WVU closes out regular season with wins over Edinboro, Cleveland State
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012 23:02
The West Virginia men's wrestling team had its final matches in the last two dual meets of the regular season this past weekend.
With the Eastern Wrestling League Championships approaching near, the Mountaineers looked for strong results against the No. 10 Edinboro Fighting Scots and the Cleveland State Vikings.
That's what the Mountaineers got Saturday night. WVU was able to win 18-17 off of a closing win from heavyweight Brandon Williamson.
"Brandon wrestled very well under the circumstances he was in," said head coach Craig Turnbull. "That is a tough situation that comes with the territory at heavyweight. He handled it very well and kept control of the match."
Williamson has been in the situation before, however. Against Clarion and Rutgers earlier in the season, Williamson proved to be the difference maker, as well. The Fighting Scots held a 17-15 advantage heading into Williamson's match. Williamson earned a 3-0 decision victory, which clinched the victory for West Virginia.
"The team was determined that, since we have been all around the spectrum this season, that we need to pull it all together," Turnbull said. "Tonight's win should put us in a top-25 position. It was a good win for the team overall."
The Mountaineers started off well early with a 6-0 lead, with junior Shane Young (125) pinning Kory Mines at the 4:30 mark.
"Shane's extra three points were critical," Turnbull said. "We needed to win two of three at 133, 141 and 149 pounds, and Shane's pin gave us a little bit of leeway."
At 133, redshirt sophomore Nathan Pennesi lost in a close decision to Edinboro's A.J. Schopp. However, at 141 pounds, sophomore Michael Morales gave WVU another bit of leeway. Morales defeated No. 14 Mitchell Port 8-6, which gave the Mountaineers a 9-3 advantage.
After the Fighting Scots had victories at 149 and 157, redshirt senior Kyle Eason would bring WVU back into the lead with a 6-0 decision victory. Redshirt junior Lance Bryson earned a huge win at 174.
Bryson was down 3-1 with less than 20 seconds remaining, after the Fighting Scots' Chris Hrunka earned a takedown. Bryson earned an escape point following a Hrunka takedown, and he got a takedown of his own with 12 seconds left to clinch the victory.
"We wrestled well enough that we could have made that easier on ourselves," Turnbull said. "We should have taken control of that match and should not have been in the position to give that takedown up to them. When it came down to winning the match, though, Lance had his back to the wall and responded the way you would hope."
WVU went to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the EWL following the upset win. The Mountaineers closed out the dual-meet season with a match at Cleveland State Sunday.
On Senior Day for the Vikings, Cleveland State was another victim to the recent hot streak for West Virginia. The Mountaineers dominated against the Vikings 36-6.
WVU ended the dual-meet season on a positive note, advancing to 9-4 overall and 4-2 in the Eastern Wrestling League.
Young and Penessi started things off well for the Mountaineers at 125 and 133, respectively. Young earned a 6-1 decision, while Pennesi dominated to a 14-1 major decision. It was Pennesi's 25th win of the season, good for best on the team.
WVU continued to excel with Morales earning a pin at 141 pounds. It was his fourth pin of the season and third in his last four matches. Cleveland State would win its only two matches at 157 and 165 pounds.
At 174, Bryson would win via a major decision 10-2. At 184, Matt Ryan earned a pin of his own at 1:20. At heavyweight, Williamson won by forfeit, extending his winning streak to 10 matches.
"Today concerned me because of the hard-fought match that we had last night against Edinboro," Turnbull said. "This was a match that could have been a natural let down for us. Cleveland State hasn't had a lot of success this season, so we needed to be very professional in our approach.
"We needed to finish the season strong and feeling good about ourselves. It was a good overall effort on our behalf."