PHILADELPHIA – With a dual match on the line, there are worse situations to be in than having a senior NCAA qualifier on the mat. Penn found itself in that position on Saturday with senior Rick Rappo wrestling at 141 pounds and the Quakers trailing by one point. Rappo came through, winning via an 8-2 decision. The three points put Penn over the top of No. 21 Hofstra, 18-16.
Rappo was aggressive from the start, shooting for points at the start of the period. He was unsuccessful throughout the majority of the period, finally scoring a takedown with 49 seconds left in the first period. He added to his lead over Justin Acordino with a three-point nearfall at the buzzer for a 5-0 lead after one period. Starting from bottom in the second period, Rappo added another point to his lead with an escape with a twist for the 6-0 lead. A takedown from Rappo with 7 ticks left on the clock in the middle frame was good for an 8-0 lead. Accordino chose neutral for the third period, needing a huge swing to win the match. Accordion was shooting often throughout the period, knowing he needed to get into a pinning situation. He finally scored with five seconds left, but it was too little, too late and Rappo secured the 8-2 decision and the 18-16 win.
After a Cesar Grajales pin in the first match of the day over Jeff Rotella, Penn took a 6-0 lead. Those bonus points proved to be a big difference in the match as the three point swing was the difference between a two point win and a one point loss.
Grajales pinned Rotella with a double arm bar at the 6:50 mark of the match. Grajales was up 11-3 with riding time in his pocket at the pinfall. He picked up three takedowns and a three-point nearfall throughout the course of the match to help build a lead that was probably going to result in a major decision.
After Grajales’ win in the opening bout, Hofstra rallied through the remaining middleweight bouts, winning at 157, 165, 174 and 184 to build a 13-6 lead. Scott Giffin almost pulled off an upset of No. 10 Alton Lucas at 174 pounds, but couldn’t come back from an early 5-1 deficit, falling 6-4. Giffin scored an escape in the third period to get within 5-2, and then picked up two points on stalling calls against Lucas. Giffin was on the attack in the third, looking for the win. Lucas held on, not allowing a takedown and picking up the riding time point for the win.
Thomas Shovlin got Penn back on the board with a 12-6 decision at 197 pounds. Shovlin was on fire in the first period, attacking quickly for a takedown. After Anthony Tortora escaped, Shovlin took him right down again and converted the move into a three-point nearfall for a 7-1 lead after the first period. A takedown in the second period and two escapes in the third coupled with the riding time point gave Shovlin the win. He was in line for a major decision, but a late takedown from Tortora closed the gap.
Trey McLean won his fourth match in a row with a 10-5 win over Jordan Enck at heavyweight. McLean scored quickly, taking Enck down 27 seconds into the match. After an escape from Enck, McLean shot a single leg into a high crotch and took the Pride wrestler down again for a 4-1 lead after one period. McLean added three points in the second period with an escape from a bottom start and then another takedown. In the third, he added a reversal after a takedown from Enck. Riding time in favor of McLean gave him the 10-5 decision that brought Penn back to within one point, 13-12.
No. 12 Rollie Peterkin gave Penn its second lead of the match with a 4-2 decision over Steve Bonanno at 125 pounds. Bonanno had a 2-0 lead after one period with a takedown at the 2:44 mark of the bout. Peterkin chose top for the second period, and the choice proved wise as he turned Bonanno for three backpoints. Bonanno came close to a reversal, but Peterkin held on. A scoreless third period helped neither man, but 3:45 in riding time for Peterkin gave him the win.
At 133 pounds, No. 9 Lou Ruggirello put Hofstra back in front with a 5-0 shutout of Bryan Ortenzio. Ruggirello started the match with a takedown and rode Ortenzio out for the first period. The second period was scoreless and Ruggirello added a reversal in the third. His 4:26 of riding time added a point to his total and a 16-15 lead heading into the final bout.
The lead was short lived thanks to Rappo’s win at 141.
After the match, Rappo said he felt no pressure heading into his match.
“It just happened that I was the final bout,” he said. “I treated it like I was going out second or third and focused on wrestling my match. I was glad to help the team out and pull out a win.”
Penn is back in action on Feb. 7 with a pair of Ivy League and EIWA duals. Penn takes on Harvard at noon and Brown immediately following.
Penn def. No. 21 Hofstra, 18-16.
Match started at 149
149 – No. 10 Cesar Grajales (Penn) def. Jeff Rotella (HU), FALL 6:50; Penn leads 6-0
157 – No. 17 Jonny Bonilla-Bowman (HU) def. Gabriel Burak (Penn) Maj. Dec. 15-6; Penn leads 6-4
165 – No. 20 Ryan Patrovich (HU) def. Andrew Coles (Penn), Dec. 7-4; Hofstra leads 7-6
174 – No. 10 Alton Lucas (HU) def. Scott Giffin (Penn), Dec. 6-4; Hofstra leads 10-6
184 – Ben Clymer (HU) def. Colin Hitschler (Penn), Dec. 4-3; Hofstra leads 13-6
197 – Thomas Shovlin (Penn) def. Anthony Tortora (HU), Dec. 12-6; Hofstra leads 13-9
Hwt. – Trey McLean (Penn) def. Jordan Enck (HU), Dec. 10-5; Hofstra leads 13-12
125 – No. 12 Rollie Peterkin (Penn) def. Steve Bonanno (HU), Dec. 4-2; Penn leads 15-13
133 – No. 9 Lou Rugirello (HU) def. Bryan Ortenzio (Penn), Dec. 5-0; Hofstra leads 16-15
141 – Rick Rappo (Penn) def. Justin Accordino (HU), Dec. 8-2; Penn leads 18-16