Search Results

Below are your search results. You can also try a Basic Search.

FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Football addresses kicking woes in practice

(09/23/98 9:00am)

Penn place kicker Jason Feinberg hopes to improve on last weekend's performance at Dartmouth. After eking out a 17-14 victory last Saturday at Dartmouth in a game Penn should have won convincingly, the Quakers have work to do before Richmond arrives. Yesterday at practice, Penn coach Al Bagnoli had his team kicking field goals. At Dartmouth, sophomore placekicker Jason Feinberg missed two of three attempts, from 35 and 40 yards. "It was embarrassing," Feinberg said of his performance. "I almost cost the game for my team, and I'm looking forward to having it behind me." Feinberg actually connected well with the 40-yard attempt, but it got knocked down in a harsh crosswind. "That was probably my best kick all day," Feinberg said. "But from 40 yards out, I don't care if it's in a hurricane, I should be able to make that kick." The sophomore kicker beat out senior Kendall Hochman, who kicked off for the field goal and point after jobs in the preseason. Feinberg expects to improve now that he has his feet wet with actual game experience. · The offensive line played well last Saturday, all things considered. None of the starters had any significant game experience, tackle Jason Lebron was out due to injury and center Carmelo Rubano had been cleared by doctors to play only days before the trip to New Hampshire. Still, the line allowed the Big Green defense to get to Rader for sacks only thrice and opened holes for running back Jim Finn. "I saw a lot of technical errors that we could get better on," Penn offensive coordinator Chuck Priore said. "But by and large for their first game playing together they held their own." Priore said that Lebron will sit out at least one more game. "He's running around a lot more now, and his knee is feeling better," Bagnoli said. But Bagnoli expects to start the same five linemen against Richmond that started against Dartmouth. According to Priore, Rubano "made it through [Saturday's] game OK" and will take it easy this week during practice, but is expected to start at center again. · To no one's surprise, Finn carried the bulk of Penn's offense, amassing 151 yards on 41 carries. His 41 touches represented more than half of Penn's whopping 81 total offensive plays. But Bagnoli and Priore expect to have a more balanced attack against Richmond. "We go into every game saying we're going to be as close to 50-50 [passing and rushing] as we can," Priore said. Running back Jason McGee was relatively ineffective at Dartmouth, gaining only four yards on five carries. But Priore says he will get more opportunities this Saturday. "McGee will get into it, Matt Thomas the freshman [and] Givenchy Martin will get in," Bagnoli said. "We have to be able to run the ball." · Starting quarterback Matt Rader also punted four of the Quakers' five attempts. Bagnoli decided on the game-experienced Rader instead of freshman Ryan Lazzeri because of both a new long-snapper, tight end Clint Burhorn, and the importance of beating Dartmouth. Lazzeri did punt once in the fourth quarter, and booted a 48-yard kick. But Bagnoli went back to Rader when Penn punted with less than two minutes to go in the game. Against Richmond, Bagnoli says he will go with Lazzeri, who still has a problem catching snaps. "Early in camp, he was not catching the ball cleanly," Bagnoli said. "We've been working really hard getting his hands at the level we'd like to get his hands at." · Speaking of punting, Dartmouth punter Wayne Schlobohm was unconscious. He set a Dartmouth record for punting, kicking 446 yards on the day. His 71-yard behemoth, which stopped rolling at the Penn one-yard-line, set up the Big Green's first score. Schlobohm did run into trouble outkicking his coverage, however. Safety and punt returner Joe Piela had seven returns for 109 yards for a hefty average of 15.6 yards per return. "The only negatives were the two [punts] that [Piela] didn't catch," Bagnoli said. The punts both rolled to within the Penn six-yard-line. · The Penn football team had a welcome break on its trip to Hanover last Friday. Penn alum and Board of Trustees member George Wiess (Wharton '65) opened his very wide doors to the team, who enjoyed a poolside luncheon at Wiess' mansion in West Hartford, Conn. "He's been very good with our kids and our program," Bagnoli said. "It broke up the trip very nicely." The Quakers were taken aback by the opulent, Eastern-inspired decor, and the Picasso and Monet originals.

D-Mac: The silent but deadly hitter

(09/18/98 9:00am)

Penn linebacker Darren MacDonald may have the hardest hit in the Ivies. If Darren MacDonald was a president, he'd probably be Teddy Roosevelt -- walking softly and carrying a big stick. The two-time All-Ivy selection has started at linebacker since his sophomore year, leads the Quakers' defense with 184 career tackles (125 solo) and is one of the most feared linebackers in the Ivy League -- he'd just rather not talk about that. By all accounts, MacDonald is a mild-mannered, soft spoken guy. But once he steps onto the football field, all bets are off. "When he gets on the field, he's all business," senior defensive lineman Larry Rascoe said. "I don't even know how to explain it -- it's like a whole different world to him. "He just goes out there and tries to knock the crap out of everybody." D-Mac, as he is known by his teammates, started turning heads as soon as he arrived at Penn, registering 29 tackles his freshman year. But he announced his arrival with a single hit. Late in the fourth quarter in the final game of his freshman season, Cornell was at the goal line threatening to score. MacDonald, the third linebacker, came in with the goal line defense. Cornell running back (and now the Oakland Raiders starting full back) Chad Levitt took the ball up the middle, but MacDonald filled the hole and leveled him, jarring the ball loose. Then defensive lineman Tom McGarity picked up the fumble and ran it up the sideline. "D-Mac showed everybody he was going to be a star," Rascoe said. "Right then and there you knew he was going to be something special." But Macdonald typically downplayed the sequence. "I came unblocked into the hole, and I just happened to put my helmet right on the ball and the ball squirted out," MacDonald said. His on-the-field aggression was not reserved exclusively for his opponents, however. "I was doing scout [offense] freshman year, and we were doing short yardage drills in front of the goal line," senior offensive lineman Jesse Simonin said. "I was pulling around to hit someone, and I'm going to hit D-Mac and he runs right through my facemask. Then I'm sitting out the rest of practice with a friggin' headache." With his impressive freshman campaign, MacDonald quickly became an integral part of the Quakers' defense, starting at linebacker the next year. "I didn't know what to expect coming into [Penn]," he said. "Things happened pretty quickly and I just went with it." MacDonald, however, needed more than an affinity for inflicting pain to rise into the Ivy League's elite. He combines a rare blend of technique, athleticism and raw power. "He moves really well," Simonin said. "He gets downhill to find the ball quickly and he'll run through you. He understands the way offenses move. His biggest problem is that he gets there too fast." Although he is not a captain by name, MacDonald remains a leader on the field. "The team looks to him as a leader not so much in what he says, any speeches or anything," junior defensive lineman Brent Stiles said. "[He leads] by virtue of what he does. "I don't know how many times I've seen a running back at full speed just stop dead in his tracks or bounce backwards three or four yards." MacDonald prefers the non-vocal style of leadership, which he and co-captain senior cornerback Joe Piela both employ. "Neither of us try to go out there and get in anybody's face and yell," MacDonald said. "We just go out there and do our jobs. "Hopefully by doing that other people will follow along." Penn defensive coordinator Mike Toop thinks his defense will feed off of the laconic linebacker. "He's not real talkative, but that's fine," Toop said. "As long as he brings it every week, I don't care." MacDonald leads not only by bruising opposing running backs, but also by bruising egos as well. "You want to top him [after a big play]," Rascoe said. "He's one of the hardest hitters in the Ivy League, so you want to show him up. "You get jealous, you want to make a hit just like that." The Quakers' defense needs MacDonald's presence to offset the losses of starters Mitch Marrow, Tim Gage and Doug Zinser. Furthermore, according to Mike Toop, as MacDonald goes, so go the Quakers. "A year ago, when Darren played very well, we usually played well as a defense," Toop said. "When he didn't have one of his better games, our defense would struggle at times. "If we're going to be good, [he] has to perform at a very high level." Penn's own Jekyll and Hyde looks at his transformation very simply. "When you step out on the field, it's like you're going to work," MacDonald said. "It's all business. It's either you're going to go out there and do your thing or someone's going to kick your butt. "Do it with all you've got." Maybe Macdonald is not the most famous "Mac" in the country these days. Then again, he probably doesn't mind.

