Moc grapplers post 33-7 win over SIU-Edwardsville
CHATTANOOGA, TN (gomocs.com) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team scored a 33-7 win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in Southern Conference action at Maclellan Gym Sunday. The Mocs won eight of 10 matches to improve to 5-2 overall and remain undefeated at 3-0 in league action. The Cougars dropped to 1-5 and 0-1 in conference matches.
UTC scored bonus points in four wins today. Freshman Alonzo Allen and senior John Lampe scored pins at 125 and 184, while juniors Michael Pongracz and Sean Mappes had tech falls at 141 and 174.
"It's good that we're going after bonus points," stated head coach Heath Eslinger. It's always good that it's a little buffer for when you get an eight or nine point lead."
Allen's second-period pin against Joe Antonelli gave the Mocs a quick 6-0 lead. He improves to 8-5 overall and 4-3 in duals. It was also his second pin of the season.
"It's huge and confidence is the key to anything in life," said Eslinger when asked about the significance of getting a pin in the first match of the day. "There are a lot of things that lead to confidence. In wrestling, a takedown leads to confidence that leads to a good win. I thought Alonzo did a good job. He did a good job Friday night too, so it's a little bit of momentum in that weight class."
Pongracz remained undefeated with his tech fall over John Muldoon at 141. Muldoon got to Pongracz's legs four times in the match, but each time Pongracz turned the tables and scored a takedown. A total of 12 back points in the match allowed Pongracz to score five team points.
After giving up a major decision at 149, UTC only led 11-7. The 157 match that followed was a tight one throughout, and would turn out to be the pivotal bout of the day.
Freshman Kamaal Shakur was down 4-3 to Nate Higgins when he was hit with a penalty in the second. A late flurry later in the period included a takedown by Shakur, reversal by Higgins and an escape at the buzzer for a 7-6 Higgins lead heading into the final frame. Shakur escaped to tie it at seven and then won it on a late takedown. Higgins escaped at the buzzer, but Shakur kept the momentum on UTC's side.
"He keeps winning and is 11-2 as a redshirt freshman," said Eslinger about Shakur's performance. "He can beat anybody in the country I think and today he found a way to win."
Freshman Dominic Lampe improved to 11-4 with his 10-6 win at 165. That was followed by Mappes' tech fall at 175 and a first-period pin by the eldest Lampe at 184.
The last two matches are usually automatic for the Mocs, but both juniors Scottie Boykin and Jared Johnson were looking to avenge losses from a year ago. Boykin split with the Cougars' Jake Tindle, including a loss in the first round of the SoCon Tournament. SIUE's Chris Johnson had an overtime win against the Mocs' Johnson at heavyweight in last year's dual.
Things were different today, beginning with Boykin's 8-3 decision at 197. The 18th-ranked Boykin improved to 10-3 overall and 4-0 in SoCon action. The 13th-ranked UTC Johnson scored a 6-0 win at heavyweight.
"We had good wins today at 197 and heavyweight," added Eslinger. "Two guys that we took losses to last year and it was good to go out and dominate those guys and make a statement.
"Again, up and down the lineup we looked decent. I think we got tired at some spots and we have to do a good job to make sure we're trained in the right way individually. Each guy has his own sets of struggles and we have to dial those in, because at the end of the year, there's no room for error."
This was the Mocs 24th consecutive SoCon win for UTC, dating back to the start of the 2013 season. It was also the 79th win for Eslinger who is 79-43 (.648) in seven years at his alma mater. He recently passed Andy Nardo for second on UTC's all-time wins list.
Chattanooga takes a few days off for the Christmas break before returning for the Defense Soap & Flips Wrestling Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2 in McKenzie Arena. Tickets are available on GoMocs.com for the two-day tournament.