The Matchup: Justin Kerber (Cornell) vs. #17 Paul Gillespie (HU)
Synopsis: The premier match-up of the evening, this will be a battle of two guys who have spent considerable time in the national rankings throughout their collegiate careers. While on paper, Gillespie’s current spot in the rankings would lead many to consider him the favorite, I tend to consider this bout a good ole fashion toss-up…In fact, the last time that these two gentlemen met, it was the Big Red junior getting the better of the exchange, winning a 5-2 consolation bout at the Southern Scuffle in December…Working in favor of Gillespie is that just last week, he was successful in avenging one of his losses this season, earning a third period escape to defeat nationally ranked Gabe Burak from UPenn. Hence, the RS sophomore should take the mat tomorrow full of confidence that he can make it 2-for-2 in back-to-back weekends….Kerber meanwhile, like his teammate Grey, might enter the dual with a sense of owning something to the home crowd after his bonus point loss to Jon Reader of Iowa State…The result of this match could play a big part in how the rest of the season goes for these two talented wrestlers…A Gillespie win will be a certain confidence booster and coul surge him to a repeat of the 2009 season when he emerged out of seemingly nowhere to win the CAA title and then proceeded to make the round of 12 at the National tournament….For Kerber, the win would be a way of putting last weekend behind him and showcasing that despite his struggles this season, he remains very dangerous and should be considered a threat to challenge for AA honors in Omaha….I went back and forth when deciding who to pick as the winner in this match. Ultimately, what won out in my mind was the home mat advantage, coupled with the motivation that comes with being humbled in your last match. Having recently watched Georgetown rebound from a loss in a college basketball game by kicking the butts of my beloved Duke Blue Devils, there is gut feeling that I have that says that Kerber is going to come out like a madman tomorrow. In a match where I could see the first takedown being the deciding factor, my instincts tell me that it will be Kerber who will be able to strike first from the feet.
Prediction: Kerber wins by decision
Projected Team Score: 19-4 Cornell
Result: Kerber (Cornell) Dec Gillespie (HU), 3-1 sv
The Matchup: #1 Mack Lewnes (Cornell) vs. Jon Rothman (HU)
Synopsis: A few weeks ago, 174 was the weight class that I was most looking forward to seeing contested in this dual. The reason for this was that prior to being lost for the remainder of the season with a knee issue, Ryan Patrovich was the schedule opponent for Cornell’s Lewnes. If you remember, it was Patrovich that upset #1 seed Lewnes in the first round of the National tournament in 2009. Tomorrow as supposed to accomplish one of two things—Either Patrovich would prove that his victory was legit and not a result of a sick and injured Lewnes, or Lewnes would avenge the loss and demonstrate that what happened in the past will stay in the past and that 2010 is a whole new ballgame…Unfortunately, with the perennially top-20 ranked Pride junior out of the line-up, 174 instantly went from being one of the best match-ups of the day to being one of the least anticipated in my mind…I give Jon Rothman credit for stepping up in a time of need for his team. However, it would be misleading and unfair to all parties if I was to suggest that he is on Lewnes’s level as a wrestler; Not many people are on that level of ability…Having seen Lewnes dominate almost every opponent that he has faced in 2010, I was left with no other choice but to award bonus points…If Rothman keeps this match to a major decision, in my mind he would have gone a heck of a job and made a good showing of himself…This is not meant as a discredit to the Pride wrestler as much as it is intended to be a glowing observation of the type of season that Lewnes has had thus far.
Prediction: Lewnes wins by pin
Projected Team Score: 25-4 Cornell
Result: Lewnes (Cornell) Pinned Rothman (HU) 1:01
The Matchup: #17 Steve Bosak (Cornell) vs. Ben Clymer (HU)
Synopsis: It remains unknown whether or not this match-up of talented sophomores will even go down…It was reported last week that Clymer missed the team’s dual against UPenn because of a violation of team policy. The extent of his punishment has not been confirmed. It this bout does materialize, it should be a very good one, rivaling 165 for best of the evening honors….To me, both of these former PA standouts seem to incorporate similar strategies into winning matches. While I admit that I have not seen as much of Bosak as I have of Clymer, in the little that I did see, it appeared that he is someone who is very adept at working from the top position. As I noted in the CU/ISU preview, at the National Duals, I watched as Bosak successfully ride Kirk Smith of Boise State for well over a minute. Should he secure the initial takedown of the match, I see no reason why he would not be able to do the same thing about Clymer…To a certain extent, I will say the same thing about Clymer. For the past year and a half, I have seen him make his living by applying hard rides to his opponents. Last season, in the dual against Binghamton, Clymer managed to hold down All-American Josh Patterson for almost an entire period…He also wrestled Rider All-American Doug Umbehauer to within a single point, dropping a 3-2 decision in the CAA semifinals last season….Perhaps the best thing that I can say about Clymer is that he appears