in the second, escaped and scored a takedown. Harvey continued his serious of take downs through the second. By the third, Nummer had another stall call against him. Nummer continued to back up throughout the third as Harvey went after him, the match ended with 16 seconds remaining with Nummer being disqualified for stalling. Harvey won by technical fall.
9 Nino Bonaccorsi vs. Jake Ortiz
Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi had a take down in the first 20 seconds of the match. Then turned ASU’s Jake Ortiz for a pin with 34 seconds left in the first period.
Jake Slinger vs. 3 Cohlton Schultz
Pitt’s Jake Slinger had a tough start to his match against ASU’s Cohlton Shultz. Schultz earned a take down and nearfall points in the first. By the end of the first period the score was 3-14, Schultz. Schultz took bottom in the second and earned an escape. Score by the end of the second, the score was 3-15. Slinger was able to earn an escape in the third after choosing bottom but it wasn’t enough to win the match. Final Score, 5-19 Shultz.