Football begins '98 with Big Green

(09/18/98 9:00am)

The Penn football team begins its quest to return to the top of the Ivy League when they play Dartmouth tomorrow. Revenge is a dish best served cold. One year has passed since Dartmouth came to Franklin Field and handed the Penn football team a hard-to-swallow 23-15 loss, yet the defeat still lingers in the minds of the Quakers who were there to see it. Penn takes on the Big Green tomorrow at noon at Dartmouth's Memorial Field, the site of a heartbreaking 24-22 Penn loss two years ago. The Quakers are eager to erase last year's game from their collective memory. The game saw Penn fall behind 20-0 at halftime and featured a 17-point scoring performance from Dartmouth's kicker Dave Regula. After a fumble set up the Big Green's second score, Regula picked up a fumbled kickoff and ran it in for six more. A Matt Rader interception on Penn's next sequence led to a Regula field goal. The Quakers made a concerted effort to improve their special teams play in practice, according to captain Joe Piela, who will be called upon to return punts in addition to his regular cornerback duties. "We've come to realize that special teams are just as important as offense or defense," Piela said. "Coming off last year's game, we've had an extra emphasis in practice on special teams." Penn coach Al Bagnoli sees special teams as the key to a Quaker victory. "In these games it always gets down to kicking game and turnovers," Bagnoli said. "Whichever defense can force the offense into making some mistakes or can capitalize on some kicking game errors will win the game." Penn's special teams will be put to the test tomorrow, as inexperience plagues the unit. Sophomore Jason Feinberg steps into the role of kicker, replacing Penn all-time leading scorer Jeremiah Greathouse. Backup quarterback Reed Warner, a transfer from North Carolina, will punt. Offense should be less of a concern. Running back Jim Finn figures to get a lot of carries, in order to set up Rader and the passing game. "We think [Finn] can do some things that weren't available to us in last year's game," Bagnoli said. "I'm hopeful that Jim can take some pressure off the quarterback and the offensive line, and then [if] Jim can run the ball somewhat effectively it opens up Matt Rader and some receivers that we think have some ability." The offensive line has been a bit banged up throughout the preseason, but Bagnoli said that situation "is stabilized." Center Carmelo Rubano was sidelined with an injury, but Bagnoli said he was cleared to play tomorrow. Tackle Jason Lebron is the only question mark on the O-line with a sprained knee, but Bagnoli said the line's inexperience worries him more than the injuries. On the defensive side, the Penn secondary has to contend with Dartmouth's new starting quarterback, Mike Coffey, who has limited game experience, and wide receiver Dylan Karczewski, who was moved there from running back. "They may try to build [Coffey's] confidence and start with short stuff," Piela said. "But they know we're young, so they might test us. "I expect them to go up top a little bit on us, and try and make some plays." Piela heads up the secondary with 25 games of experience. Strong safety Bruce Rossignol returns to the defense after a stint in the offensive backfield last year. Hasani White was slated to start last year, but was injured for the season in last year's Dartmouth game. Joey Alofaitulli, a special teams standout, rounds out the secondary. The Penn-Dartmouth opener marks another chapter in the game's recent tradition. But it's one tradition Bagnoli -- who would prefer to play the three non-conference games first -- can do without. "Penn and Dartmouth have been the two most successful programs since I've been here," Bagnoli said. "It's always tough when you're playing one of the better teams years in and year out and you've got to play them in the first game." But Finn remains unphased. "I like Dartmouth away," he said. "I like their field, their stadium, their atmosphere. It's a great trip. Some say it's too long, [but] I like long trips. "It builds camaraderie." Bagnoli hopes tomorrow's game will answer a lot of his questions. "I'm curious to see what Finn can do with a preseason under his belt, and Rader with a year under his system, and [wide receivers Doug] O'Neill and [David] Rogers having an extra year to learn the system." Despite inexperience at spots, the Quakers can make their mark as a legitimate Ivy League title contender with a victory in Hanover. And settle a score in the process.

W. Tennis 'constitutes' unity

(09/11/98 9:00am)

For a team with no chemistry majors, the women's tennis team sure knows a lot about bonding. "This team is very unselfish," second-year coach Michael Dowd said. "I don't hear the word 'I' -- I hear the word 'we'." The Quakers will play host to Colgate, Georgetown and Temple Saturday and Sunday at the Penn Invitational as the fall season gets underway. Dowd attributed the strong sense of unity to the leadership of the team's four seniors -- tri-captains Julia Feldman, Brooke Herman and Karen Ridley, and fellow senior Corin Esterowitz (finance, sociology, economics and BBB). "The leaders have really taken this team as their own and they're running it," Dowd said. At the team's meeting yesterday, the seniors introduced a team constitution, which outlines all of the responsibilities and expectations they have for their teammates. "We just thought it'd be fun," said Feldman. "Since it's such a big team we though that [the constitution] would be the best way for everyone to get acquainted with what's happening with the program." Freshman Carla Dorsey said, "It showed me that they were pretty serious about having us be together." Dowd said that acts like drawing up a constitution make his job easier. "It means a lot more coming from [the seniors] than from a coach," Dowd said. Freshman Louani Bascara was struck by the team's unity. "More so than other schools, it really seems to be a tight team," she said. "That helps on and off the court." Up and down the lineup, the Quakers have a solid, experienced base. Graduating only two players from last year's squad, the team is now comprised of four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and six freshmen. "We have the deepest team in the Ivy League," Dowd said. "We have no weaknesses." Feldman, the Ivy League's Most Improved Player last year, finished with a 6-1 Ivy match record en route to a Second Team All-Ivy selection. Herman posted an 11-1 singles record and played doubles with junior Elana Gold. She was also recognized with a Second Team All-Ivy award. Esterowitz, who has been in and out of the lineup for the past three years, got a vote of confidence from Dowd. "I sense this year she's got some confidence," Dowd said. Junior Anastasia Podzniakova played No. 1 singles last year, where she went 28-11, and will assume that role this year. Dowd expects the upperclassmen to grab the lion's share of the playing time, although all six freshmen are scheduled to play in Penn's opener this weekend. With the balance of "a lot of experience and a lot of youth," according to Dowd, the cohesive Quakers hope to improve on their third-place finish in the Ivy League. Penn finished 5-2 in the Ivy league last year, behind Harvard (7-0) and Princeton (6-1). The Quakers have finished among the top three Ivy schools in each of the past four years -- a feat matched only by Harvard -- and Dowd thinks this is the year Penn finally breaks the ceiling to reach the top spot. "We definitely have the potential," Herman said. "We have a lot of talent and [players that are] match tough." But the Quakers will have to wait until the spring. The fall season consists of seven invitational tournaments, as opposed to the one-on-one, dual-match spring schedule. "[The fall season] gets us good match experience," Herman said. "We see what the competition is like, we travel together and build team unity." Although the tournaments force a more individual-oriented approach, Dowd still sees the fall season as an important warm-up for the Ivy season, especially for the six new recruits. "The first tournament is designed to get [the freshmen's] feet wet," Dowd said. "We need to get them out there as soon as possible, because we may need some of these freshman in the spring. "I want to feel confident they can do it."

