Stevenson makes more Lake progress against Lake Zurich

By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/12/2014 9:22 PM

Visiting Stevenson took another step toward its goals Friday night as the Patriots visited Lake Zurich in North Suburban Conference Lake Division wrestling action.

Starting the dual meet at 285 pounds, the Pats got off to a good start with a 10-0 lead after two matches.

But Stevenson really got rolling in the later stages of the meet as the Patriots wound up rolling to a 42-12 NSC Lake Division victory over the Bears.

Lake Zurich (7-2, 1-1) fell behind 6-0 right out of the blocks as Stevenson (7-1, 3-0) got a pin in 2:52 from 285-pound junior Nick Grujanac.

Then at 106, Stevenson junior Alec Nolan posted an 11-2 major decision over Max Wayne and the Pats led 10-0.

The Bears did bounce back strongly at 113 as sophomore Joey Black recorded a pin in 5:46 as Stevenson sophomore Brandon Zisman (113) missed the meet due to illness.

Stevenson kept the pressure on Lake Zurich's squad the whole night as 120-pound sophomore Eric Carter captured a 7-3 decision over Joey Stultzman to put the Bears in a 13-6 deficit.

Sophomore Ben Ponto followed up that win with a 7-1 decision over Lake Zurich's Nick Swanson at 126 and the Patriots led 16-6.

The early going saw a lot of momentum swings as Lake Zurich 132-pounder Josh Spiwak responded with a 7-4 decision over Nathan Reinsdorf to cut the gap to 16-9.

Stevenson junior Evan Rodriguez answered that with a 7-2 decision over senior Ethan Honegger at 138 to boost the lead back to 19-9.

Then came the Bears' last stand as senior Max Brummel posted an 8-3 decision over Corey Weil at 145 to pull to within 19-12.

That would be the end of the road for Lake Zurich though as the Patriots would close out the meet with 23 unanswered points to win the meet going away.

"There were a lot of close matches that we lost and I've got to give their guys a lot of credit," said Lake Zurich coach Dan Strickler, whose team is at the Wheeling tournament Saturday. "Our squad is so young and inexperienced that I don't think they quite know what it takes yet."

Stevenson's late-meet onslaught started off innocently enough when sophomore Robert Pavlovics posted a hard-fought 5-3 decision over Lake Zurich 152-pounder Tommy Clancy for a 22-12 advantage.

Then fellow sophomore standout Nikita Nepomnyashchiy followed up that victory with an 8-4 decision over Lake Zurich's Peter Maretis at 160 for a 25-12 lead.

Stevenson junior Juwon Anderson's 13-4 major decision over Pete Baldaccini boosted the lead to 29-12 before junior teammate Michael Kordek's narrow 2-1 decision over John Strojny clinched the team win at that point with a 32-12 lead.

Then came a pin in 1:33 by Stevenson's Tyler Harrington (11-0), who moved up from 182 to 195 and a 13-3 major decision by Zach Horwitz (9-2) over Greg McLain to account for the final score.

The Patriots have a long road ahead of them this season as they try to capture the NSC Lake title for the first time in school history. But the Pats will inevitably have to beat perennial power Libertyville for the first time ever if they hope to reach that goal.

"We want to win the regional and we want to make it downstate, that is really our goal," said Horwitz. "We're looking great, we had a couple of kids drop weight finally and we filled in our 126-pound weight class."

Stevenson coach Shane Cook continues to praise the effort and progress his team has made in the early stages of the new campaign, but he knows the road ahead of them will certainly be a tough one.

"We're encouraged with where we're at right now and we're improving with our conditioning and technique each week," said Cook, whose team will also be at Wheeling Saturday. "This meet was much closer than the final score indicates and you have to win the close matches and dig deep when those opportunities present themselves."

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