Wrestling Sweeps Princeton, Drexel

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PHILADELPHIA – Penn capped the 2013-14 regular season with a pair of wins, taking care of some neighborly business along the way. Early in the day, Penn traveled to historic rival, Princeton, and tamed the Tigers, 22-9. To close the day, the Quakers crossed 33rd Street in West Philadelphia and downed Drexel, 20-10.

The wins push Penn to 8-6 overall and 7-4 inside the EIWA.

The victory over Princeton was important – as are all wins over the University’s storied foe. This one kept the Quakers in second place inside the Ivy League with a 3-2 overall record against Ivy schools.

Freshman Caleb Richardson began the dual with a 14-6 major decision over Ryan Cash. It was Cash who struck first, but that lead was short lived as Richardson rallied with a reversal and two sets of nearfall to lead, 6-2, after one. The third period saw Richardson work to expand his lead, adding three nearfall near the end of the period to secure the major decision – which would be Penn’s only bonus points over 14 wins during the two duals.

The dual with Princeton was tight through the first four matches, with Princeton securing wins from Garret Frey at 133 and Adam Krop at 149. Frey held on against freshman Ken Bade, escaping in the third for the decisive point in a 7-6 decision after a Bade takedown in the third tied the match. Krop scored the only takedown of his match with Andrew Lenzi in the third period for a 3-0 win.

Sandwiched between the two losses was an 8-5 decision for Jeff Canfora at 141. A busy first period saw Canfora concede two takedowns, but score one of his own before the end of the opening stanza to bring the bout to the second tied, 4-4. After no score in the second and a full ride from Canfora, the Quaker tacked on three more points in the third period with an escape and a takedown for the win.

After the loss at 149, Penn won four matches in a row to build a 19-6 lead and secure the dual. The highlight of that run was a 6-4 decision for Brad Wukie over Ryan Callahan at 174 pounds. Wukie led, 3-2, after one period and it was a takedown in the third period which provided the difference for the senior. Before that win, Ray Bethea downed Kevin Moylan, 9-7, on the strength of four takedowns. Steve Robertson stepped in for an under the weather Casey Kent, and came through with a 10-4 decision over Judd Ziegler at 165 pounds. Robertson also had four takedowns in the match, scoring twice in the first and third periods

No. 11 Lorenzo Thomas knocked off Brett Harner, 6-3, at 184 pounds to seal the win. Harner led, 3-2, after a late takedown in the first answered a Thomas score. In the second, Harner rode the entire period, but was unable to finish an armbar he had in and turn Thomas. The third period saw Thomas escape to tie the match and then add a takedown for the win.

Two Blair Academy products met at 197 pounds and Abe Ayala used a penalty point from Frank Mattiace in the rideout periods to snag a 3-1 decision in tiebreakers. After Mattiace was hit for stalling in the second period of tiebreakers, Mattiace was forced to cut Ayala out and couldn’t find the tying takedown.

Steven Graziano secured a win to cap the dual with a 3-2 decision over Ray ‘Donnell at heavyweight. Graziano scored the decisive takedown midway through the third period.

It was a quick turnaround for the Quakers to head back to Philadelphia and dual with Drexel, and that showed early on. Penn was able to shake the cobwebs, though, and again ride a win streak from 157-284 to lock down a 20-10 decision and claim the first-ever Abner’s Cheesesteak Trophy to honor the winner of Philadelphia’s college wrestling rivalry match.

It wasn’t pretty – but then again, situations involving neighbors rarely are. The Quakers and Dragons share a border along 33rd and Market Streets in the University City district of Philadelphia – it is 0.3 miles from Penn’s Palestra to Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center where the dual was held.

The Quakers won seven bouts – each by decision and only one by more than three points. The results were similar to the Princeton dual in that Penn again picked up victories at each weight except 133, 149 and 197.

Again, Richardson started the dual with a comfortable win, downing Tanner Shoap, 8-3. Richardson had three takedowns in the bout, including two in the first period to build a 4-2 lead on the way to the win.

After a major decision loss at 133, Jeff Canfora regained the lead for the Quakers with a 4-3 decision over David Pearce. Canfora scored a takedown at the buzzer in the first period to build an important 2-0 lead. In the third period, Canfora connected on a second takedown in the waning moments of the match to take the lead after Pearce rode out the second period. Pearce would escape twice in the third, and add riding time, but it wasn’t enough to deny Canfora.

Andrew Lenzi was within one of Noel Blanco after two periods, 4-3, but Blanco scored two takedowns in the third period to pull away for an 8-5 decision to five Drexel a 7-6 lead.

