Nittany Lions extend win streak to 50

EVANSTON, Ill. — No. 1 Penn State opened up Big Ten dual meet action with a convincing win at No. 11 Northwestern Friday night. The Nittany Lions, under the direction of veteran coach Cael Sanderson, rolled to a 33-8 victory for their 50th straight dual meet win.

Senior Jason Nolf hit the 100-career win mark with a 19-7 victory over No. 3 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern at 157. Nolf had eight takedowns in the marquee match-up, with all of Deakin’s points coming via escape.

The dual began at where sophomore Devin Schnupp took on No. 1 Sebastien Rivera of Northwestern to start the dual meet. Rivera posted a strong 18-2 technical fall at the 2:53 mark to give Northwestern an early 5-0 lead. True freshman Roman Bravo-Young, ranked No. 14 at 133, posted a 15-9 win over NU’s Colin Valdiviez to cut the lead to 5-3 and then sophomore Nick Lee, ranked No. 4 at 141, rolled to a 16-6 major over Alex McKenna to put Penn State on top 7-5.

Redshirt freshman Brady Berge, ranked No. 9 at 149, rolled up nine takedowns in a strong 19-7 major over junior Shayne Oster to put the Nittany Lions up 11-5. Nolf closed out the first half by picking up his 100th career win with a dominating 19-7 major over No.3 Deakin at 157. Nolf’s career milestone sent Penn State into intermission leading 15-5.

Sophomore Bo Pipher moved up a weight to 165 to step in for top-ranked Vincenzo Joseph who did not wrestle. Pipher dropped a hard-fought 11-9 decision to Tyler Moreland, having a late comeback fall just short. Junior Mark Hall, ranked No. 1 at 174, took care of Wildcat Senior Johnny Sebastian, scoring the only takedowns in a strong 10-4 win. Senior Shakur Rasheed, ranked No. 3 at 184, rolled up three first period turns as he posted an 18-2 technical fall over Brendan Devin, getting the final takedown midway through the second period at the 3:59 mark.

Senior Bo Nickal, ranked No. 1 at 197, notched his 51st career pin, and his team-leading 10th of the year, with a fall over Zack Chakonis at the 6:12 mark. Senior Anthony Cassar, ranked No. 4 at 285, closed out the dual by dominating No. 19 Conan Jennings, collecting five takedowns in a dominating 12-3 major over the ranked Wildcat. Cassar’s capstone win made finished off Penn State’s impressive 33-8 victory.

Penn State had 51 takedowns in the bout, rolling to a 51-7 lead. The Nittany Lions won eight of ten bouts, marking the first time all year Penn State lost more than one match in a dual. Penn State picked up nine bonus points off a pin (Nickal), a tech fall (Rasheed) and four majors (Lee, Berge, Nolf, Cassar). Penn State has now outscored its first five dual meet opponents 210-17 and has a stunning 132-12 takedown advantage in those duals. The Lions have won 45 of their 50 dual meet bouts.

The Nittany Lions’ win streak dates back to the end of the 2014-15 season. Sanderson’s Lions won their last dual of that campaign, went 16-0 in 2015-16, went 14-0 in 2016-17 and went 14-0 in 2017-18. Penn State is now 5-0, 1-0 B1G, while Northwestern falls to 2-5, 0-2 B1G.

Penn State will return to action quickly, hosting No. 19 Wisconsin on Sunday in Rec Hall. The dual meet is set for a 1 p.m. start.