Three losses cost Baseball Gehrig title

(04/29/98 9:00am)

The Penn baseball team dropped three of four to Princeton this past weekend, losing all hope of a Gehrig Division title. On paper, the Penn baseball team looked good. Very good. With one of its best recruiting classes ever and with a group of seniors that won an Ivy League title its freshman year, the team had hopes of winning another Gehrig Division crown. But it simply was not meant to be for this bunch. The Quakers (14-21-1, 9-11 Ivy League) went into Princeton last weekend with a glimmer of hope left. With three or four wins and a little help, they would grab their second Gehrig title in four years. Instead, they lost three of four and will have to watch from third place as Cornell and Princeton battle it out for first this weekend. The usually torrid offense did not show up for Penn Saturday, as it lost the first two games of its four-game series with the Tigers 6-1 and 10-3. In the first game, Princeton pitcher Bryan Stroh shut down the Quakers' bats, allowing only three hits. In the nightcap, Penn hurler Anthony Napolitano was knocked around early, and Penn never recovered. Mathematically eliminated from the postseason and, according to Penn centerfielder Drew Corradini "more relaxed," the Quakers took the third game of the series on the strength of another outstanding pitching performance from sophomore Sean McDonald. McDonald, fresh off a no-hit effort against Cornell, went the distance for his fourth victory of the year. He scattered six hits over seven innings, allowed one run and striking out eight. But Penn's hitters again were shut down by Princeton pitching. The Red and Blue finished their Ivy season with an 8-2 loss. "[That loss] was very indicative of the season," Quaker senior captain Joe Carlon said. "Everyone expected to win that last game, but we went in the complete opposite direction and played pretty poorly." The weekend's results put Penn in third place in the Gehrig Division, miles away from the first-place finish Carlon and the Quakers envisioned at the beginning of the year. "We can't help but feel a little disappointed," Carlon said. "Going into the season we had enough talent to go through our league and win a lot of games." The Quakers had talent comparable to any other Ivy team, but could not put it together for extended periods of time. Penn's streaky play ultimately led to its downfall. For example, the Quakers followed a five-game losing streak with a five-game winning streak, only to fall into an eight-game losing streak, which included four costly losses to Ivies Brown and Yale. The only time the Quakers did not streak all year was in their final three games, in which they split the last doubleheader with Princeton and picked up a 10-6 victory against Lehigh. "We could never get it all together. We'd have a great pitching performance and suddenly the bats would fall asleep. Or we'd be hitting the shit out of the ball and our pitchers are giving up 18 runs a game," Corradini said. Even though the Lehigh victory was not important in the record books, it meant a lot to the seniors. "It was an emotional game for all of us," Corradini said. "For all the seniors, it was our last hurrah. We wanted to go out like winners." The seniors keyed the Quakers' victory. Normally a closer, senior Travis Arbogast went all nine innings for the win. Carlon went 4-5 with three doubles and two runs batted in, and senior captain Armen Simonian added an RBI double. "[The win] kind of buried some of the disappointment that the seniors had," Simonian said. But overall, Simonian said, Penn was "very disappointed" about the way things turned out. Penn coach Bob Seddon pointed to inconsistent pitching and simple bad luck. "Our pitching was mediocre after McDonald," Seddon said. "We just didn't have enough pitching." Despite the third-place finish, Penn had remarkable numbers. Corradini hit .414 on the year with 55 hits, Penn's fifth-best mark of alltime. Designated hitter and senior Mark Nagata and Carlon both had nine homers, tying for third all-time at Penn. Nagata also missed setting the school's walk record by one, with 34 walks on the year. The team broke the 20-year-old all-time home run mark of 37 with 48 dingers, and it placed third all-time at Penn with 258 RBI.

Penn Relays: Off and Running? Mile relay comes back after 22 years

(04/22/98 9:00am)

The 104th Running of the Penn Relay Carnival Roger Bannister would be proud of these guys. Ever since the British phenom broke the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, runners around the world have struggled to match it. Now four runners in a row will try to break four minutes in the 4xMile relay, held this Saturday at 12:50 p.m. The history of the 4xMile race is a bit more complicated than the average relay. The event has not been run at the Penn Relays in 22 years. Instead, most meets feature the 4x1500 meter race, due to the fact that most of the world does not know what a mile is. But now that the 4xMile replaces the 4x1500 this year, 17 teams will assault the record, 16:08.9, set in 1962 by Oregon. The prohibitive favorites to win, and perhaps break 16 minutes, are Arkansas and Michigan, with Stanford a close third. Arkansas has four runners who have run sub-four minutes in the mile individually, but as Razorback coach John McConnell said, "Getting them all to do it at the same time is a little bit different." Arkansas returns three of its four members from its 4x1500 team last year, anchored by standout Seneca Lassiter, who is the nation's defending 1,500 meter champ. He ran a 3:38.85 in the 1,500, equivalent to a 3:56 mile. Aussie Michael Power, who ran a second-place 3:43.88 in the 1,500 at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships, will run second, and Phillip Price, who has run the 1,500 in 3:41.05, will run third. Leading off for the Hogs is Matt Kerr, the SEC indoor mile champ with a 4:03. "I like our chances [of winning]," McConnell said. "I think if we stay healthy until we get there we'll be one of the teams that will be contending for the title." Breaking 16, however, is a taller order. "I think we can [break 16] if the pace starts out that way and the weather is conducive," McConnell said. Michigan tries to challenge Arkansas' recent dominance at the distance. The Razorbacks have taken 12 of the last 15 4x1500 titles, but have never won in the 4xMile. Michigan star Kevin Sullivan edged out Lassiter by six hundredths of a second for the college indoor 1,500 title last month. He also has run the mile in 3:52.25. Two of his teammates from last year return -- Don McLaughlin and John Mortimer, who has had more success at longer distances. Jay Cantin, the final member of the team, finished second to Sullivan in the Big 10 indoor mile. "I'm not sure that we can run four guys under four minutes," Michigan coach Jack Harvey said. "But we might be able to average close to four minutes." Sullivan was sick last weekend, but Harvey expects him to be ready for Saturday. Stanford has an outside shot at making waves Saturday, but it is a young team comprised of two freshmen, one sophomore and just one senior. One of the freshman, Jonathon Riley, finished fourth in the NCAA indoor mile. Cardinal coach Vin Lananna downplayed the 16-minute benchmark. "To tell the truth, I haven't really even thought about it," Lananna said. "If, after the meet is over, we've broken 16 minutes, then great." Stanford does not have history on its side. The Cardinal have never won a Penn Relays title, compared to Arkansas' 28 and Michigan's 37. McConnell indicated that his Razorbacks would try to set a record-setting pace if the conditions are good. Still, records aside, all 17 teams are focused on the bottom line -- a victory. "When the dust settles? [a win is] the most important thing," McConnell said.

