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No. 5 Cornell squeeks by 24th-ranked wrestling on tiebreaker 22-21

Teams split 10 bouts before Big Red are awarded one-point win on third tiebreak criteria

January 15, 2012

No. 5 Cornell squeeks by 24th-ranked wrestling on tiebreaker 22-21

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Contact: John Hartrick (

VESTAL, N.Y.—In a riveting wrestling match whose result was delayed several minutes as referees utilized the tiebreak criteria, No. 5 Cornell (5-0) eeked out a 22-21 win over No. 24 Binghamton (8-2) Sunday night from the Events Center. After the teams split 10 matches and the score stood at 21-21, new NCAA rules mandated a tiebreaking procedure.  With both teams, the large crowd and a Time Warner Cable Sports audience hanging on the final result, the officials tallied the total points scored by each team throughout the 10 matches - the third criteria - and the Big Red prevailed in that category, 80-71, to earn the extra point. The teams were tied in bouts won (5) and combined pins and technical falls (2), necessitating the third criteria. It is the first year that all tied matches are broken.

“We got closer tonight,” head coach Pat Popolizio said afterwards. “It’s hard to wrestle the No. 12 team (Oklahoma) and then the No. 5 team in the same week ... but our guys showed a lot of character. We showed we can compete with the best teams in the country. Our guys really stepped up in this great atmosphere tonight.”

Indeed, five days after pushing the 12th-ranked Sooners to the wire, BU showed its remarkable improvement against a Cornell team that had rolled to a 35-3 win over the Bearcats last season. Hosting a dual for the first time in the Events Center and also appearing on television for the first time, BU put on a great show for an estimated 1,200 fans. The match came down to the heavyweight bout with Cornell clinging to a 21-17 lead. Freshman heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski, ranked No. 20, overpowered redshirt senior Maciej Jochym for a 15-3 major decision to tie the team score at 21-21. Needing the technical fall for the team win, a relentless Gwiazdowski racked up six takedowns and had plenty of riding time but fell just short of the 15-point cushion needed for the tech fall. He improved to 17-4 overall, 7-1 in duals.

Ironically, a dominant showing by senior No. 8 Justin Lister at 157 pounds kept his match short and potentially limited his contribution toward the team points that ultimately decided the tiebreaker. Lister led Craig Eifert 4-0 in the first period before flipping him to his back and recording the pin - his team-high 11th of the season. Lister, 18-2 overall, 10-0 in duals, was hoping for a showdown with No. 1 Kyle Dake, who instead moved up to 165 and earned a pin of his own late in the match after compiling 17 points. 

The match seemed to follow a perfect script for the Bearcats, who needed a win in the light weights (and got it from junior 133-pound Patrick Hunter) plus bonus point wins from their three ranked wrestlers. In addition to Lister’s pin and Gwiazdowski’s major, junior No. 4 Donnie Vinson came up big with a 16-0 technical fall over Chris Villalonga at 149 pounds, earning the tech fall with one second remaining in the match after collecting three takedowns and eight back points. Vinson lifted his record to 22-3 overall, 10-0 in duals.

Hunter scored a 10-7 decision over Nick Pena to knot the team score at 3-3 early. He had a headlock and subsequent takedown and nearfall points to jump out to a 5-0 first-period cushion and used a takedown with 1:38 remaining in the match to seal the win.

Binghamton’s other win came from senior 165-pound Matt Kaylor, who bumped up to 174 and scored an 8-4 win over Marshall Peppelman. Kaylor (16-5, 8-2 duals) had three takedowns - the final one coming with just 31 seconds remaining - and his attack resulted in two stall points called against Peppelman.

Kaylor’s win pushed BU’s lead to 17-12 heading into the final three bouts. But Cornell’s high-ranking duo of No. 3 Steve Bosak (184) and No. 1 Cam Simaz (197) came through for the Big Red with a major decision and a technical fall, respectively, giving the visitors a 21-17 lead and setting the stage for the heavyweight drama. 

The Bearcats next head to Virginia for the CAA Duals on Saturday. They will face Rider, Boston University and Drexel in Fairfax.

No. 5 Cornell 22, No. 24 Binghamton 21 (tiebreak criteria)
*125 – No. 6 Frank Perrelli (C) dec. Derek Steeley (BU), 13-6
133 – Patrick Hunter (BU) dec. Nick Pena (C), 10-7
141 -  No. 15 Mike Nevinger (C) dec. Joe Bonaldi (BU), 9-2
149 – No. 4 Donnie Vinson (BU) tech fall (5) Chris Villalonga (C), 16-0, 6:59
157 – No. 8 Justin Lister (BU) pinned Craig Eifert (C), 1:48
165 – No. 1 Kyle Dake (C) pinned Joe Chamish (BU), 6:22
174 – Matt Kayor (BU) dec. Marshall Peppelman (C), 8-4
184 – No. 3 Steve Bosak (C) major dec. Nate Schiedel (BU), 8-0
197 - No. 1 Cam Simaz (C) tech fall (5) Cody Reed (BU), 22-6, 6:52
Hwt - No. 20 Nick Gwiazdowski (BU) major dec. Maciej Jochym (C), 15-3

* first match

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