Feb. 15, 2014
PITTSBURGH – The No. 6 University of Pittsburgh wrestling team (12-3) was defeated by No. 8 Michigan (11-4), 18-13, on Senior Night at Fitzgerald Field House after a late comeback surge failed to overcome the Wolverines’ early lead.
Michigan built a large cushion early, winning decisions in the first five weight classes. With a 15-0 advantage, the Wolverines seemed poised to run away with the match before Pitt mounted a furious comeback.
Geno Morelli got the Panthers on the board with a 3-1 victory at 165 pounds over Michigan’s No. 6 Dan Yates. After a scoreless first period, Morelli scored an escape in the second to take the lead, 1-0. Opening the third period by cutting Yates free, the two battled until Morelli executed an 11th hour takedown on a go-behind with 20 seconds remaining in the match to take a 3-1 lead that he maintained for the win. Morelli’s win kicked off a string of what would be four straight Panther victories.
Pitt co-captain Tyler Wilps capitalized on the opportunity to build momentum, dominating Collin Zeerip at 174 pounds. Wilps chalked up three takedowns in the first period alone, and narrowly missed a last-minute near fall to increase his quick 6-2 lead. Keeping up the assault, Wilps scored five more takedowns in the remaining periods to bring his total to eight for the match. His 19-8 win over Zeerip was the only bonus point victory of the day, shrinking the Michigan lead to 15-7.
The Panthers’ Max Thomusseit and Nick Bonaccorsi also added victories at 184 and 197 pounds, respectively, to cut further into the Wolverine lead.
Thomusseit defeated Domenic Abounader by decision, 2-0. After scoring the first point of the match on a graceful tuck and roll escape in the second period, Thomusseit made use of his strength to ride out Abounader in the third to earn the riding time bonus and secure the win.
Bonaccorsi dominated his bout from the beginning, defeating Chris Heald 8-2 with three takedowns and over five minutes of riding time advantage as he controlled the match from start to finish.
With the Michigan lead now a mere 15-13, the contest hinged on the heavyweights. Panther senior P.J. Tasser faced Michigan’s No. 2 Adam Coon in what was arguably his toughest opponent of the season. Tasser took the initiative, taking Coon down and scoring a two-point near fall, only to have Coon earn a reversal and two-point near fall of his own moments later. After a reset, Tasser scored an escape to end the first period with a 5-4 advantage. Coon escaped to start the second to draw the mark even at 5-5. In a controversial third period, Tasser took the lead on an escape with 1:53 remaining, only to see Coon awarded with a stall point to tie them at 6 apiece. Coon sealed the victory by falling on Tasser for a takedown with only 11 seconds remaining, and Michigan held on to win, 18-13.
Pitt will return to the mats on Saturday, Feb. 22, travelling to North Carolina (6-10, 1-4 ACC) for a noon dual at Carmichael Arena. A victory would clinch sole possession of the ACC Title for the Panthers. Pitt will also wrestle Campbell (4-2) on the day.
No. 8 Michigan, 18 No. 6 Pitt 13
125: Conor Youtsey (M) dec. No. 19 Anthony Zanetta (P), 5-3; Michigan leads 3-0
133: No. 19 Rossi Bruno (M) dec. No. 20 Shelton Mack (P), 6-1; Michigan leads 6-0
141: No. 8 Steve Dutton (M) dec. No. 17 Edgar Bright (P), 6-1; Michigan leads 9-0
149: No. 8 Eric Grajales (M) dec. Mikey Racciato (P), 8-5; Michigan leads 12-0
157: No. 14 Brian Murphy (M) dec. Cole Sheptock (P), 6-0; Michigan leads 15-0
165: Geno Morelli (P) dec. No. 6 Dan Yates (M), 3-1; Michigan leads 15-3
174: No. 7 Tyler Wilps (P) m. dec. Collin Zeerip (M), 19-8; Michigan leads 15-7
184: No. 6 Max Thomusseit (P) dec. No. 16 Domenic Abounader (M), 2-0; Michigan leads 15-10
197: No. 18 Nick Bonaccorsi (P) dec. Chris Heald (M), 8-2; Michigan leads 15-13
285: No. 2 Adam Coon (M) dec. No. 19 P.J. Tasser (P), 9-6; Michigan wins 18-13