Baseball swept by Big Red at Bower

(04/21/98 9:00am)

In a makeup of two rained out games the baseball team dropped two to visiting Cornell. These two had to hurt. The Penn baseball team let the last two games of its series with Gehrig Division rival Cornell slip away yesterday at Bower Field. The first loss, an 8-6 letdown in extra innings, and the second, a 9-8 heartbreaker, seriously darken Penn's hopes for a trip to the postseason. Yesterday's two losses make things difficult for Penn's playoff bid. The Quakers are behind both Princeton (8-4) and Cornell in the Gehrig Division standings. A variety of scenarios, all involving at least three wins out of four at Princeton over the weekend, could put Penn in the postseason -- a place the Quakers seniors have not been for three years. It wasn't that the Quakers (12-17-1, 8-8 Ivy League) were outplayed. In fact, they had numerous opportunities to win both games against the Big Red (12-13-1, 7-5). But the Quakers could not get the hits in crucial situations with runners on base. The back end of the doubleheader saw the Quakers squander two bases-loaded opportunities after falling behind early. The bats were needed as sophomore starting pitcher Anthony Napolitano gave up five earned runs in the third inning --Eall with two outs. Napolitano retired the first two hitters easily in the third, but then the hits just kept on coming. Two singles, a walk, a two-RBI single, a two-RBI double and a run-scoring wild pitch led to Cornell taking a 6-0 lead. Meanwhile, Cornell starter John Douglas pitched four quality innings, giving up only solo home runs to DH Mark Nagata and first baseman Russ Farscht. In the fifth, however, Douglas started to tire, and Penn made a run. With the bases loaded and no outs, right fielder Armen Simonian sacrifice flied to center. Farscht, next up to the plate, added an RBI single, but that was all the Quakers could muster. The sixth inning brought more chances for the Red and Blue. Again the bases were loaded with nobody out. This time second baseman Joe Carlon grounded into a double play, scoring one. Another run was added on a wild pitch, but still the Quakers could not summon their characteristic offensive prowess to break open the game. Down 9-6 going into the last half of the seventh inning, Penn had one last charge left. After Jeremy McDowell singled, catcher Dave Corleto crushed a massive homer over the Bower Field scoreboard. James Mullen then drew a walk. That's when the fireworks began. The home plate umpire missed what appeared to be a balk on Cornell pitcher Nick Leopardi's pickoff attempt at first. The non-call drew much criticism from Penn players, coaches and fans. Senior centerfielder Drew Corradini hit a grounder to shortstop Bill Walkenbach, who flipped it to second baseman John Mills for the force. Mills could not make the pivot in time to catch the speeding Corradini at first. The home plate umpire, however, called Corradini out because he felt Mullen's slide into second was intended to take out the second baseman. The interference call effectively stopped Penn's momentum and ended its run. "We had a bit more of an aggressive approach at the plate," Cornell coach Tom Ford said of his team, which scored 17 runs yesterday as opposed to four Saturday. As for the questionable umpiring? "Who knows? I thought that was a decent call [for interference], but obviously they could have not called it," Ford said. "It takes a lot to call." The umpires calls weren't the only unholy acts of the day. Penn coach Bob Seddon called the first loss "a sin." The Quakers took an early 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning off Corradini's two-run single. Shortstop Glen Ambrosius, who went 3-4 with two RBIs in the first game, later knocked Corradini in with a base hit. Holding on to a precarious 5-4 lead in the top half of the seventh, Penn closer Travis Arbogast came in for the save but ran into trouble. First he hit Cornell batter Flint Foley, for whom Michael Macrie pinch-ran. Then batter John Douglas reached first on an error by Arbogast and advanced to second, with Macrie scoring in the meantime. Macrie's run sent the game into extra innings. In the top of the ninth inning, after Cornell's Mike Nemeth reached base on an Ambrosius error, Douglas was hit by a pitch and John Osgood walked. With the bases now loaded, Arbogast hit Doug Pritts, driving in an unearned run. Craig Mauro singled off new pitcher John Dolan to drive in Cornell's final two runs. The Quakers added a run in the bottom half of the inning, but it was too little, too late as they fell 8-6.

Baseball must catch fire vs. Dragons

(04/15/98 9:00am)

A win at home today against Drexel will give the Penn baseball team three in a row. Coming off a doubleheader sweep of Dartmouth last weekend that ended an eight-game losing streak, the Penn baseball team looks to continue its winning ways against Drexel today at 3 p.m. on Bower Field. Penn (9-15-1, 6-6 Ivy League) would like to come away with a decisive victory over the struggling Dragons (9-22-1), but more importantly they would like to tune up before an important weekend series with Ivy League rival Cornell. "Mid-week games are usually to get a lot of guys work that haven't been playing," said pitcher John Dolan, who leads Penn's staff with a 3.86 earned run average. "It's also to get [starting pitchers] practice during the week for the weekend [games]." Dolan, a sophomore, is expected to see some action today, along with a bevy of other young Quaker pitchers. Sophomore Anthony Napolitano will start, but Dolan, freshman Brian Burket and senior Todd Mahoney will all likely throw against Drexel. Napolitano, who brought his ERA down to 5.87 after early-season troubles, got a win against Dartmouth last weekend in the nightcap and has struck out 15 batters in 15 innings pitched. "Burket pitched well last weekend, so we're going to see him pitch again," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "We want to see how he does because he might be in the picture for this weekend [against Cornell]." Seddon and pitching coach Bill Wagner will gauge the throwing performances to determine the lineups for the upcoming league contests. "They are trying to put in people who will be pitching on the weekend to see if anyone steps up and shows something because we need the pitching over the weekend," Dolan said. The young arms, however, will get a test from the Dragons. Although its lackluster record does not necessarily indicate it, Drexel has a potent offense. Led by Dennis Hekowski, who is batting .414 with 53 hits, Drexel boasts a team batting average just under .300. The Dragons do not have much pop -- they have just five home runs all year collectively -- but can get on base. "Drexel's had a rough year," Seddon said, "but they hit the ball." Jose Jimenez is hitting .346 with two home runs and 28 runs batted in for Drexel. Also posing a threat is Lou Marchotti, who is hitting .336 with two dingers of his own to go along with 25 RBI. In addition to incorporating many young pitchers, Seddon is also giving more inexperienced players time in the field today. Freshman Chris May will get his first start at first base. Regular first baseman Russ Farscht will split designated hitter duties with full-time DH Mark Nagata. Junior Shawn Spiezio makes his return to third base today. He relieves freshman James Mullen, whose late inning heroics in the first game of the Dartmouth doubleheader gave Penn a 5-4 win. Catcher Dave Corleto will get a rest today as well, as sophomore Ralph Vasami gets the nod from Seddon. "Corleto needs rest. We need him for four games this weekend," Seddon said. "Vasami is hopefully one of our catchers for next year, so he needs to play a little." Offensively, the Quakers expect more of the same from their very productive bats. Penn is hitting .309 as a team and is averaging almost eight and a half runs per game. The Quakers can capitalize on struggling Drexel, whose pitching staff has posted a 5.91 ERA. "Drew Corradini, Nagata, Joe Carlon and Glen Ambrosius have been very consistent all year," Seddon said about the meat of his order. "After [that part] of the order, they haven't been quite as consistent. They've had moments." The Quakers hope to have a lot of those moments today, but Seddon thinks "the pitching will set the tone." "We want it to be the stepping stone for the weekend," he said.

