Wrestling Takes Down Virginia Tech To Stay Undefeated
Those in attendance at a sold out Rec Hall got an early Christmas present Friday night, as No. 5 Penn State continued its unbeaten streak by defeating No. 9 Virginia Tech, 20-15. The Hokies are the highest-ranked team Penn State has faced so far this season.
The Lions won six of 10 bouts in a dual that came down to the last match-up.
The night started off with one of the dual’s two marquee match-ups when Jordan Conaway, No. 10 at 125, met No. 5 Joey Dance. Conaway fought back from a 2-1 deficit after the first round, pulling off a takedown and two back points to close out the second. Conaway held on to win, 7-5, putting the Lions up early.
Jimmy Gulibon, No. 5 at 133, pulled the Lions out to an early 6-0 lead after a convincing 9-4 win over No. 19 Kevin Norstrem. The lead didn’t last long, as VT senior Devin Carter, No. 3 at 141, pinned Michael Waters at 1:56 in the first period to tie the dual at 6-6.
The first lead change came after a Zack Beitz upset at 149. Beitz fell behind 0-2 after the first period and couldn’t recover, losing 7-5 to put the Hokies up 9-3. Redshirt freshman Cody Law racked up four takedowns in his bout at 157, defeating David Wesley 10-4 to tie the match going into the break.
The Lions had a strong showing out of the break at 165, as Garett Hammond manhandled Hokie Chris Moon on his way to a 17-2 tech fall that would put Penn State up 14-9. The match’s next headliner came when two-time All-American Matt Brown, No. 2 at 174, clashed with No. 9 Zach Epperly. Brown took a convincing 6-3 lead after two but couldn’t hold on in the third. Epperly tied with a late takedown to take the bout into a sudden victory period. Brown connected with an Epperly leg but couldn’t finish. Epperly countered and got the takedown to cut the score 14-12.
The match saw another lead change as Hokie junior Austin Gabel recorded a 5-3 win over Matt McCutcheon, ranked No. 18 at 184. The bout was tied at 2-2 after the second. Gabel pulled ahead thanks to a takedown late in the third. The win put the Hokies ahead 15-14 with two bouts to go. Morgan McIntosh, No. 4 at 197, promptly retook the lead for the Lions, winning his match-up 5-0 and putting the Lions on top heading into the last bout of the night.
With the score knotted 17-15, the winner of the heavyweight bout would decide the match winner.
Penn State senior Jimmy Lawson faced off against No. 6 Ty Walz. After a scoreless first period, Lawson recorded a late takedown in the second to go up 2-1. Lawson escaped early in the third and looked to have the match wrapped up when Walz recorded a takedown with 10 seconds to spare, tying the bout 3-3. Lawson appeared to escape from the takedown and was awarded the point, only to have a referee waive it and send the bout into extra time. The senior was calm and collected as he wrapped up the match with a takedown, recording the 5-3 (sv) victory and sealing the win for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State improved to 5-0 on the year and handed Virginia Tech its first loss of the season. The Lions will waste no time ringing in the new year as they look to win their fourth consecutive Southern Scuffle, taking place January 1-2 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
125: #10 Jordan Conaway PSU dec. #5 Joey Dance VT, 7-5 / 3-0
133: #5 Jimmy Gulibon PSU dec. #19 Kevin Norstrem VT, 9-4 / 6-0
141: #3 Devin Carter VT pinned Michael Waters PSU, WBF (1:56) / 6-6
149: Sal Mastriani VT dec. #13 Zack Beitz PSU, 7-5 / 6-9
157: Cody Law PSU dec. David Wesley VT, 10-4 / 9-9
165: Garett Hammond PSU tech fall Chris Moon VT, 17-2 (TF; 7:00) / 14-9
174: #9 Zach Epperly VT dec. #2 Matt Brown PSU, 8-6 (SV) / 14-12
184: Austin Gabel VT dec. #18 Matt McCutcheon PSU, 5-3 / 14-15
197: #4 Morgan McIntosh PSU dec. Jared Haught VT, 5-0 / 17-15
285: Jimmy Lawson PSU dec. #5 Ty Walz VT, 5-3 (SV) / 20-15