Wrestling Takes Down Columbia, 24-10

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PHILADELPHIA – Penn needed a bounce-back performance and the Quakers responded with a 24-10 win over EIWA rival Columbia. The Red and Blue won eight of the ten bouts, including seven decided by two points or less.

On Senior Day, a last-second win from Steven Graziano was the bout that set The Palestra crowd ablaze. With the match tied, 1-1, and under ten seconds remaining, Graziano threw Conor Sweeney to the mat with a bear hug and came out on top, scoring the winning takedown in a 3-2 decision. That win was the 25th of Graziano’s career against Ivy opponents.

Andrew Lenzi started the dual with Penn’s biggest win of the day, defeating Ryan Ponte, 7-2, at 149 pounds. Lenzi opened the match with a takedown and two backpoints in the first period, building a cushion which only grew following a reversal in the second period. Ponte managed an escape in the third, but Lenzi had already accrued 2:16 of riding time for the win.

In the first of many matches with EIWA seeding implications, Ray Bethea came all the way back on Markus Scheidel for a 6-4 win. Scheidel scored first, connecting on a takedown late through the first period to lead, 2-1, after one. In the second, a takedown from Bethea tied the match, 3-3. Bethea escaped early in the third, then added a second takedown to pull away for the win.

No. 16 Casey Kent followed with a crucial 4-2 win over No. 20 Josh Houldsworth at 165 pounds. Each wrestler scored a takedown in the bout – Kent in the first period and Houldsworth in the second, but it was two escapes from Kent in the middle period which were the difference. Houldsworth chose down for the third, looking for the tying takedown, but Kent defended nicely without drawing a stall warning.

Shane Hughes gave Columbia a shot in the arm with a first-period fall at 174 over Zach Agostino. Hughes connected on a takedown early, then worked an armbar and ran it to the fall at 2:46 for close Penn’s lead to 9-6.

No. 11 Lorenzo Thomas halted that momentum with a 3-1 win over Zack Hernandez, but needed a third period takedown to do so. The match was an active one despite the low scoring, with multiple scrambles on the mat in the first two periods before Thomas was able to finish for the winning score after Hernandez chose neutral.

Frank Mattiace ended a four-match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Troy Hembury at 197 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Mattiace reversed in the second and rode out the middle period for a 2-0 lead and a bank of riding time. In the third, Hembury escaped, but Mattiace was able to defend the final moments for a 3-1 win after his 3:23 of riding time.

After Graziano’s win gave the Quakers a 12-point lead with three bouts remaining, Caleb Richardson salted away the win with a 5-3 decision over Penn Gottfried at 125 pounds. Richardson scored takedowns in the first and second period, adding an escape in the middle stanza for the win – his 10th of the season.

Angelo Armenta added a second win for Columbia with an 11-2 major decision over Ken Bade at 133 pounds. Armenta scored a takedown and two nearfall points in the first period, and added five more points off a reversal and three backs in the second to pull away. Bade scored a takedown in the third, looking to erase the bonus points, but couldn’t connect on a second and fell by major decision.

Jeff Canfora capped the win with a 5-4 decision over Matt Bystol in another bout where the winner would gain important position heading to EIWAs. Bystol took the lead in the first period on a late takedown, but a big second period from Canfora was the difference. Canfora would escape in the second, then add four points on a takedown and nearfall to pull away. Bystol would escape in the second and then again in the third, but Canfora would power through the final moments and defend for the win.

Penn improves to 6-6 overall this season, while Columbia falls to 6-6. The Quakers close the 2013-14 regular season Feb. 22 with a pair of duals at Princeton (1 p.m.) and Drexel (5 p.m.)

Match Notes: Penn had the takedown edge, 10-5 … Canfora’s win gives him a new career high with 15 in a season … 24 points ties Penn’s second-most in a dual meet this season … 10 points allowed is the fewest by the Quakers since a 29-9 win over Boston University on Dec. 1.

*149: Andrew Lenzi (Penn) dec. Ryan Ponte (Columbia), 7-2 Penn leads, 3-0
157: Ray Bethea (Penn) dec. Markus Scheidel (Columbia), 6-3 Penn leads, 6-0
165: No. 16 Casey Kent (Penn) dec. No. 20 Josh Houldsworth (Columbia), 4-2 Penn leads, 9-0
174: Shane Hughes (Columbia) FALL Zach Agostino (Penn), 2:46 Penn leads, 9-6
184: No. 11 Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) dec. Zack Hernandez (Columbia), 3-1 Penn leads, 12-6
197: Frank Mattiace (Penn) dec. Troy Hembury (Columbia), 3-1 Penn leads, 15-6
285: Steven Graziano (Penn) dec. Conor Sweeney (Columbia), 3-2 Penn leads, 18-6
125: Caleb Richardson (Penn) dec. Penn Gottfried (Columbia), 5-3 Penn leads, 21-6
133: Angelo Amenta (Columbia) MD Ken Bade (Penn), 11-2 Penn leads, 21-10
141: Jeff Canfora (Penn) dec. Matt Bystol (Columbia), 5-4 Penn leads, 24-10