Baseball rocked for 12 in the first

(04/02/98 10:00am)

After having its game with Temple rained out, the Penn baseball team fell hard to Villanova. The rain was the Penn baseball team's worst enemy yesterday. The 3 p.m. game with Temple was rained out, and the team's opening round game of the Liberty Bell Classic last night against Villanova was called after six innings. But maybe the rain should have kept pouring. In the top half of the first inning at Veterans Stadium, Villanova piled on 12 runs, en route to a six-inning, 15-6 victory over the Quakers. Senior Todd Mahoney got the start for Penn, but gave up seven runs before giving way to freshman Nicholas Barnhorst, who gave up five runs of his own before getting three outs. "We didn't give ourselves a chance," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "We had a disastrous first inning." The Quakers attributed the 12-run Villanova offensive onslaught not to poor pitching on the part of Mahoney and Barnhorst, but to sharp hitting from the Wildcat lineup. "They just hit the ball really well," senior centerfielder Drew Corradini said. "We didn't make any errors, the pitchers were throwing strikes, they didn't walk any guys -- they just hit the ball well." After the first inning, however, Penn played Villanova equally, if not better, outscoring the Wildcats 6-3 in the final five innings. "You have to flush those bad innings down the toilet," senior captain Joe Carlon, who was named Ivy League Player of the Week, said. "You can't sit there and dwell on them." For the rest of the game, Penn coach Bob Seddon went deep into his young pitching staff -- and it responded. Junior Ray Broome, sophomore Anthony Napolitano and freshman Brian Burket scattered three runs over the remaining five innings. Napolitano, who came into yesterday's contest with a hefty 13.50 Earned Run Average, struck out the side in his one inning of action yesterday. "Everyone that got in there once the team settled down [did well]," Corradini said. "It's a different atmosphere [at Veterans Stadium], with the astroturf, the different mound and such a large area. "If you take away that first inning, we won the game." The usually solid Penn hitters took their time getting warmed up at the Vet last night. Villanova starter Drew Baylor kept Penn in check until the fourth inning, in which Penn scored all six of its runs. "[Baylor] had a good curveball and a good sinker that we hadn't seen in a while," Corradini said. "Other than that I still think we hit the ball pretty well. We had the six-run inning and eight hits, so [the bats] did come to life." The Quakers had hoped to use yesterday's two games to get a lot of different people playing time and perhaps settle lingering lineup questions before their next two Ivy League games this weekend against Brown and Yale. But the rain brought those plans to a screeching halt. "It's disappointing not to get the game in, especially for some of the younger guys who would have gotten an opportunity to play," Corradini said. Rather than play an important 18 innings of baseball, a frustrated Penn team had to settle for six. "We would have found out a lot that could help us on the weekends," Seddon said. "The day didn't do anything for us."

Darkness ends Penn rally in 9th

(03/25/98 10:00am)

The Penn baseball team scored thrice in the ninth before darkness cut it short. It is the stuff of which legends are made. Bottom of the ninth, two out, one on, tie game, Penn standout and Monday's hero Joe Carlon at the plate and? the umpire calls the game. A remarkable last-inning comeback by the Quakers was thwarted yesterday as darkness compelled the home plate umpire to end the game with St. Joseph's. Penn was down 10-7 going into the final frame, when shortstop Glen Ambrosius started the inning with an infield single. Designated hitter Mark Nagata advanced him to third with a single to right. Rightfielder Armen Simonian then laced a two-run double to the warning track in straightaway center, scoring Ambrosius and pinch-runner Randy Ferrell. A wild pitch and a Russ Farscht base hit tied the game at 10. With Farscht on second after a fielder's choice and Shawn Spiezio on first after drawing a walk from St. Joe's pitcher Jim Boylan, Carlon was set to cap off the Quakers' comeback. But before he got that chance, the umpire stepped onto the field and said it was too dark to continue playing. The decision drew immediate criticism from Penn players, coaches and fans. Penn coach Bob Seddon left the dugout to argue while the Delta Kappa Epsilon-laden crowd chanted "Bullshit! Bullshit!" "It's ridiculous. It was dark before the inning started," said Ambrosius, who went 1-for-3 with one run batted in. "If they wanted to call it, they should have called it before they started the inning." Seddon shared Ambrosius' sentiments. "As an umpire, if you start an inning, you should finish it -- that's a cardinal rule of any umpire," he said. "And when you don't do it, you look bad." Seddon lamented what he thought was horrid umpiring throughout the game. "The game was poorly umpired -- both ways," Seddon said. "He hurt them, too. He let us get back in the game." The questionable calls came early and often yesterday. In the top half of the second inning, St. Joe's DH Mark Payes doubled down the third base line, but the ball appeared to skip by the bag in foul territory. In the third, Mark Nagata advanced to first on a dropped third strike. St. Joe's coach Jim Ertel contested that Nagata kicked the ball on his way down the first base line, but the umps let the play stand, leading to two Penn runs. Seddon, as well as assistant coach Bill Wagner, later admitted they thought the umpire blew the call. In the seventh inning, Penn freshman pitcher Matt Hepler was called for a balk, a call Seddon termed a "mystery." And both Seddon and Wagner criticized the home plate umpire's protean strike zone. Usually Seddon does not blast the officials, he said, but yesterday the officiating "affected the outcome of the game." Penn had trouble finding its offensive groove yesterday. Prior to their rally in the ninth, the Quakers could only muster four hits all game against the Hawks. "It was a little bit cold out, it took a while to get loose," Carlon said, referring to temperatures which dropped into the 40s as night drew near. Fortunately for the Quakers, though, they were helped out by sloppy St. Joe's pitching and fielding. The Hawks finished with five errors, seven walks and a hit batsman. Sean McDonald, the Quakers starter, pitched well in five innings of work. He allowed only three runs on seven hits while the Penn batters were struggling to find hits. Hepler came on in relief and pitched a good sixth inning, but ran into trouble in the seventh. After he walked the bases loaded, he gave up a two-run double to Hawks second baseman Kevin Kirkby, putting St. Joe's up 6-3. He then walked another batter and hit Hawks shortstop Tom Gibson before he was relieved by freshman Ron Rolph. The 6'2'' hurler walked two and allowed two runs, which were charged to Hepler, before getting out of the inning with an 8-3 deficit. "I think it was a little bit of the cold weather? and they haven't pitched since a week and a half ago," Ambrosius said. "Hepler threw the ball well, he just got into a little trouble and walked some guys." Assistant coach Wagner said Hepler has had the best control out of all the freshmen pitchers so far. He attributed the control problems to the erratic strike zone. "The ump started squeezing [Hepler], and he started squeezing the ball himself," Wagner said. Penn got back into the game in the bottom half of the inning, when St. Joe's reliever Mike Miller had control problems of his own. Miller walked four batters in a row before getting the hook. His replacement, Jim Boylan, gave up a sacrifice fly to Mark Nagata and the first of Simonian's two, two-run doubles, this one just barely inside the park, off the wall in left-center field. The Quakers on the whole were pleased with the comeback performance yesterday. "We battled back and tied," Farscht said, "but we would have liked to get that last at bat."