That was the last lead Drexel would have, though, as the Quakers again rattled off four consecutive wins at the middle weights to pull away. This time, it was Robertson at 157 who started the run. He defeated Austin Sommer, 7-5, building a 4-1 lead after the first period and snagging the win via a third-period takedown after Sommer had tied the match in the second.

Bethea followed with a 4-2 decision over Jason Fugiel at 165 pounds. Bethea needed the whole match to find his takedown, but did so in the third period and added two backpoints to record the win. Brad Wukie continued the momentum with a 6-3 decision over Kevin Matyas at 174 pounds. Wukie led, 2-0, after one period and 4-3 after two. In the third, an escape for Wukie just before he lost riding time was enough to put up the win and sweep his weekend.

No. 11 Lorenzo Thomas needed patience against Alex DeCiantis and it paid off for a 4-1 decision. After a scoreless first period, Thomas escaped in the second and picked up a stalling call on DeCiantis from neutral. The third period saw DeCiantis get a quick escape to tie, but he again failed to initiate offense and was called for stalling a second time to give Thomas the lead. Thomas would circle for an insurance takedown late in the period.

Frank Mattiace was unable to knock off No. 17 Brandon Palik at 197 pounds, dropping a 3-2 decision. Palik scored the only takedown of the match in the first period, and Mattiace tied the bout in the second period on a locked hands call on Palik and an escape. In the third, Palik escaped for the crucial point and Mattiace was unable to get through on a shot to try and take the lead.

Graziano finished his personal sweep of the day with an overtime win over Joe Giorgio, 5-3. Graziano escaped and scored a takedown in the third period to overcome a 2-0 deficit following a technical violation and escape from Giorgio in the second. Giorgio would escape after the takedown to tie the match and force sudden victory. In the extra period, Graziano went back to a low single and pushed through for the win at 7:34. After the bout, an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Graziano resulted in a team point deduction for Penn.

The Quakers are off until the EIWA Championships at The Palestra March 8-9.

Penn 22, Princeton 9
125 – Caleb Richardson (Penn) MD Ryan Cash (Princeton), 14-6 Penn leads, 4-0
133 – Garrett Frey (Princeton) dec. Ken Bade (Penn), 7-6 Penn leads, 4-3
141 – Jeff Canfora (Penn) dec. Jordan Laster (Princeton), 8-5 Penn leads, 7-3
149 – Adam Krop (Princeton) d. Andrew Lenzi (Penn), 3-0 Penn leads, 7-6
157 – Ray Bethea (Penn) dec. Kevin Moylan (Princeton), 9-7 Penn leads, 10-6
165 – Stephen Robertson (Penn) dec. Judd Ziegler (Princeton) 10-4 Penn leads, 13-6
174 – Bradley Wukie (Penn) dec. Ryan Callahan (Princeton), 6-4 Penn leads, 16-6
184 – Lawrence Thomas (Penn) dec. Brett Harner (Princeton), 6-3 Penn leads, 19-6
197 – Abram Ayala (Princeton) dec. Frank Mattiace (Penn), 3-1 (TB) Penn leads, 19-9
285 – Steven Graziano (Penn) dec. Ray O’Donnell (Princeton), 3-2 Penn leads, 22-9

Penn 20, Drexel 10
125: Caleb Richardson (Penn) dec. Tanner Shoap (Drexel), 8-3 Penn leads, 3-0
133: Kevin Devoy, Jr. (Drexel) MD Ken Bade (Penn), 10-2 Drexel leads, 4-3
141: Jeff Canfora (Penn) dec. David Pearce (Drexel), 4-3 Penn leads, 6-4
149: Noel Blanco (Drexel) dec. Andrew Lenzi (Penn), 8-5 Drexel leads, 7-6
157: Steve Robertson (Penn) dec. Austin Sommer (Drexel), 7-5 Penn leads, 9-7
165: Ray Bethea (Penn) dec. Jason Fugiel (Drexel), 4-2 Penn leads, 12-7
174: Brad Wukie (Penn) dec. Kevin Matyas (Drexel), 6-3 Penn leads, 15-7
184: #11 Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) dec. Alex DeCiantis (Drexel), 4-1 Penn leads, 18-7
197: #17 Brandon Palik (Drexel) dec. Frank Mattiace (Penn), 3-2 Penn leads, 18-10
285: Steven Graziano (Penn) dec. Joe Giorgio (Drexel), 5-3 SV Penn leads, 20-10*
*Penn was deducted one team point following the 285-pound bout for unsportsmanlike conduct