LINCOLN, Neb. - An undermanned Penn squad gave the No. 4 team in the nation all they could handle on Friday night, taking a 14-11 lead before the 'Huskers rallied for a 23-14 win.
The Quakers erased an early 6-0 deficit to take a 14-9 lead with three matches left, but the Cornhuskers scored bonus points in the final three bouts for the win.
Colin Hitschler was up first for Penn as the dual started at 184 pounds. His opponent was No. 10 Vince Jones. After about a minute of action, Hitschler scored first after a single to the right leg. He rode for nearly a minute before Jones evened the match with a reversal. Hitschler escaped to retake the lead. With seven seconds remaining in the period, Jones scored his second takedown of the match. As time expired, Hitschler regained neutral position with an escape to tie the bout at 4-4. Jones chose bottom for the second and immediately escaped to take a 5-4 lead. Neither man scored the remainder of the period. Hitshcler chose bottom for the final frame, and Jones rode tough, accumulating 1:32 of riding time for the 6-4 win.
Thomas Shovlin drew No. 2 Craig Brester at 197 pounds, and Brester was a tough as advertised, taking the match, 8-1. Shovlin hung in with Brester, allowing just one takedown in the first period. The second period was all Brester, however, as the All-America escaped then took Shovlin down and turned him for two more points. Riding time added the eighth point for Brester.
Trey McLean got Penn on the board with an upset win over No. 16 Tucker Lane at heavyweight. The win avenged a loss from earlier in the season when Lane pinned McLean at the Cliff Keen Invitational. The first period was a feeling out process as neither man scored. McLean was the most active wrestler in the early going, shooting for takedowns throughout the first period. He finally succeeded in the third period with 1:48 left in the bout. Lane escaped, but McLean scored again with just over 1:00 to go. His 5-3 decision brought Penn back to within three points at 6-3 after the Quakers dropped the first two matches.
Rollie Peterkin, ranked 12th in the country, scored a 5-1 decision at 125 poundsover Andy Pokorny to tie the match. Peterkin took the early lead with a takedown 0:52 into the bout. Peterkin rode Pokorny for all but one second of the second period to gain enough riding time for the point. Starting on the bottom in the third, Peterkin added a reversal for the final points of the bout.
Matt Vacanti retook the lead for Nebraska at 133 pounds with a 3-2 decision over Penn’s Bryan Ortenzio. It took a while for either man to score, but After Vacanti scored a takedown with 14 seconds left, Ortenzio escaped with two seconds left in the period. Vacanti escaped in the second and Ortenzio escaped in the third to bring the score to 3-2. The action was furious at the end of the match, with Vacanti shooting with 0:10 left and Ortenzio nearly countering to two points of his own.
Rick Rappo, gave Penn its first lead of the night with a 20-4 technical fall over Curtis Salazar at 141 pounds. His five points gave the Red and Blue an 11-9 lead. Rappo shot to the right leg quickly in the bout, and after elevating the foot to his shoulder, scored the takedown for two points. Salazar reversed for two points, but Rappo quickly added a reversal of his own. From there, Rappo picked up eight backpoints with three separate near-fall situations and the score was 12-2 after one period. Starting neutral in the second, Salazar scored a takedown, but Rappo escaped. The senior from Holland, Pa., scored another takedown and added three more backpoints for an 18-4 lead after two periods. Rappo chose bottom for the third. Needing one point for the tech fall, he scored two with a reversal.
Cesar Grajales followed witha close 12-11 decision at 149 pounds over Robert Sanders. Grajales, ranked 10th in the country, gave Penn its 14-11 lead. Grajales led the whole way, but at the end it was close as Sanders scored two takedowns and a penalty point (stalling on Grajales) to get back within 12-11.
With Matt Dragon injured and unable to compete at 157 pounds, the 'Huskers took a 15-14 lead that they would not relinquish.
No. 5 Stephen Dwyer scored a 12-4 major decision over Andrew Coles at 165 pounds. The major was in question until a takedown from Dwyer with 18 seconds left in the match. Coles could not escape and riding time sealed the win.
Needing a pinfall to win the dual, Scott Giffin took the mat with No. 2 Brandon Browne at 174 pounds. There was no score in the first period as Giffin attempted to score for the fall. Action picked up in the second with Browne escaping then taking Giffin down. Giffin escaped but Browne took him down once again with 25 ticks left in the second period. Giffin escaped early in the third period, but Browne took him down four seconds later. Browne took control in the later stages of the bout, taking Giffin down twice and adding two backpoints at the buzzer for the 14-4 win to close out the match.
Penn is back in action on Sunday when it hosts No. 24 Pitt in The Palestra at 2 p.m. The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a free Penn baseball cap and after the match there will be an autograph signing with the team.
No. 4 Nebraska def. Penn, 23-14
184 – No. 10 Vince Jones (Neb.) def. Colin Hitschler (Penn), Dec. 6-4; Neb. leads 3-0
197 – No. 2 Craig Brester (Neb.) def. Thomas Shovlin (Penn), Dec. 8-1; Neb. leads 6-0
Hwt. – Trey McLean (Penn) def. No. 16 Tucker Lane (Neb.), Dec. 5-3; Neb. leads 6-3
125 – No. 12 Rollie Peterkin (Penn) def. Andy Pokorny (Neb.), Dec. 5-1; Match tied 6-6
133 – Matt Vacanti (Neb.) def. Bryan Ortenzio (Penn), Dec. 3-2; Neb. leads 9-6
141 – Rick Rappo (Penn) def. Curtis Salazar (Neb.), Tech Fall 20-4; Penn leads 11-9
149 – No. 10 Cesar Grajales (Penn) def. Robert Sanders (Neb.), Dec. 12-11; Penn leads 14-9
157 – No. 3 Jordan Burroughs (Neb) win via forfeit; Neb. leads 15-14
165 – No. 5 Stephen Dwyer (Neb.) def. Andrew Coles (Penn), Maj. Dec. 12-4; Neb. leads 19-14
174 – No. 2 Brandon Browne (Neb.) def. Scott Giffin (Penn), Maj. Dec. 14-4; Neb. leads 23-14