Wrestling and Fencing make strong NCAA showing

(03/24/98 10:00am)

Penn sent five wrestlers to the NCAA finals, where early round losses left the team in 27th place. Sometimes the breaks just don't go your way. The Quakers, led by senior captain Brandon Slay's second-place finish in the 167 pound division, finished 27th at the NCAA Championships. Penn finished below their lofty goal of placing in the top 10 at Cleveland State University. That finish, however, did not indicate the level at which the Quakers wrestled. The brackets were vicious to Penn. Four out of the five Penn representatives at the NCAAs were defeated by wrestlers who went on to place in the top eight; the other, junior captain Mark Piotrowsky, lost to the ninth-and 10th-ranked wrestlers in the nation. Penn senior Steve Walker (126 pounds), who had amassed a 26-6 record and was ranked No. 20 in the country, got off on the wrong foot Thursday in his first round matchup against West Virginia's Bob Patensky. Walker, the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) champ, lost a tight 3-2 decision in his first appearance at Nationals. The bout had its share of controversy as well as good wrestling. After an injury stoppage in the third period, the match timekeepers mistakenly resumed the bout with injury time still running instead of resuming the official match time. "They lost the correct match time and tried to reconstruct it as best they could," Penn coach Roger Reina said. "We didn't feel they reconstructed it accurately." After Patensky held on to win, Penn protested the result, but to no avail. His protest denied, Walker moved down to the consolation brackets to face Carl Perry of Illinois. Perry, who placed sixth overall at Nationals, beat the frustrated Walker, 6-1. The second time around at NCAAs brought some improvements for Piotrowsky (134). Competing for the first time at NCAAs last year, Piotrowsky did not win a match. This time around, he won two bouts before falling to nationally respected wrestlers. After handling Rafael Vega of Edinboro in the first round, Piotrowsky met No. 9 Jamill Kelly of top-ranked Oklahoma State. He had been major decisioned by Kelly at the Reno Tournament of Champions, but fell by score of just 8-5 this time around. "I was down by one with :30 left, so I had to try to go for anything," Piotrowsky said. "I pushed for the takedown, but he ended up getting it." Piotrowsky then entered the wrestleback bracket and beat familiar face Jason Mutarelli of Virginia, whom he had beaten twice before this year. Another upset pit Piotrowsky against 10th seed Mike Mendoza of Cal State Bakersfield, who ended Piotrowsky's run with an 11-3 victory. Freshman Rick Springman (158) probably will not soon forget his first NCAA tournament. In his first match he lost 6-3 to Central Michigan's Ryan Cunningham, who went on to place fourth in the nation. "He gave the kid a lot more trouble than what he was expecting," Reina said. "If one or two situations were different he could have come out on top." An upset in another first round match put the 11th seed, Sam Kline of West Virginia, into a consolation bracket match with Springman. Kline had beaten Springman 15-5 earlier in the year, but Springman fell this time, 6-4. Junior captain Andrei Rodzianko (190), like Piotrowsky, suffered two quick losses in his first NCAA Tournament last year. But, like Piotrowsky, he rebounded this year with two victories before he bowed out. The critical point in the tourney for the 10th-seeded Rodzianko came in his second round loss to Northwestern's Sam Neider. The match went into overtime, but Neider scored first in sudden death to take the bout 6-4. "I think if things would have went the other way [in sudden death], who knows what would have happened," Rodzianko said. But with the loss, Rodzianko fell to the consolation rounds, where he avenged an EIWA Championship loss to Cornell's Joel Holman and lost to Oklahoma's Orville Palmer. Neider went on to finish fifth in the country. The main event for Penn, however, was All-Everything Slay in the 167 pound division. Slay was seeded third going into the competition, but got to the finals last year and has competed at the NCAAs in all four of his years at Penn. Slay had a tough draw, facing three opponents from the wrestling powerhouse Big Ten conference in his first three rounds. He dispatched Ben King of Illinois 8-4 and Will Hill of Michigan State 6-4 to get into the quarterfinals, where he met Northwestern's No. 6 Mark Bybee. As tough as it is to wrestle one opponent, for most of the match it appeared to Slay that he had to wrestle two. Early in the match, Slay took a knee to the eye from Bybee. The blow jarred him so much that he suffered from spells of double vision throughout the match. "I couldn't see straight, my whole head was in a haze and I was having problems focusing in," Slay said. "But luckily, in the heat of the battle, your adrenaline is going, and? I tried to keep my head on straight, finish the match hard and get the win." Although Slay still has pain in his right eyeball, he said that his vision was restored in time for his semifinal match against No. 2 Mark Smith of Oklahoma State. Slay, in high school and college, had never beaten Smith in three attempts. Slay, driven by his quest for a title, his past record against Smith and even the crowd, wrestled past Smith 5-3.The large amount of Iowa fans in the crowd wanted to see Slay upset the Oklahoma State wrestler, because an Oklahoma State victory would have put the Cowboys ahead of Iowa in the team point totals. "The whole place was going crazy [after I won]," Slay said. "It was an exceptional feeling -- something I'll never forget." But Slay's euphoria was unfortunately short-lived. In the finals he was slated to face Iowa's No. 1 Joe Williams, who had lost once in the past two years and was the two-time defending 158-pound national champion. In two previous meetings this year, Williams had bested Slay 5-3. "I wasn't that nervous because a lot of the pressure had been taken off my shoulders," Slay said. Williams, one of the best counter-attackers in wrestling, forced Slay into pressing on some shots, which Williams converted into takedowns. "Williams put on some of the most impressive counter-attacks that I've ever seen," Reina said. After the 7-4 defeat, Slay described the feeling as "heartbreak." "When it was over and I realized [a championship] wasn't going to happen, that I was going to be second on the podium, it was really an emotional point in time in my career. "It was hard to swallow." Slay can take solace in the fact that between his two finals opponents, Mark Branch of Oklahoma State last year and Williams, are five national titles and eight All-American awards. While the brackets and Joe Williams were unkind to Penn at the NCAA Tournament, the future may not be so rough. In what many thought was going to be a rebuilding year for the Quakers, they sent five wrestlers to Nationals, three of whom will be back to lead Penn next year.

Three in a row for wrestling at EIWAs

(03/18/98 10:00am)

