No. 17 John Dergo toughed out a 6-5 win over No. 16 Dave Erwin at 174 to seal No. 15 Illinois' 18-15 upset win over No. 8 Penn State
Feb. 3, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Behind strong efforts throughout the lineup, No. 15 Illinois upset No. 8 Penn State, 18-15, in front of 855 fans at Huff Hall on Sunday. The Illini won the first three matches and regrouped after consecutive losses at 141 and 149 to reel off three more wins and seal the dual-match victory. The Orange and Blue improve to 9-2 on the season, 1-1 in the Big Ten, while Penn State drops to 10-5 overall, 2-3 in conference action.
Starting off the dual at heavyweight, No. 19 John Wise was awarded a point in the first period after No. 15 John Laboranti was called for stalling twice. But Laboranti started down in the second and, after Wise racked up 1:18 in riding time, managed an escape point to tie the match 1-1 after two periods. Wise started down in the third and quickly escaped, pulling ahead 2-1. Laboranti shot late and nearly stacked up Wise, but the Illini heavyweight was able to scramble out and, with the riding time advantage, earn the 3-1 decision.
At 125, No. 9 Gabe Flores ended up on the right end of a scramble against No. 10 Mark McKnight nearly two minutes into the first period and earned a takedown for a 2-0 advantage. Flores then rode him out the rest of the period, earning 1:10 in riding time. McKnight started down in the second period and got an escape 20 seconds into the period, cutting Flores' lead to 2-1. With just under one minute left in the period, Flores found an opening and got another takedown, extending to a 4-1 advantage and building up more than two minutes in riding time. Flores started down and escaped to start the third, then finished strong with a 6-1 victory.
No. 9 Jimmy Kennedy then got a takedown in the first 30 seconds against Tim Haas at 133, but Haas earned a reversal a minute later to tie the match, 2-2. On the next restart, however, Kennedy fought his way to a reversal and a 4-2 lead before riding out Haas the rest of the period. Haas started down in the second, but Kennedy rode him out the entire two minutes, racking up 3:35 in riding time. Kennedy started down in the third and earned a reversal 24 seconds into the period, extending his margin to 6-2. Kennedy allowed an escape point, but his riding time advantage resulted in a 7-3 victory and a 9-0 Illini lead in the dual.
At 141, Garrett Scott got an early takedown on No. 11 Ryan Prater and racked up a two-point near-fall for a quick 4-0 lead. But Prater eventually escaped, cutting the margin to 4-1. Off the next restart, Prater shot and got an ankle, but Scott worked his way into a takedown and a 6-1 lead. After a quick scramble, Scott got Prater on his back and earned the pin at 2:21, cutting Illinois' margin to 9-6.
Grant Paswall started strong against No. 5 Bubba Jenkins at 149, but Jenkins earned a takedown with just under a minute left in the first period for a 2-0 lead after three minutes. Paswall started down in the second and got an escape 21 seconds into the period and, after no further scoring, trailed 2-1 after two periods. Jenkins started down in the third and earned a quick reversal, taking a 4-1 lead. Jenkins then got a two-point near-fall after Paswall attempted to roll out of the hold, and Paswall eventually got an escape, but the Nittany Lion earned the 7-1 decision and tying the match, 9-9.
No. 2 Dan Vallimont took a shot early in his match against top-ranked Mike Poeta, but Poeta scrambled with him and negated any scoring. About a minute later, Vallimont got in on a double-leg, but Poeta rolled him into a neutral position and the referee broke the hold. With 30 seconds left in the period, Poeta saw an opening and got a lightning-quick takedown for a 2-0 lead, but Vallimont got an escape with one second left to cut the deficit to 2-1 after one period. Poeta started down in the second and got a quick escape, extending his margin to 3-1. Vallimont shot late in the second and got in on Poeta, but the Illini once again rolled him neutral as time expired. Vallimont started down in the third and escaped quickly, cutting Poeta's lead to 3-2. With just under a minute left in the match, Vallimont exposed himself and Poeta got a single-leg, which he turned into a takedown and a 5-2 advantage. Poeta then rode him long enough to get over a minute of advantage, making Vallimont's late escape meaningless and earning a 6-3 decision.
