ANNAPOLIS, Md. â€” Trailing 19-9 with three matches remaining, a pin by sophomore heavyweight Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) helped spark a Navy run that resulted in a 21-19 victory over North Carolina Saturday evening at Halsey Field House in Annapolis. While Navy improved to 4-2 on the year, the win was also memorable for 11th-year Navy head coach Bruce Burnett who captured his 100th-collegiate dual victory.
â€œYou canâ€™t script a match like tonightâ€™s, thatâ€™s for sure,â€ said Burnett. â€œHonestly, winning takes care of itself if youâ€™re doing the right things and we had our share of problems with that. There were several performances Iâ€ˆwas really pleased with – Bryce Saddoris took it to his opponent from start to finish, Mason Bailey fought to the bitter end and gets another terrific win, Matt DeMichiel nearly had two teeth knocked out and he got us a win, Aaron Kalil is just steady out there and Allen Stein really performed like a senior.
â€œWe had a good week of practice, but we need to come out and take care of business. Tonight wasnâ€™t our best performance and we have a heck of a good team in Rutgers coming in here tomorrow night, so Iâ€™m expecting a better effort.â€
Navy found itself in a huge hole after just two matches with 141-pound Mike Rappo taking the opening match by fall over Navyâ€™s Dustin Haislip (Inwood, W.Va.) with just eight second remaining in the match, followed by a major decision by Nick Stable of Navy junior Collin Leadbeter (Owings, Md.) at 149 pounds.
Burnett turned to team captain Bryce Saddoris (Spring Creek, Nev.) to help turn the momentum in Navyâ€™s favor. Saddoris, ranked sixth nationally at 157 pounds, faced North Carolina Corey Mock who came into the match with a stout 29-11 record in his rookie season. Saddoris scored the opening takedown and never looked back as he earned a 12-5 decision with better than two minutes of riding time to give Navy its first win of the evening.
The 165-pound bout was one of the best of the night, pitting Navy sophomore Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.) against redshirt senior Thomas Scotton of North Carolina. No strangers, the two had battled one another twice earlier in the year with Scotton scoring wins in both bouts, including an 11-4 decision at the Southern Scuffle. After a scoreless opening period, each wrestler scored an escape in the remaining two periods to force extra minutes. Neither wrestler saw the chance to score a point until the second tie breaker where again, both wrestlers scored an escape in their respective 30-second tie breaker block. With the match going down to the wire, Bailey was able to establish approximately seven seconds of riding time that was then trimmed to five before time ran out. It was enough for Bailey to score the upset, 2-2 TB2 (w/RT).
â€œI had wrestled him (Scotton) twice this season and I watch a lot of tape of him wrestling Bryce last year,â€ said Bailey. â€œHeâ€™s a tough competitor, but Iâ€ˆknew what I needed to do in the match to be successful.
â€œI tend to wrestle up to my competition,â€â€ˆadded Bailey, who knocked off 18th-ranked Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh just two weeks ago. â€œIâ€™ve taken my share of lumps this season and Iâ€™m trying to get that monkey off my back.â€
Senior Matt DeMichiel (Whitesboro, N.Y.) took the mat looking to ride the momentum the Mids had built with his match at 174 pounds against Carolina freshman Andre Petroski. Down 2-1 entering the second period, the following 20 seconds happened so quickly it was almost a blur. DeMichiel immediately reversed Petroskiâ€™s hold and was then awarded a penalty point because Petroski locked his hands. Just seconds later Petroski fought out of DeMichielâ€™s grasp, but again DeMichiel brought Petroski down to the mat. Petroski did break free prior to the end of the period, trailing DeMichiel, 6-4, going into the final period.
Petroski knotted up the match at six all with a takedown early in the period, but DeMichiel scored the go-ahead escape with 1:09 remaining in the bout. Despite being dinged with a stall warning with under a minute to go, DeMichiel, with blood coming from his nose and mouth, held on to take the 7-6 win and get Navy to within one at 10-9.
Heading into the 184-pound bout, there was no doubt who the favorite was. Navyâ€™s Luke Rebertus (Gloucester, Va.) is ranked 11th nationally and was facing a near-.500 freshman, Antonio Giorgio. Rebertus looked to have the match in hand with a 2-1 lead heading into the final period, but a reversal by the Carolina rookie left Rebertus fighting from behind for a second-straight week. While Rebertus was fighting to get free, Giorgio was the riding time climb and went on to upset the Navy junior, 4-2.
