PHILADELPHIA - Penn did everything it could to snap its losing streak to Cornell, but the No. 5 Big Red escaped The Palestra with a 21-17 win over the Quakers on Sunday. The loss drops Penn to 4-4 overall in duals this season, and makes it ten years without a win over the Big Red.
The Quakers won four matches, including three with bonus points, but two key swing bouts went Cornell's way by slim margins to make the difference.
Despite a pin from Steve Graziano at heavyweight and major decisions from No. 12 Zack Kemmerer and Lorenzo Thomas, it was the matches at 149 and 174 that ultimately decided the dual. After some lineup juggling from the Big Red had Chris Villalonga get the start at 149, he held off Steve Robertson's third-period comeback with an escape late and riding time for a 5-3 decision.
Another of Penn's true freshmen came close to pulling out the key win at 174, but Ian Korb also couldn't come all the way back in the third period, dropping a 4-2 decision to Marshall Peppelman who was up from 165.
Penn held a 7-6 lead after the first three matches, with a 4-3 decision from No. 15 Bryan Ortenzio and a 9-1 major decision from No. 12 Zack Kemmerer erasing a 6-0 Cornell lead built off a forfeit at 125.
Ortenzio scored a takedown on Nick Pena in the final 20 seconds of the first period and built 1:31 of riding time with solid work to start the third period. He needed that riding time as Pena escaped and then scored a takedown in the final ten seconds to square the score at 3-3.
Kemmerer was dominant against No. 15 Mike Nevinger, with three takedowns and a reversal on his way to a 9-1 major decision. The two had met earlier this season, a 4-2 win for Kemmerer in sudden victory, but this time it was quick work by Kemmerer in the first period that built a big lead. He connected twice on takedowns - running to a single and then blasting a double - for a 4-1 lead after the first period. In the second, Nevinger was riding tough for most of the period before Kemmerer reversed towards the end for a 6-1 lead. He added a third takedown in the final frame and 1:14 of riding time for the major.
Villalonga regained the lead for Cornell with his 5-3 decision over Robertson. A takedown midway through the first period was the key for Villalonga as he built 1:30 of riding time that carried over to the final period. In that third stanza, Robertson took Villalonga down to get the score to 3-3, but riding time was locked up. Robertson was forced to cut Villalonga out and couldn't find the tying shot before time ran out.
Cornell sat No. 1 Kyle Dake at 157, instead sending out Craig Eifert who had been starting at 149. The move worked to a decision for the Big Red as Eifert won, 6-3. Hernandez had the first shot of the match, but couldn't finish on the right leg and Eifert then connected off a restart for two points. In the second period, Hernandez did finish a shot on the edge of the mat, but Eifert reversed before the two went out of bounds to build a 5-3 lead. Hernandez was unable to escape in the third and riding time made the final score, 6-3.
With Dake sitting at 157 and Peppelman moving to 174, Cornell lined up Derek Schreiner against Penn's Lorenzo Thomas, and Thomas took advantage with an 8-0 major decision. After two god mat scramble in the opening minutes, Thomas scored first with a takedown at 2:35. In the second period, Thomas reversed Schreiner to his back for five points before adding a full third-period ride for the bonus points to close the match score to 12-11, Cornell.
Penn couldn't secure a win in the next three matches, with Ian Korb coming on just a bit too late against Peppelman for a 4-2 loss. Peppelman had a 3-0 lead after two periods, but Korb connected on a double in the third period to get closer. He optioned Peppelman to look for the tying score, but time ran out.
Erich Smith was close with No. 3 Steve Bosak after two periods, trailing just 2-0 after a last-second takedown in the middle period. In the third, Bosak chose top and scored three backpoints at the buzzer but did not find the fall for a 6-0 decision.
In the latest installment of No. 9 Micah Burak and No. 1 Cam Simaz, the decision again went to Simaz, 3-0. Simaz had escaped in the second period for his one point, and Burak chose neutral for the third period. It took time for the shot attempts to develop in the third for Burak, but he went right to the buzzer, with Simaz only scoring after Burak's last shot attempt was defended at the buzzer. The first period, while scoreless, was active on both sides, as the two wrestlers continue to develop their rivalry which has reached eight meetings.
The Simaz win clinched the dual for Cornell, but Steve Graziano paid no attention to that in his match at heavyweight. Graziano came in on Maciej Jochym right before the one-minute mark of their bout, and despite the first shot not connecting, Graziano put together an inside trip that brought Jochym to his back and quickly the shoulders hit the mat for a Graziano fall at 1:04.
The Quakers are now 1-3 against ranked teams this year, all losses at home and the visitors have scored 21 points in all three of those duals. Penn is off until Jan. 29 when the Red and Blue head to Hofstra.
No. 5 Cornell def. Penn, 21-17
125 - #6 Frank Perrelli (CU) wins by forfeit, Cornell leads, 6-0
133 - #15 Bryan Ortenzio (Penn) def. Nick Pena (CU), 4-3 Cornell leads, 6-3
141 - #12 Zack Kemmerer (Penn) def. #15 Mike Nevinger (CU), 9-1 Penn leads, 7-6
149 - Chris Villalonga (CU) def. Steve Robertson (Penn), 5-3 Cornell leads, 9-7
157 - Craig Eifert (CU) def. Troy Hernandez (Penn), 6-3 Cornell leads, 12-7
165 - Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) def. Derek Schreiner (CU), 8-0 Cornell leads, 12-11
174 - Marshall Peppelman (CU) def. Ian Korb (Penn), 4-2 Cornell leads, 15-11
184 - #3 Steve Bosak (CU) def. Erich Smith (Penn), 6-0 Cornell leads, 18-11
197 - #1 Cam Simaz (CU) def. #9 Micah Burak, 3-0 Cornell leads, 21-11
285 - Steve Graziano (Penn) def. Maciej Jochym (CU), FALL 1:04, Cornell leads, 21-17