WATCH CORNELL FACE COLUMBIA AT 1 P.M. AND HOFSTRA AT 3 P.M. ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, COURTESY OF MARK MORRIS OF PAWRVIDEO.COM
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#3 Cornell vs. #23 Hofstra Preview
By Betsy Veysman
A few weeks ago, two ranked New York teams battled down to the wire in Vestal, New York when Cornell edged Binghamton on criteria in a back and forth dual meet. This weekend in Ithaca, another Empire State dual will take place when two undefeated teams, the third-ranked Big Red and 23rd ranked Hofstra take the mat on Saturday at 3 p.m. Both squads sport undeafeated dual records for the 2011-12 campaign.
(The Big Red will face Ivy League foe Columbia at 1 p.m.)
The following is a match-by-match preview:
125: #5 Frank Perrelli (CU, 22-4) vs. #14 Steve Bonanno (HU, 21-5)
It’s fair to say that these two know each other well, as they have met twice already this season and on three occasions last year. While the Big Red grappler has won all five matchups, most have been close. At the Binghamton Open this past November, Perrelli escaped as time expired to earn a one-point victory over his Hofstra counterpart and then took a 3-1 decision at the Southern Scuffle. Bonanno has had a very solid campaign, but it’s hard to bet against Perrelli on Senior Day, especially given the recent history between these wrestlers.
133: Nick Arujau (CU, 1-0) vs. Jamie Franco (HU, 15-9)
While they haven’t wrestled as recently as the 125 pounders have, Arujau and Franco did have a high profile meeting in February of 2009. In the 125 pound Division I New York high school state championship match, Arujau prevailed by a 4-0 score. Plenty has happened since then and both have had fine seasons. Franco, who has a win over Army’s Jordan Thome and a Round of 12 finish at the Southern Scuffle, has been praised by the Pride coaching staff for his performance this year. Arujua has wrestled in a Cornell singlet only once since transferring from American, but while competing for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club during the first semester, Arujau took second at the Penn State Open and fifth at the Southern Scuffle. Slight edge to Arujau given a few more quality wins.
141: #17 Mike Nevinger (CU, 22-9) vs. Luke Vaith (HU, 15-7)
The two have not met and results against common opponents aren’t revealing. Both beat Conor Hanafee and Patrick Hogan, both lost to Tyler Small and Jake Sueflohn. While Nevinger defeated Frank Cimato twice, Cimato topped Vaith. On the other hand, Vaith turned in a breakthrough performance last weekend, defeating returning All-American Zach Kemmerer, a wrestler who has defeated Nevinger twice this year. What does it all mean? It’s a toss up between grapplers who both scored upset victories last weekend (Vaith over Kemmerer, Nevinger over Iowa State’s Luke Goettl). It certainly will have important implications for the team score.
149: #20 Chris Villalonga (CU, 19-5) vs. Justin Accordino (HU, 18-8)
Villalonga has recently broken into the rankings on the heels of a victory over top 10 opponent Corey Jantzen of Harvard. Since moving up from 141 pounds, the New Jersey native has won 18 of 21 matches, with two of his losses to the #1 and #4 grapplers in the land (Penn State’s Frank Molinaro and Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson). Accordino has rather quietly had a high quality campaign in his return from his second ACL injury. Since dropping a match in the consolation bracket to Cornell’s Craig Eifert at the Southern Scuffle, Accordino has reeled off eight straight victories.
157: #1 Kyle Dake (CU, 23-0) vs. Tyler Banks (HU, 10-8)
It’s no secret that Dake is the favorite here. That’s not a knock on Banks; it would be true against any 157-pounder in the nation. The two-time NCAA champion returned to action at this weight against Iowa State last Sunday after missing time with an injury. He looks to return to dominant form and pick up bonus points, which he has earned in 13 of 23 matches this year. Banks has won four of his last five, including two pivotal triumphs in last weekend’s sweep over Rutgers and Penn.
165: Marshall Peppelman (CU, 22-12) vs. #19 PJ Gillespie (HU, 21-5)
The Pride’s returning All-American edged Peppelman 2-1 at the Binghamton Open at the beginning of the campaign. While both competed at the Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle, they did not meet again. Gillespie took second at Vegas and fourth at the Scuffle while Peppelman was seventh at the latter tournament. The Hofstra senior is coming off an undefeated weekend in which he upset then-ninth ranked Scott Winston of Rutgers while the Big Red wrestler suffered a tough loss to fourth-ranked Andrew Sorenson of Iowa State on Saturday. Gillespie tends to wrestle close matches and will be favored to take this one.
174: Billy George (CU, 13-9) vs. Jermaine John (HU, 7-12)
It’s a matchup of a pair of freshmen who have had their ups and downs throughout the season. George’s 8-2 decision over John at the Las Vegas Invitational in December makes him the favorite in this bout.
184: #3 Steve Bosak (CU, 24-2) vs. #11 Ben Clymer (HU, 23-6)
Similar to 125, these wrestlers are not strangers. Bosak defeated Clymer 3-0 in a hard fought bout in the Binghamton Open finals this season in addition to victories the other three times they have met. The matches have all been fairly close, with scores of 3-0, 4-1 and 3-1. Both competitors have been on a roll lately, with Bosak winning seven straight and Clymer capturing eight consecutive victories. However, until proven otherwise, the Cornellian is favored by decision.
197: #1 Cam Simaz (CU, 18-1) vs. Tim Murphy (HU, 10-15)
Simaz puts points on the board. 16 of his 18 wins this year have been by bonus points, including 5 technical falls and 8 pins. Murphy and Matt Loew have both manned the 197 spot for the Pride this season but the former got the call a week ago against the Scarlet Knights and Quakers. When Simaz takes the mat against almost anyone, expect bonus points for the Big Red.
285: Maciej Jochym (CU, 13-12) vs. Paul Snyder (HU, 15-8)
This looks like another toss up. These heavyweights met twice at the Binghamton Open. In the opening round of the tournament, Jochym defeated Snyder, 11–4. Hours later, Snyder returned the favor in the third place match, coming out on top, 3-2. Both were eliminated in the Round of 12 at the Southern Scuffle and in the same round at the Las Vegas Invitational. For Hofstra to take the dual, this will be a key bout to win.
The Pride wrestlers have won 13 straight and clearly have a very good dual lineup. However, Cornell matches up well with Hofstra’s strengths. It’s unlikely that the result will be anything like the 45-0 shutout that the Big Red had against the Pride a year ago in Hempstead, but the Big Red should ride the Senior Day crowd to a comfortable victory in the first duals held at the Friedman Center this season.