The Mids went from one point down to a whopping 10-point deficit in just two matches, as North Carolina redshirt freshman Zac Bennett scored a pin over Navy senior Greg Prioleau (Poway, Calif.) at 197 pounds.
With three matches remaining, Navy not only had to win all three, at least one of the three would have to come up with bonus points.
There was no time like the present for Miller to step up for his team and get that bonus point win. With the match winding down, Miller held a 3-2 advantage and looked as though he would secure the first step in Navyâ€™s comeback. But with roughly 12 seconds remaining, Miller bulldozed the Tar Heelsâ€™ Ben Brooks to the mat and pinned his foe with an unbelievable two seconds remaining in the match. The win brought the fans and the Navy bench to their feet and provided the electricity the Mids would need in their final two matches.
â€œIâ€™m sure he (Brooks) was looking to pin me and put the match away and I was certainly looking to pin him and get this match turned around for us,â€ said Miller, who improved to 14-9 this season, including 3-1 in dual bouts. â€œI felt like it really came down to who worked the hardest and Iâ€™m thankful I was able to capitalize on some moves Iâ€ˆmade tonight. Iâ€ˆturned the tide on the scoreboard for sure and I think it helped build some momentum as Aaron (Kalil) and Allen (Stein) got ready for their matches.â€
Next up for Navy was junior 125-pound Aaron Kalil (Salem, N.H.) who has been as consistent as any Navy wrestler this season. Kalil, a 2010 NCAA qualifier, came into the match having won three-straight duals. He broke a 3-3 tie early in the second period when he scored a reversal and then rode his foe, sophomore Nick Shields, out for the remainder of the period (1:38). Shields escaped quickly to start the third period, but was unable to get anything going and Kalil picked up the 6-4 win with riding time to get the Mids to within just one point, 19-18, with one bout remaining.
In the final match of the evening, Navy had the upperhand with a senior, Allen Stein (Portland, Maine), on the mat while the Tar Heels looked to freshman Pat Owens. Stein took a 2-0 advantage with 30 seconds remaining in the first period and pushed it to 4-0 after nearly scoring the pinfall. By the end of two periods, Stein held a 6-3 advantage with momentum well in Navyâ€™s corner. Stein took a 7-3 lead with an early escape, but Owens made it interesting with a takedown with 1:16 left in the match. Owens let Stein get to his feet knowing he had to get another takedown. Owens instead received a point after Stein was called for two stall warnings in the final 40 seconds. Stein, though, would hold on and claim a 9-6 victory with riding time to win his match and lead Navy to a spectacular come-from-behind victory.
â€œThe coaches always tell you that itâ€™s just another match, no matter who the opponent is or what the score is,â€ said Stein, who has been involved in some memorable matches over his career, including a huge victory at 133 pounds against Army in last yearâ€™s Star Match. â€œAt the end of the day, it all boils down to a one-on-one match. I knew Iâ€ˆhad every one of my teammates behind me and I knew Iâ€ˆhad to give everything Iâ€ˆhad for seven minutes.
â€œI had wrestled this guy earlier in the year and he beat me,â€ added Stein. â€œIâ€ˆhad that in the back of my head.â€
Navy 21, North Carolina 19
Jan. 28, 2011 â€¢ Halsey Field House â€¢ Annapolis, Md.
141 â€“ Mike Rappo (NC) wins by fall Dustin Haislip (N), 6:52 0-6
149 â€“ Nick Stabile (NC) wins by major dec Collin Leadbeter, 13-0 0-10
157 â€“ #6 Bryce Saddoris (N) wins by dec Corey Mock (NC), 12-5 3-10
165 â€“ Mason Bailey (N) wins by dec Thomas Scotton (NC), 2-2 TB2 (RT) 6-10
174 â€“ Matt DeMichiel (N) wins by dec Andre Petroski (NC), 7-6 9-10
184 â€“ Antonio Giorgio (NC) wins by dec #11 Luke Rebertus (N), 4-2 9-13
197 â€“ Zac Bennett (NC) wins by fall Greg Prioleau (N), 3:32 9-19
HWT â€“ Dan Miller (N) wins by fall Ben Brooks (NC), 6:58 15-19
125 â€“ Aaron Kalil (N) wins by dec Nick Shields (NC), 6-4 18-19
133 â€“ Allen Stein (N)â€ˆwins by Pat Owens (NC), 9-6 21-19
Courtesy of Navy Sports Information