Pitt Johnstown Edges Cards

January 27, 2017

WHEELING, W.Va. – In a furious finish, the Cardinals' Maxwell Lacey scored the winning heavyweight takedown with two seconds left for another dramatic finale victory. Pitt-Johnstown spoiled the Wheeling Jesuit victory hopes as it claimed the team victory via the total points scored and criteria win, 19-18, Friday night.

For the second week in a row, the Cardinals (9-5) took Super Region I's two perennial powerhouses to the final matches before they were edged – this time on the third criteria of total points, 66-60, by the Mountain Cats (11-2). 

"It's frustrating against opponents where we could have had two good wins and leave with a sick feeling being that close and not get the win," admitted WJU head coach Sean Doyle. "We have to have individuals understand and take their own responsibility. We lost the whole dual in the third periods as UPJ outwrestled us in the third period and it ultimately cost us the dual meet."

As was the case last Friday in Wesbanco Arena, WJU split the 10 matches with five wins going to each team. The difference was the final match. Mercyhurst claimed the 285-pound bout and edged out a 21-18 win. Lacey held strong and scored the final takedown on a lift with two seconds for the 3-1 victory to tie the match, 18-18, and force the decision to criteria.

Along with Lacey's victory, the Cardinals picked up three major decisions from Dustin Warner (133), Dominick Nania (149) and Terrance Fanning (197). Jacob Donahue started the night with a 3-0 decision at 125.

In the heavyweight bout, Lacey lifted the Region's No.3-rated D.J. Sims twice in the first period, but could not complete the move for a takedown. Sims escaped Lacey in the second period with 1:09 left. The Cardinals heavyweight returned the favor five seconds in the third to tie it, 1-1. In the final moments, Sims went in and Lacey took advantage with a power lift and takedown for the 3-1 win.

"It was Max's third or fourth time he has done this (winning late in the third period) this season. He rises to the moment against top opponents like this," said Doyle. With the victory, Lacey records his second career 20-win season and stands at 20-9 on the year.

The eventual tie was set up again in the preceding 197-pound matchup. Fanning powered his way to a quick takedown and two four-point near fall series for a 10-0 lead, before he took away the 12-0 major over UPJ's Nico Pecora. As the night finished strong, WJU's evening started just as much with its three other wins over the opening four bouts. Donahue took down the Mountain Cats' Zeke Beatty with 38 seconds left in the first period and added a riding time bonus point for a 3-0 125-pound decision.

Warner followed Donahue with a dominate 133-pound victory. The Cardinals junior went out to a 10-1 first period advantage, added a second-period takedown and finished a 14-3 win over Joe Davis to give WJU an early 7-0 lead.

After the Chris Eddins recorded a 4-1 decision at 141 over WJU's Nolan Whitely, who was wrestling up a weight, the home team added its other win. In the 149-pound bout, Nania reversed Corey Falleroni to start the second stanza and added a pair of back points and never looked back. The WJU senior finished with a final four-point near fall in the third for a 13-4 major decision final.

"Despite having trouble with his one-hour weigh in, Jake picked up the win and DJ (Warner) looked good again. It hard to be over critical of the two who worked hard (Warner and Fanning) over extended periods of time with their results tonight," added Doyle.

Top-ranked 157-pounder Cody Law had his hands full with up-and-coming freshman Greg Brusco. The WJU freshman reversed Law with 2:06 in the first period to tie the score, 2-2, but Law showed his might the remaining five minutes for the 22-10 high-scoring major.

After another 165-pound WJU major, Anthony Smith, who wrestled up a weight class in the three-weightclass jumbled lineup, and stood strong against No. 2 in the region John Blankenship. Smith held on for only a 7-1 decision defeat.

"T.J. always gives you that type of all-out effort every time he is in the lineup," stressed Doyle.

The Mountain Cats added a final major decision when Levin Neubauer major decisioned the final WJU wrestler up two weight classes, Keegan Driscoll, 13-3 for a visitor 18-11 lead heading into the final bouts.

WJU takes to the road next weekend for three dual matches. The Cardinals will wrestle next Friday night, Feb. 3, against the Warriors of East Stroudsburg in a 7 p.m. match.

No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown 18, No. 6 Wheeling Jesuit 18 – UPJ wins on 3rd criteria
125 – Jake Donahue (WJU) dec. Zeke Beatty (UPJ), 3-0 –– WJU 3-0
133 – Dustin Warner (WJU) maj. dec. Joe Davis (UPJ), 14-3 –– WJU 7-0
141 – Chris Eddins (UPJ) dec. Nolan Whitely (WJU), 4-1 –– WJU 7-3
149 – Dominick Nania (WJU) maj. dec. Corey Falleroni (UPJ), 13-4 –– WJU 11-3
157 – Cody Law (UPJ) maj. dec. Greg Brusco (WJU), 22-10 –– WJU 11-7
165 – Steve Edwards (UPJ) maj. dec. Nci Skonieczny (WJU), 9-1 –– Tied 11-11
174 – John Blankenship (UPJ) dec. Anthony Smith (WJU), 7-1 –– UPJ 14-11
184 – Levi Niebauer (UPJ) maj. dec. Keegan Driscoll (WJU), 13-3, 13-3 –– UPJ 18-11
197 – Terrance Fanning (WJU) maj. dec. Nico Pecora (UPJ), 12-0 –– UPJ 18-15
285 – Maxwell Lacey (WJU) dec. D.J. Sims (UPJ), 3-1 –– Tied 18-18

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