At 165, Roger Smith-Bergsrud hooked Dave Rella's leg and worked it into a takedown at the edge of the mat, but Rella quickly escaped after the restart, giving Smith-Bergsrud a 2-1 lead after a period. Rella started down in the second and escaped quickly, tying the bout. After some intense hand-fighting, Rella hooked a leg, but Smith-Bergsrud was able to find the edge of the mat and get a restart. With the score tied after two periods, Smith-Bergsrud started down in the third and darted away for an escape and a 3-2 lead. The Illini junior fought off a number of late attacks by Rella, holding onto a 3-2 decision and pushing Illinois ahead, 15-9.
One minute into the 174-pound match, No. 17 John Dergo stacked up No. 16 Dave Erwin for a takedown, then rode him for 34 seconds before Erwin escaped. Dergo nearly got another with 35 seconds left in the first, but Erwin scrambled out of it, keeping the score at 2-1 in the Illini's favor after a period. Dergo started down in the second period and quickly escaped for a 3-1 lead. In the third, Erwin started down and escaped in short order, cutting Dergo's lead to 3-2. But Dergo found an opening and got a takedown with about 1:20 left in the match for a 5-2 advantage. Erwin escaped with just under a minute left, making the score 5-3, then scrambled into a takedown with 30 seconds left. But Dergo escaped with 17 seconds left and held off the Nittany Lion for the 6-5 victory and an 18-9 dual lead.
At 184, No. 13 Phil Bomberger earned a takedown against Ben Friedl 1:20 into their bout, but Friedl escaped 20 seconds later. Leading 2-1, Bomberger started down in the second and escaped in short order for a 3-1 margin. Bomberger then found a single-leg and got another takedown, but after getting rolled on his back for a second, Friedl escaped to cut the deficit to 5-2 after two periods. Friedl started down in the third and escaped in four seconds, bringing him within two points of Bomberger, but the Nittnay Lion got a takedown less than 20 seconds later. Friedl cut the margin to 7-4 with an escape but couldn't pull off the comeback, falling by that same score.
After 90 seconds of hand-fighting at 197, No. 13 Patrick Bond found the leg of No. 2 Phil Davis and had it elevated for a full minute, but Davis fought off the attack without giving up points and the first period ended scoreless. Davis started down in the second and Bond let him up quickly as the Lion took a 1-0 lead. With a minute left in the second, Bond scrambled into a near takedown but didn't get the points, and the position was eventually called neutral. Still trailing 1-0 to start the third, the wrestlers began in the neutral position. Each wrestler took good shots in the final period, but Davis managed to hold on to his narrow 1-0 decision. However, Illinois held on to its dual-match victory by the score of 18-15.
Up Next: The Illini return to the Huff Hall mat on Friday, Feb. 8, against No. 13 Wisconsin at 7 p.m. before taking to the road once again at No. 16 Indiana on Sunday. Friday's match will be broadcast live on WDWS AM-1400 in Champaign, and live audio and video of the match will be available on FightingIllini.com.
#15 Illinois 18, #8 Penn State 15
Match started at HWT
HWT: #19 John Wise (ILL) dec. #15 John Laboranti (PSU), 3-1 (3-0)
125: #9 Gabe Flores (ILL) dec. #10 Mark McKnight (PSU), 6-1 (6-0)
133: #9 Jimmy Kennedy (ILL) dec. Tim Haas (PSU), 7-3 (9-0)
141: Garrett Scott (PSU) pinned #11 Ryan Prater (ILL), 2:21 (9-6)
149: #5 Bubba Jenkins (PSU) dec. Grant Paswall (ILL), 7-1 (9-9)
157: #1 Mike Poeta (ILL) dec. #2 Dan Vallimont (PSU), 6-3 (12-9)
165: Roger Smith-Bergsrud (ILL) dec. Dave Rella (PSU), 3-2 (15-9)
174: #17 John Dergo (ILL) dec. #16 Dave Erwin (PSU), 6-5 (18-9)
184: #13 Phil Bomberger (PSU) dec. Ben Friedl (ILL), 7-4 (18-12)
197: #2 Phil Davis (PSU) dec. #13 Patrick Bond (ILL), 1-0 (18-15)