Mocs Clinch Share of SoCon Title with Win at Appalachian State
BOONE, NC (GoMocs.com)--- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team clinched at least a share of the Southern Conference regular season title with a 19-17 win at Appalachian State Sunday. The Mocs (11-5) are now 6-0 with one league match left, while the Mountaineers (7-8) drop to 4-1 in SoCon action.
The Mocs knew they were in for a tough battle with the Mountaineers. Things got even harder when they learned on Friday that sophomore Jared Johnson, the starter at heavyweight and team leader with a 25-6 record, would be out with an illness.
That made UTC's margin of error even smaller and further highlighted the fact that four of their five losses were by four points or less. Chattanooga split the five matches with Appalachian State today, and came up big with bonus points in key bouts.
Action began at 125 with UTC's 11th ranked senior Sean Boyle taking on ASU senior Dominic Parisi. Boyle scored a 9-6 decision to give UTC a quick 3-0 lead.
The Mocs got down big in three matches, including 7-1 at 133, 9-0 at 149 and 5-0 at 197. However, they battled back to score a win in each of those matches.
Senior Nick Soto, ranked No. 13 at 133 this week, was in a 7-1 hole to Vito Pasone. He ran off 10 straight points for the comeback win. It was his 110th career victory, moving him into sixth place on Chattanooga's all-time wins list. He is now 24-0 in his career in SoCon matches, while giving Pasone his first setback in league action.
“Nick got down big, but he didn't not give up and found a way to win,” stated head coach Heath Eslinger. “That was huge for us and set the tone for the rest of the match.”
ASU closed the gap to 6-3 with a win at 141 and looked in complete control up 9-0 at 149. That's when senior Shawn Greevy really got it going. He not only came back for the win at 149 over Javon Johnson, but he scored an astonishing 26-9 technical fall for five team points. That gave UTC an 11-3 lead.
Appalachian State responded with three consecutive wins over its own. Zach Strickland used a takedown in the closing seconds for a 4-3 win over Austin Sams and Nick Kee scored a 16-5 major decision over freshman Justin Lampe at 165. Forrest Przysz also used a takedown late in the third period for a 4-3 win over sophomore Sean Mappes at 174.
Trailing 13-11, sophomore McCoy Newberg took the mat for Chattanooga at 184. He dominated his match against Nick Vetell, turning in a 15-0 technical fall and giving the Mocs a 16-13 lead.
“McCoy's win was huge,” added Eslinger. “He wrestled great and really helped us get the win today.”
With Johnson out at heavyweight, the 197 bout was almost a must-win for Chattanooga. Sophomore Scottie Boykin took on Tyler Radford and he quickly found himself in a 5-0 hole. Boykin was able to battle back and post a 15-10 decision.
ASU was still in it, but had to have a pin at heavyweight. They had a chance with their No. 20 Denzel Dejournette going against junior Clay Dent who was wrestling up a weight. Dent fought him off as best he could before allowing a 15-2 major decision.
This is the eight-straight win for UTC and their 21st consecutive SoCon victory. The Mocs have won or shared 15 SoCon regular season titles since the league started recognizing a season winner in 1994. They have also won four-straight and 10 of the last 11. Chattanooga also improves to 35-1 in SoCon action in six seasons under current Coach Eslinger.
The Mocs are back in action next Sunday when they host Oklahoma at 2:00 p.m. in Maclellan Gym. This match is part of the NWCA National Duals. Tickets are available on GoMocs.com or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627). Be sure to check the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com for links to a live broadcast and live scoring.
Chattanooga 19 – Appalachian State 17 Sunday – Feb. 8, 2015 - Varsity Gym – Boone, N.C. 125: No. 11 Sean Boyle (UTC) – Dec. 9-6 - Dominic Parisi (ASU) – UTC 3-0 133: No. 13 Nick Soto (UTC) – Dec. 11-7 - Vito Pasone (ASU) – UTC 6-0 141: Michael Longo (ASU) – Dec. 3-1 - Michael Pongracz (UTC) – UTC 6-3 149: Shawn Greevy (UTC) – TF, 26-9 - Javon Johnson (ASU) – UTC 11-3 157: Zack Strickland (ASU) – Dec. 4-3 - Austin Sams (UTC) – UTC 11-6 165: Nick Kee (ASU) – MD, 16-5 - Justin Lampe (UTC) – UTC 11-10 174: Forrest Przybysz (ASU) – Dec. 4-3 - Sean Mappes (UTC) – ASU 13-11 184: McCoy Newberg (UTC) – TF, 15-0 - Nick Vetell (ASU) – UTC 16-13 197: Scottie Boykin (UTC) – Dec. 15-10 - Tyler Radford (ASU) – UTC 19-13 285: No. 20 Denzel Dejournette (ASU) – MD, 15-2 - Clay Dent (UTC) – UTC 19-17