Penn's wrestling team earned its third EIWA title and will send five wrestlers to NCAAs. Three in a row is great, and five out of 10 ain't bad. At the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships at Lehigh University two weekends ago, the Penn wrestling team captured its third straight title. Since the inception of the EIWA tournament in 1905, no Penn team had ever won a league title until Reina's group started its rise to become the dominant wrestling program in the East with Ivy and EIWA Championship in 1996. The next two years have brought two more Ivy and EIWA title to the Quakers. Despite the euphoria over a third straight title, the Quakers fell short of their goal of qualifying all 10 competitors for the NCAA tournament, only sending five to compete at Nationals which are being held today through Saturday at Cleveland State. Wrestlers could qualify for the NCAAs with a first- or second-place finish in their weight class, or, in some particularly strong weight classes, a third-place finish. The usual suspects turned in their standard top-quality performances. Top-ranked seniors Steve Walker (126 pounds) and captain Brandon Slay (167 pounds) both lived up to their seedings, earning individual EIWA crowns. Walker had a relatively easy time reaching the finals, and eventually winning the title with a 6-4 decision over Cornell's Nate Rupp. Walker, who is 26-6 for the year, nearly won the Sheridan Award for the most falls in the least amount of time. His time of 6:02 for two falls was just short of Syracuse heavyweight Jason Gleasman's two falls in 5:40. Slay had better luck with the awards. The repeat EIWA champion won the Fletcher Award for the most career points in the EIWA tournament. Before taking the title the last two years, Slay finished third in 1994 and second in 1995. Slay did hit a bit of a road bump on the way to his championship in his finals match against Harvard's Ed Mosley. Up 6-3 with about a minute left in the bout, the referee gave Slay a stalling warning, and then assessed two one-point penalties for stalling against Slay, bringing the match score to 6-5. But Mosley, the 1996 158-pound EIWA Champion, was unable to score. "I wrestled kind of hesitantly, but I didn't really back up that much," said Slay, disputing the stalling calls. "I don't think I've been called for stalling maybe two or three times the whole year." Also garnering invitations to the NCAA championships were second place finishers Mark Piotrowsky (134), Andrei Rodzianko (190) and freshman Rick Springman (158). Piotrowsky had a turbulent ride to the finals, having to defeat Lehigh's EIWA third-ranked Dave Esposito on his home mats. In the finals he met a familiar, yet frustrating face in Harvard's Dustin DeNunzio. The nationally fourth-ranked DeNunzio has had Piotrowsky's number all year, beating him on three previous occasions. The finals bout was more of the same, DeNunzio prevailing in a close 5-3 finish. Springman, a true freshman, qualified for the NCAAs in his first try. Springman defeated second seed Joe Killar of Harvard, who had beaten Springman twice this year, on his way to the finals, where he lost to top seed and national No. 5 Tivon Abel of Brown. The success of Springman despite his youth and lack of collegiate experience did not surprise his teammates. "He's one of the hardest working guys in the [training] room," Piotrowsky said. "He can put [the second place finish] in the back of his mind and go out and become an all-American." It came as no surprise to Springman either. "I thought I could win the tournament, actually," he said. "In both [the semis and the finals] I felt that if a couple things changed I could have won." With his impressive results both at the EIWAs and throughout the year, Springman was named Ivy League Freshman of the Year. Springman joins elite Penn company with that award, as all-American Slay received the honor his freshman year, as well. As a team, the Quakers three-peated on the strength of their NCAA qualifiers and their other place-winners -- freshman Justin Bravo (118) and sophomore Tim Ortman's (150) fourth-place finishes, along with junior heavyweight Bandele Adeniyi-Bada and freshman Yoshi Nakamura's (142) sixth-place finishes. The final obstacle for Penn starts today with the preliminary rounds of the NCAA championships at Cleveland State. Three of the five Quakers traveling to that happening metropolis have had previous NCAA experience (captains Slay, Rodzianko and Piotrowsky). Steve Walker was an alternate at the tourney last year. Which leaves the youngster Springman as the sole representative without significant collegiate results. But he remains unphased. "We've wrestled with this kind of competition before, so? I'm not really that nervous," Springman said. The team veterans have taken Springman under their wing, preparing him for his first NCAA championships. "We've been telling him the main key is to be able to relax in the rounds and not focus all your attention on the big crowds," Piotrowsky said. "He has absolutely nothing to lose and he can? surprise some people." For Slay, the tournament holds the final piece in a grand puzzle -- a national championship. The title eluded him last year, as he lost in the finals by one point to Oklahoma State's Mark Branch. There is the possibility for a much anticipated finals matchup with the nation's No. 1, Iowa's Joe Williams -- a Chicago product. Williams has beaten Slay twice this year, 5-3. Slay admits he has pondered the matchup, but said, "It's not productive just to think of the guy you plan on wrestling in the finals. "You really have to be ready to wrestle one match at a time," he said. Whether or not a rematch with Williams is in the cards for Slay, as a team Penn has a very realistic shot of reaching yet another of its preseason goals -- placing in the nation's top 10. "The five guys that we have -- we can go out there and do some damage," Piotrowsky noted. "We could open some people's eyes." The Quakers are currently ranked 13th in the nation, and with strong showings all around and some help from higher-ranked programs they are capable of raising eyebrows.

Wrestling prepares for NCAAs

(03/05/98 10:00am)

The Penn wrestling team hopes to use EIWAs as a platform to the NCAAs. It's that time of year again for the Penn wrestling team. The No. 15 Quakers begin their second season tomorrow when they travel to Bethlehem, PA, to try and capture their third consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championship at Lehigh University. For the past two years, Penn has owned the EIWA, winning the 1997 Championships at the Palestra with a tournament record 183.5 team points. The Quakers set the record for largest margin of victory at the EIWAs, smoking second-place finisher Lehigh by 79.5 points. Penn also lays claim to the highest cumulative winning percentage over the past four years in the EIWA. But Penn coach Roger Reina is quick to point out that history does not win titles. "Last year was last year," Reina said. "This year we have zero points, and every other team has zero points, so last year has absolutely no bearing on what happens [tomorrow] and Saturday." This year's EIWA Championships have a drastically different look for the Quakers. Instead of the friendly confines of the Palestra, they travel to Lehigh. The No. 17 Engineers are annually one of their toughest Eastern rivals and the second-ranked team in the EIWA. "I hope it's as tough a crowd as we've faced since we were out at Iowa," Reina said. "The tougher it is, the better it will prepare our guys for the NCAA Championships." Senior captain and defending EIWA champ Brandon Slay didn't place much emphasis on the crowd either. "All the fans will be cheering against us no matter who we wrestle," Slay said. "We have to take that anger and hostility and use that as a positive -- something to get us pumped before our matches." Battling the hostile, Engineer-laden crowds is all the more difficult for the Red and Blue, whose 10-man lineup at Lehigh includes three freshmen and two sophomores. Reina, however, downplays the youth issue. "I think in the beginning of the year you could have said that this team is young, but at this point in the year with the schedule that they've been through, they are not a young team anymore," Reina said. "They are as experienced as any team that Penn has put on the mat." Reina credits Penn's schedule, which included matches against six of the top 10 teams in the nation, for the quick learning of its youthful core. Penn's only three dual meet losses came against No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Iowa at Iowa City and a 20-19 setback against No. 8 West Virginia. One of the not-so-freshmen competing at Lehigh this weekend is Yoshi Nakamura, who is coming off an injury and will see his first action in about a month. Nakamura, currently ranked second in the EIWA in the 142-lb. division, will not have much of a learning curve against his main competitor, Ryan Bernholz, Lehigh's No. 1. Bernholz defeated Penn freshman Martine Apodaca 11-5 during the Penn-Lehigh dual meet. But Reina remains relaxed with Nakamura at 142. "I think his toughest opponent will be himself," Reina said. "[He needs] simply to keep his concentration and to keep his focus and perform to the best of his abilities. "If he does that, he'll win the tournament," Reina said. Wrestlers can qualify for the NCAA tournament with a finals appearance at Lehigh or, in some of the stronger weight classes, a solid semifinal showing. The Quakers feel confident that they can reach one of their preseason goals of qualifying all 10 wrestlers for the NCAAs. "It's definitely a very reasonable goal," said EIWA No. 6 sophomore Tim Ortman, who wrestles this weekend at 150 pounds. "If everybody wrestles to the level they are capable of, I think we can do it. "I'm confident in everybody else, and I hope they are confident in me. Starting at 118 [pounds], if we can just keep on winning, everybody can feed off the next guy." Up and down the lineup, Penn has the deepest team in the EIWA. At 118 pounds, freshman Justin Bravo is ranked No. 5 in the EIWA and is on a hot streak, with impressive wins against Lehigh and Brown. Steve Walker (126) is a heavy favorite, along with Slay (167) and captain Andrei Rodzianko (190). Junior captain Mark Piotrowsky is locked in a three-man race at 134 pounds. EIWA No. 2 Piotrowsky has lost three times this year to Harvard's No. 1 Dustin DeNunzio, but beat Lehigh's No. 3 Dave Esposito easily 7-1 at the Palestra. Further muddying up the 134-lb. picture, Esposito has a victory over DeNunzio this year. Sophomore Ortman (150) has had wins against much of his competition, but lost to Lehigh's No. 1 Chris Ayres 7-3 earlier in the year. Freshman Rick Springman heads into Lehigh ranked third in the East and has defeated top-ranked Tivon Abel of Brown, but has dropped two bouts to No. 2 Joe Killar of Harvard. Heavyweight Bandele Adeniyi-Bada represents Penn in a tough division, which includes national No. 3 Jason Gleasman of Syracuse and national No. 4 Bill Closson of Lehigh. The Quakers have the utmost confidence that they will three-peat as EIWA champs. They have already beaten every team they are going to face this weekend, and their schedule-strength is unparalleled among EIWA teams. "It was exciting winning it at home last year, but it will be pretty neat to go into someone else's gym and take the title," Ortman said. "I think we're going to blow everybody else out. "It'll be fun to do that in Lehigh's gym."

