by Dennis Weller, Special to The Pottstown Mercury
Posted on January 21, 2007
GRATERFORD -- Two young and struggling teams met Saturday morning when Owen J. Roberts traveled to Perkiomen Valley for a Pioneer Athletic Conference wrestling match.
In what was bound to be a close affair, where a key win here or there or a break or two might well decide the outcome, just enough variables went the Wildcats' way in a 37-36 win.
Jordan Stierly and Derek Eckhart, who have had a tough time picking up wins this season, pulled off key victories for OJR, and Will Bentley clinched the match with a major decision in the second to last bout of the day.
"It seems like lately we haven't had anything go right for us," said Wildcat coach Steve DeRafelo.
"I think the kids showed a little more life. They were aggressive. They were going for the pins."
The Vikings (1-4, 8-12 overall) took a 12-0 lead on a forfeit and a pin by Mike Radicioni. But the Wildcats (1-4, 2-9) rallied to gain a 15-12 edge on a pin by Jeremy Stierly (23-1), a 5-0 decision by Connor McCormick (23-4) against Jacob Beitler (16-6), and a first-period pin by Nick Fuschino.
Then the 152-pound Eckhart, who came into the day with a 4-8 record, pulled off a big 3-1 win over Ryan Beyer (now 10-3). Eckhart gained the upper hand with a takedown in the first period and led 2-1 after an escape by Beyer in the second. Beyer allowed Eckhart to escape early in the final period, but could not pull off the necessary takedown to even the bout.
Geoff Melle tied the score for PV with a pin. But Jordan Stierly (4-16), who trailed for most of the 171-pound bout, immediately put the visitors back on top when he pinned Justin Anderson in 3:41.
"I think the kids wrestled well today," said DeRafelo. "(PV coach) Charlie (Kramer) always has his team ready to go. You have to go for bonus points. It's always fireworks in this match.
"That was a nice win for us at 152. And Jordan Stierly, that was a nice win. He's been taking his lumps. That really sealed the deal for us. It was huge for him."
A 6-2 decision by OJR's Cory Brissland, a pin by PV's Brett Petriello, and an exchange of forfeits left the Wildcats with a 33-30 margin with two bouts to go. Then Bentley (22-7) wrapped things up with a major 18-5 win, just enough to keep the visitors ahead after a 49-second pin by Viking 119-pounder Jordan Deane in the finale.
OJR wound up with eight wins to PV's six and seven in the 11 contested bouts.
"Bottom line, (OJR) was just better than we were today," said Kramer. "The match-ups didn't work. We just can't seem to get out of the spiral. This is four of five losses in a row. We just can't get out of the water. The bottom line is, if we can't get out of the water soon, Phoenixville is coming up on Wednesday."
"We're both young," DeRafelo said concerning the two teams.
"It's a tough league to be young in," he added with a laugh. "Boyertown, Upper Perkiomen, Spring-Ford ..they don't care."