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Wolverines Close Dual Season with Win at No. 6 Pitt
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team won six individual matches, including each of the first five, to knock off No. 6 Pittsburgh, 18-13, in its season dual-meet finale on Saturday evening (Feb. 15) at the Panthers’ Fitzgerald Field House. Freshman heavyweight Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) sealed the Wolverine win with a decision in the final match.
The Wolverines closed out their dual schedule with an 11-4 record. They earned seven wins against nationally-ranked opponents, including three top-10 teams.
With Michigan carrying just a narrow two-point advantage in the final bout at heavyweight, Coon, ranked second in the latest InterMat poll, overcame a first-period scare to edge 19th-ranked P.J. Tasser, 9-6, and seal the U-M win for the third win this season. The wrestlers locked up early in the opening frame and Tasser threw Coon to his back, but the Wolverine freshman scrambled to quickly reverse the position, putting Tasser on his back to even the score at four apiece. He rode for more than a minute before Tasser escaped late in the frame. Both wrestlers earned their escapes in the second and third, but Coon maintained his riding-time advantage and picked up a point for stalling before countering a late Tasser shot attempt to ice the match and the dual.
The Wolverines benefited from a big early lead at the midpoint of the dual, earning five straight decision victories to build a 15-0 advantage. Sophomore/freshman Conor Youtsey (Parma, Mich./Mason HS) and sophomore Rossi Bruno (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS) initiated the Michigan momentum with back-to-back wins in swing matches at 125 and 133 pounds.
Youtsey, ranked 15th, scored the only offensive points in a 5-3 sudden-victory win over 19th-ranked Anthony Zanetta in the opening match, striking first on a second-period single leg and, after a third-period penalty point forced overtime, finishing on an outside sweep single to end the bout.
Bruno, ranked 19th, cruised past 20th-ranked Shelton Mack, 6-1, at 133 pounds behind single-leg takedowns in the second and third periods, riding out the remainder of both frames to accumulate 1:52 in time advantage.
Senior/junior Steve Dutton (Miller Place, N.Y./Rocky Point HS) rolled to a similar 6-1 decision over 17th-ranked Edgar Bright at 141 pounds — his second straight win over a ranked opponent. Dutton, himself ranked eighth, scored on a single leg in the first period and three back points on a leg turk in the third.
Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon HS), ranked eighth, took advantage of a big second period to secure an 8-5 decision over Mikey Racciato at 149 pounds, scoring on a single-leg takedown and two-point tilt. Racciato narrowed the score with a takedown on his own on the edge early in the third before Grajales iced it with a late high crotch.
Freshman Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North HS), ranked 14th, earned a decisive 6-0 shutout win over Cole Sheptock at 157 pounds with two takedowns and 2:44 in riding-time advantage. The Wolverine freshman countered a deep single-leg shot in the first period, defending it for a solid 30 seconds before scrambling for a takedown of his own and riding out the period. He added a single leg early in the third and again rode out the remainder of the frame.
Pittsburgh earned an upset win at 165 pounds, where Geno Morelli used a late takedown to defeat sixth-ranked fifth-year senior Dan Yates (Hesperia, Mich./Hesperia HS), 3-1, and kick off a stretch of four straight Panther wins and pull the team score within two.
Freshman Domenic Abounader (Gates Mills, Ohio/St. Edward HS) narrowly fell to sixth-ranked Max Thomusseit, 2-0, at 184 pounds. Abounader, ranked 16th, fought off a deep shot in the second period but was ridden out in the third and Thomusseit collected 1:53 in time advantage.
Michigan will take three weeks to prepare for the 2014 Big Ten Championships, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, in Madison, Wis. Hosted by the University of Wisconsin, the first session is slated for 10 a.m. CST on Saturday morning at the Kohl Center.