to be someone who rises to a challenge…The quality of his opponent seems to bring out the best in him. On the flipside, at times I wonder if he is also guilty of wrestling down to competition, as evident this season when he just barely got by a pair of back-ups, T.C. Pendleton of Ohio State and Todd Porter of Missouri…Fortunately for Pride fans, Bosak is an elite competitor. Therefore, if the trend continues, Clymer should be in top form…If he competes, Clymer will come into the dual on something of a hot streak, having won his last nine matches. However, of those nine victories, none of his opponents were nationally ranked and as highly regarded as is Bosak…If Clymer is to keep his undefeated record in duals this season intact, he is going to need wrestle own of his best matches of the year; Bosak will have the home crowd on his side…I expect this to be a rather low scoring affair, perhaps as low as 3-2 or 4-3….It would not surprise me if a single TD was the deciding factor…If Clymer remains suspended, look for the Pride to drop senior Anthony Tortora down to 184 for the dual…While 184 is a more natural weight class for the undersized Pride wrestler, the truth is that even at the lower weight, I do not think he would be favored…Tortora is the ultimate gamer; While the scoreboard does not always favor him, he is an individual who never cheats himself, his team, or the fans. He gives 110 percent during every second of the match. While not blessed with the same level of natural ability as his teammate, Bonilla-Bowman, the gas tank that Tortora has late in matches often comes in handy…On several occasions last season (including the dual against Cornell), I watched as Tortora rallied late in the match to prevent bonus points against him….Regardless of which Pride wrestler gets the call tomorrow, I am inclined to go with the guy with the national rankings…If it is Clymer who suits up at this weight class, a Pride victory is certainly within attainment…UPDATE (2/6/10 4:00 pm): Clymer was in the starting line-up for a dual earlier in the day against Binghamton. Therefore, we will be getting the match-up that we all were hoping for.
Prediction: Bosak wins by decision
Projected Team Score: 28-4 Cornell
Result: Bosak (Cornell) Dec Clymer (HU), 4-1
The Matchup: #5 Cam Simaz (Cornell) vs. Anthony Tortora (HU)
Synopsis: If there is one wrestler who likely is really looking forward to tomorrow, it is Big Red super sophomore, Cam Simaz. The last time that Simaz competed in front of the home crowd, he got beaten badly, 20-1 by #1 ranked Jake Varner of Iowa State….As good as Varner is, I honestly do not think he is 19 points better than Simaz…After all, Simaz is a returning All-American who owns victories over several members of the national top-20 rankings already this season. Last week’s performance stuck me more as the exception that the rule…I fully expect him to rebound with conviction tomorrow, remaining on the attack and seeking bonus points. If his opponent is Tortora, Simaz will likely think back to last season’s match-up, which he won 10-4, for a winning strategy…Again, as I stated in the synopsis for the 184-pound weight class, Tortora is the kind of guy who is hard to major because he simply refuges to quit. For this reason, I am going to reward his gutsy attitude and say that while his opponent might get close, I don’t think bonus points (unless it’s a pin) will come into play…I’d predict that Simaz jumps out to a decent sized lead through the first two periods and then Tortora narrows the gap over the course of the final two minutes to keep the extra point off of the board….If Tortora wrestles at 184, Pat Murphy becomes the obvious choice to fill in at 197, which he did during the dual with UPenn….If it is Murphy and not Tortora at this weight, I think Simaz ends the night early but getting the fall either late in the first period or early in the middle stanza…With only one career varsity match under his belt, throwing Murphy against a returning All-American may prove to be too big a task to ask of the redshirt freshman from Nazareth, PA.
Prediction: Simaz wins by decision (Tortora); Simaz wins by fall (Murphy)
Projected Team Score: 31(2)-4 Cornell
Result: Simaz (Cornell) Pinned Tortora (HU) 6:47
The Matchup: Josh Arnone (Cornell) vs. Paul Snyder (HU)
Synopsis: Pride starter Paul Snyder will remain sidelined with a knee issue. Without another big man on the HU roster, the team has no choice but to forfeit the weight class…The automatic six for the Big Red senior !…..UPDATE (2/6/10 4:00 pm): Originally it was my understanding that the Pride’s RS freshman would be sitting out until the CAA Conference Tournament. However, apparently this was a miscommunication as Snyder returned to action earlier on Saturday to compete in HU’s dual against Binghamton University. Suffering a 3-1 loss, it is possible that the knee injury, while not significant enough to keep him out of the line-up, does continue to be a factor in his effectiveness…With regard to the CU senior, Arnone, while his efforts have not yeilded too many “ws” of late, it is because of the caliber of his recent opponents and not his ability. He has stayed close with some of the best in the land the past few weeks. I truly believe he is hitting his stride and beginning to peak for the postseason…I see him winning a 6-1, 7-2 type decision over the less experienced, slightly banged up Hofstra wrestler.
Prediction: Arnone wins by Decision
Projected Final Team Score: 34-4 Cornell
Result: Arnone (Cornell) Dec Snyder (HU), 6-0
Final Team Score: Cornell-37; Hofstra-6