PHILADELPHIA--No. 23 Penn scored major decisions at 125 and 157 and lost just two bouts to cruise to a 26-5 win over the visiting Hokies, Sunday at The Palestra. It was the first match ofthe dual season for the Quakers who improved to 1-0 while Virginia Tech fell to 2-1.
"I thought our kids competed well today," said Head Coach Zeke Jones. "But the true measure will be next week in Las Vegas. I think if we can harness our mental energy we'll be in good shape. There was some fatigue of nervousness today that we'll have to work through. Overall today, we didn't dominate, we just won. When we can dominate we'll start to see what this team is really like."
The meet started at 133 lbs. with Rick Rappo and Nick Murray. Penn was the first to score with a takedown, but Murray took 5-2 advantage out of the period with an escape, takedown and two-point nearfall. Rappo turned the tables in the second with a reversal andtwo-point and three-point nearfalls to go up 9-5 after two. Murray took Rappo down in the third, but an escape, takedown and riding time gave Rappo the 13-7 decision.
The Red and Blue claimed six more points with decisions at 141 and 149. Zack Kemmerer (141)chose down in the second periodof his bout with Chris Diaz and earned the escape. They each scored three points in the third and Penn took the win. At 149, No. 19 Cesar Grajales gave up just one point to Matt Rosen and took a 4-1 decision.
Tom Timothy scored four team points for Penn when he shutout Andre Johnson at 157 lbs. Timothy nearly pinned Johnson in the second and earned a three-point nearfall and a penalty point when Johnson was whistled for fleeing the mat. Four more points in the third (escape, takedown, riding time) earned him a 8-0 major decision.
No. 14 Zack Shanaman secured three more points with a 6-3 decision over Matt Epperly at 165 lbs. The Hokies struck first with a takedown in the first, but Shanaman scored six points before allowed Epperly an escape in the third.
Virginia Tech got on the board with a 5-2 decision at 174 lbs. No. 20 Jeff Zannetti fell to No. 18 Eric Decker after scoring just two escapes in his bout.
Penn and Tech split the184 and 197 bouts with No. 15 Lior Zamir (184)taking a 6-2 decision from Tommy Spellman who gave Zamir atwo-point nearfall scare in the second, but those were his only points. At 197, junior Dan Zander was shutout in a 3-0 bout.
On of the more exciting matches of the evening, Penn's heavyweight Trey McLean won a 7-5 decision in overtime over Cody Gardner. A close battle, McLean tied the score late in the third to send it to overtime. In the extra minute, McLean scored a takedown near the edge of the mat and won the bout. One point was deducted from the Hokies' team score for unsportsmanlike conduct after the bout.
Heading into the final match, Penn held a 23-5 lead, but No. 16 Rollie Peterkin put the icing on top at 125 with his 12-3 major decision over Steve Armor. Peterkin dominated his bout scoring five points in first and tacked on seven more points before it was over, including a point for riding time (4:22).
The Quakers head to the prestigious Las Vegas Invitational, Nov. 30-Dec. 1. More than 50 teams compete in the meet, including many of the top-10 teams in the country.