LOCK HAVEN - What a difference a year makes.
One year ago, the West Virginia Mountaineer wrestlers manhandled Lock Haven in the WVU Coliseum.
Sunday afternoon in Thomas Field House, it was LHU's turn to walk off with a big win as the Bald Eagles out-hustled the Mountaineers for a 19-15 victory before a nice crowd at the House of Noise.
Many times the team that wins the close matches comes out on top in the final score and that was the case for the Bald Eagles in their big win over WVU. There were six bouts decided by four or fewer points, and of those half-dozen bouts, four belonged to the Bald Eagles.
"We won six matches tonight against a perennial power," LHU head coach Robbie Waller said. "They are a good team, but right now all I can think about is how do we win the other four. We won the close ones tonight, but there were still a few others out there that I would like to get."
Starting at 157, the two teams traded 3-2 wins, Jason Luster making a third period escape stand up for a 3-2 nod over Muncy graduate Aaron Fry before Aaron McKinney used 1 minute, 26 seconds of riding time to return the favor for the Bald Eagles with a 3-2 nod over Ross Renzi.
Bubba Scheffel picked up a big six points for the Mountaineers at 174 with a fall in 5:09 over Tyler Wood, but that is when LHU put together a three-bout win streak for its first lead at 12-9 with four bouts left.
"We got on a little bit of a streak there and in the end, that made the difference," said Waller.
Fred Garcia started the streak when he made a takedown in the first period and an escape in the middle period stand up for a 3-1 win over nationally-ranked Lance Bryson at 184.
"That guy (Bryson) won matches at nationals last year," said Waller. "He is dangerous from a lot of areas and Freddie took his best position (neutral) away from him. It was just a great win for Fred."
As for dealing with Bryson, Garcia said that a little bit of familiarity might have helped him.
"I worked hard preparing for him all week and I remember him from high school so I knew what he does," said Garcia. "I was a little bit under the weather earlier, but I had a couple of good weeks of practice and I am trying to get back in the groove of things. Now I have to get ready for the Pitt duals next week."
Phil Sprenkle made it two in a row for the Bald Eagles at 197 when he used 1:05 time advantage for the deciding point in a 5-4 win over A.J. Vizcarrondo and LHU veteran Harry Turner turned the lineup over at 285 when he tallied an escape and takedown in the middle period plus 1:01 time for a 4-0 shutout over Phil Mandzik.
"We needed it and I would have liked it a little more if it was the last match, but today, they needed me in the middle so I did what I had to do," said Turner. "He (Mandzik) is good with the underhooks so I wanted to stay away from that situation. I knew he had a pretty good hook so I kept batting it away so that I could get my ties and not give him anything."
As the only senior in the LHU lineup, Turner sees the win as extremely important to the team for the rest of the season.
"This is the kind of progress we want to make," Turner said. "I don't know how long it has been since we beat West Virginia, but I know it hasn't happened in the time I have been here. We wanted this one real bad and I am glad we got it."
Holding a 12-9 lead and with four bouts left on the card, the Bald Eagles were hoping for at least a split and that is exactly what they got to pick up the win.
West Virginia veteran Shane Young was too much for LHU's Bobby Rehm at 125 as the nationally-ranked Mountaineer racked up five takedowns, two escapes and time for a 13-8 win over the LHU sophomore.
Freshman Matt Bryer got the Bald Eagles back on the winning track at 133 when he dominated Sean Fee for a 7-2 win, but another nationally-ranked Mountaineer gave WVU a chance to pull out the win when Nathan Pennesi tossed a 4-0 shutout at LHU freshman Dan Neff.
"The way Matt Bryer works he can do nothing but get better," said Waller about his freshman. "He works his tail off and you can see the results week in and week out. He has such a strong mind and he is going to be a good one for The Haven for years to come. I am glad we have him."
With the team score deadlocked at 15-all, it was time for junior college transfer Mac Maldarelli to step forward and perform on center stage and that is exactly what he did to pull out the win for LHU.
Using a takedown in the first period, an escape and a second takedown in the second period capped by two back points in the third period and 2:52 time, Maldarelli returned the favor to Pennesi and his teammates with an 8-0 shutout to seal the win.
"What composure for a guy who was wrestling at a junior college last year," said Waller about Maldarelli. "He came to the big stage at Division I and performs the way he did in a tough, tough situation. I was real happy with Mac tonight."
As for walking onto the mat knowing that the outcome of his bout meant a win or a loss in the dual meet, Maldarelli said he didn't feel any extra pressure.
"I felt pretty confident in myself as to what I was going to do in the match," he said. "I knew I had a good shot at winning it. I felt good all week and I was hoping that Dan (Neff) would pick up a win so there would be a little less pressure, but I don't let that stuff get to my head."
Lock Haven 19,
West Virginia 15
157:?Jason Luster, WV, dec. Aaron Fry, 3-2. (0-3). 165:?Aaron McKinney, LH, dec. Ross Renzi, 3-2. (3-3). 174: Bubba Scheffel, WV, pinned Tyler Wood, 5:09. (3-9). 184: Fred Garcia, LH, dec. Lance Bryson, 3-1. (6-9). 197: Phil Sprenkle, LH, dec. A. J. Vizcarrondo, 5-4. (9-9). 285: Harry Turner, LH, dec. Phil Mandzik, 4-0. (12-9). 125: Shane Young, WV, dec. Bobby Rehm, 13-8. (12-12). 133: Matt Bryer, LH, dec. Sean Fee, 7-2. (15-12). 141: Nathan Pennesi, WV, dec. Dan Neff, 4-0. (15-15). 149: Mac Maldarelli, LH, maj. Dec. Tim Wheeling, 8-0. (19-15).
Official: Mike Millward.