Wrestling Downed by No. 23 Pitt

PITTSBURGH - Penn came out on the wrong side of four matches decided by two points or less on Saturday at No. 23 Pittsburgh, falling to the Panthers, 28-6.

Scott Giffin came up with Penn's most convincing win of the dual, downing David Sullivan at 174 pounds, 8-3. The win was Penn's second in a row as Giffin followed up a victory in the second sudden victory period by Gabriel Burak at 165, 6-4.

The two wins stopped a Pitt win streak of six to begin the match. The first two wins were each by two points as Mark Rappo was edged at 125, 4-3, and Bryan Ortenzio couldn't hold off Jimmy Conroy at 133, losing 5-3.

Both of those early matches started out in Penn's favor with early takedowns.

Rappo scored the opening takedown at 1:46 with a double-leg shot that he held on to, countering Anthony Zanetta's defense for the eventual two. Zanetta came back with an escape and a takedown before the end of the first period to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. Both men traded escapes at the start of the second and third periods, setting up a frantic final 30 seconds. Zanetta came in on a go-behind, looking to add to his lead but Rappo fought him off to stay within one. The sophomore came on at the end, looking to snag the win with a late takedown, but couldn't get inside Zanetta's defense.

Ortenzio needed just 17 seconds to take a lead on Conroy in the next bout. Ortenzio shot in on a single, worked in behind and took Conroy down to open up a 2-0 lead. Conroy got on the board with an escape 38 seconds later and the tied the match early in the second period with another escape off the start. At 3:54, Conroy took the lead with a high crotch on the right, a shot which needed 20 seconds to complete for the 4-2 lead. In the third period, Ortenzio worked an escape at 5:57 to climb within one point on the board at 4-3. Riding time was in Conroy's favor, securing the 5-3 win and a 6-0 lead for Pitt.

At 141, Zack Kemmerer again gave Penn an early lead in the match, with a nice single at 1:16. Kemmerer was patient, getting in on the right leg and bringing it up on the hip before bringing No. 18 Tyler Nauman down to the mat. In the second period, Naumann took control late with a shot to the ankle off a restart at 4:27. He then added three backpoints near the end of the period for a 6-2 lead. Kemmerer scored two points with a similar score to his first-period takedown, but the match ended 10-4 in favor of Naumann.

Troy Hernandez was Penn's third wrestler to engage in a close-fought battle, falling to Eric Albright at 149, 3-1. After a scoreless first period, Albright scored first with an escape at 3:17. Hernandez evened the bout with an escape at 5:40. Riding time was not a factor and the next points would decide the match. Albright came through, countering a Hernandez shot with 15 seconds left and scoring the winning takedown.

At 157, Matt Dragon controlled the early portion of his bout with Donnie Tasser, overpowering the Panther grappler at 0:38 and adding a two-point nearfall at 1:53 for a 4-0 lead. Tasser fought out and then grabbed an ankle to score a takedown to climb back to 4-3. Right near the end of the first period, Tasser worked on turning Dragon, and Dragon suffered a shoulder injury which resulted in him defaulting out of the bout.

No. 20 Gabriel Burak scored the first team points for Penn at 165 with his sudden victory win. After a scoreless first period, Burak took the lead with a well-worked single leg shot at 4:03. Burak added a point with an escape early in the third period. A quick low shot from Adam Counterman at 5:45 brought him back within one. Burak escaped quickly to retake the two-point lead. Counterman then struck back with six seconds left to tie the match. Burak staved off a strong Counterman attack in the first sudden victory period to bring the match to tiebreakers. Each man rode out in the tiebreaker, and in the second sudden victory period, Burak won the bout with a takedown at 9:38.

Giffin followed up with a workman-like 8-3 win over Sullivan. Giffin was aggressive off the start, shooting in on the left leg at 0:15 for the 2-0 lead. Giffin then held Sullivan down for the next 1:49, piling on riding time advantage. After Sullivan escaped at 2:05, Giffin attacked back at 2:32. After grabbing Sullivan's left leg near the edge of the mat, Giffin turned the Panther back to center and bullrushed through a double for the two points. Giffin held on, adding a takedown in the third for the 8-3 duke.

Harrison Cook had a tough go against Zac Thomusseit at 184, dropping a 9-3 decision. Thomusseit took Cook down early, but the freshman wouldn't allow himself to be tilted, fighting tough to only trail by two after the first period. In the second, Thomusseit was able to score the backpoints, following a reversal from a bottom start with two near fall points at 3:59. Thomusseit added a takedown in the third period and riding time for the 9-3 win.

The only matchup of two ranked wrestlers came at 197 between No. 18 Matthew Wilps and Penn's No. 19 Micah Burak. This match turned out to be a defensive battle as the only points came on an escape for each man. After a scoreless first, Wilps popped out three seconds into the second period. In the third period, Burak couldn't get out until there were 11 seconds left. The 1:46 of riding time Wilps accumulated was the difference in a 2-1 win.

The heavyweight match was an offensive explosion compared to the bout before it, as Tyler Blakely and No. 7 Ryan Tomei traded takedowns early. Blakely was quick on the draw, scoring two at 0:12. Tomei rolled through 10 seconds later before scoring a takedown of his own at 0:44. Blakely was equally quick on his escape, slipping out at 0:52. Tomei scored again at 1:59 and Blakeley escaped for a 5-4 score after the first period. Tomei opened up in the second period with two takedowns to bring a 10-5 lead into the third. A takedown late added with a stalling call on Blakely and riding time resulted in a 14-5 major decision.

Pitt 28, Penn 6

125 - Anthony Zanetta (Pitt) dec. vs. Mark Rappo (Penn) (4-3)
133 - Jimmy Conroy (Pitt) dec. vs. Bryan Ortenzio (Penn) (5-3)
141 - No. 18 Tyler Nauman (Pitt) dec. vs. Zack Kemmerer (Penn) (10-4)
149 - Eric Albright (Pitt) dec. vs. Troy Hernandez (Penn) (3-1)
157 - Donnie Tasser medical forfeit vs. Matt Dragon
165 - No. 20 Gabriel Burak (Penn) 4th OT vs. Adam Counterman (Pitt) (6-4)
174 - Scott Giffin (Penn) dec. vs. David Sullivan (Pitt) (8-3)
184 - Zac Thomusseit (Pitt) dec. vs. Harrison Cook (Penn) (9-3)
197 - No. 18 Matt Wilps (Pitt) dec. vs. No. 19 Micah Burak (Penn) (2-1)
285 - No. 7 Ryan Tomei (Pitt) MD vs. Tyler Blakely (Penn) (14-5).