The Seniors' Ivy Title Quest: One last chance for two

(03/05/98 10:00am)

It's all about the bookends, baby. The seniors on the Penn baseball team won the Ivy League Championship their freshman year. Now they want it back. After close calls in the past two years saw the Quakers squander golden opportunities to gain the Ivy crown, Penn feels ready to reassert itself and regain its form of three years ago. In 1996, Penn lost its last four regular season games to Princeton, and in 1997, it lost a playoff to the Gehrig Division champion Tigers. "We have a really good nucleus on the team, but we need the guys who won't be counted on as much to step up in big games," senior co-captain second baseman Joe Carlon said. "Obviously guys like Mark Nagata, Armen Simonian, myself and Russ Farscht need to have big years. "[But] getting more of everybody into it, not just counting on four or five guys [is key]." Carlon, who was captain alone last season, and Simonian, who is currently co-captain with Carlon, anchor Penn's senior-laden group, which feels it has its best unit since 1995. "In my four years, aside from my freshman year, this is the most confident we've been going into a season," Carlon said. "That's solely a result of the fact that we have seven returning starters that had good years last year." The Quakers have the most returning seniors -- nine -- of any team in the Ivy League. This experience has solidified Penn's fielding and has given the team a solid base around which to build. "Definitely our strengths are our defense and our hitting, simply because we have so many returning players at those positions," Carlon said. Last year the Quakers hit .318 as a team, led by Blair Batting Champion Mark Nagata, who hit .422 and All-Ivy pitcher/hitter Simonian, who batted .365. But as Penn coach Bob Seddon said, "Good pitching stops good hitting." And pitching is one area in which the Quakers could stand to see some improvement. Last year Penn pitchers posted a 4.25 ERA en route to a 10-10 finish against Ivy foes, who batted a lofty .317 against them. "Our weakness is in our pitching staff. We only have one proven starter -- Armen," said Carlon, referring to Penn's ace, Simonian, who posted a 5-3 record and a 2.73 ERA last season. "The other three spots in our starting rotation are wide open right now." Hoping to fill those spots for Penn are seniors Todd Mahoney (1-2 with an 8.22 ERA), Ed Kimlin (3.47 ERA against Ivy opponents), 1997 closer Travis Arbogast and sophomore Sean McDonald, who sat out last season. "The pitching staff is definitely going to have to step up," Simonian said. "[But] I think they are all at the peak of their ability, especially when it comes to the senior staff members." Most of all, the leadership of the senior class will help the underclassmen learn what it takes to win titles. "Whether it's sitting on the bench or being in the games, just the fact that you've seen three full seasons really gives you a good idea of what to expect," Simonian said. "And as a group, the seniors have really been the leaders on this team. "It's been a plus to have this many seniors on the team, because each guy takes a few players under his wing." Early in the season, the seniors will get the lion's share of the playing time. But as the year progresses, a talented core of freshmen and sophomores will need to fill in the gaps if Penn wants to rule the Ivy League once again. "There are some freshmen who are very good players," Seddon said. "Ron Rolph is a very good-looking freshman. And Randy Ferrell, who is quick and has a great arm, is backing up [in the outfield]." Penn stressed the need to be more aggressive at the plate. There is a need, however, for a balance between aggressiveness at the plate and swinging at everything a la Sammy Sosa. "We have to cut down on strikeouts and not put ourselves in a defensive position where we're hitting with two strikes on us," Seddon said. In order to strike that balance, the Quakers will not swing for the fences, instead of concentrating on making contact. "We're really encouraging our guys to be singles and doubles hitters," Carlon said. "That helps guys out in not striking out as much." Being more aggressive hitters will help, but pitching will be the key in Penn's Ivy competition, especially against main rival Princeton. "We might be stronger offensively, but [Princeton] might have the edge in the pitching department," said Mark Nagata. Princeton, who returns almost as many starters as Penn, has "one of the best outfields in the league," according to Seddon. "They are the team to beat for us in the division." But the Quakers remain optimistic that they can win the Ivy crown. "Winning the Ivy League title is our number one goal this year," Carlon said. "I think we feel that we're more than capable of winning it. The last two years we've really dropped the ball. "We put ourselves in great positions and then at the end of the year we really shit the bed." This weekend the Quakers travel to Florida to start a spring break road trip. Penn plays Eckerd (10-5) tomorrow and Saturday. "We want to use the southern trip to compare," Seddon said. "Hopefully [we'll] find out where the holes are, who's playing where." The trip marks the start of the last run for this group of seniors, who hope to put the bookend on their Ivy careers with a title this Spring.

Wrestling wins fourth title of '90s

(02/24/98 10:00am)

The Penn wrestling team won its third consecutive Ivy League title with last Saturday's win over Princeton. Chalk up another one for the Penn wrestling team. With a 39-4 demolition of Princeton last Saturday, the No. 15 Quakers (14-3, 5-0) won a third consecutive Ivy League title and their fourth Ivy crown of the '90s. The win came with half of Penn's regular starters sitting out. As it turned out, the regulars' help was not really needed against the struggling Tigers, whose Ivy record now stands at a meager 1-5. The Princeton wrestling team -- which was slated to be cut by their Athletic Administration a few years ago -- did improve on last year's winless finish with a victory against Yale. "[Princeton] is starting to come back," junior captain Mark Piotrowsky said. "They had some good recruits -- their 126-pounder and [their 142-pounder] are pretty good." Nevertheless, Penn finished a perfect 5-0 Ivy League dual meet season in authoritative style. Penn dropped only one bout to the Tigers, Randall Braunfeld's 126-pound match, in which Braunfeld wrestled above his normal weight of 118 pounds. The Quakers also finished their dual meet season, during which they amassed a 14-3 record. Their only losses came against No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Iowa and No. 9 West Virginia. Junior Jason Nagle started the match emphatically for the Quakers, with a 15-2 major decision victory. Braunfeld then lost his bout, but Piotrowsky (134) regained the momentum for Penn with a pin in only 2 minutes, 51 seconds. Sophomore Jonathan Gough (142) took to the mats next, coming out the victor in the day's closest match with an 11-10 win over Jeffrey Bernd. "[Gough] made a couple of mistakes, he gave up? points right at the ends of periods," said Piotrowsky, the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) wrestler of the week. "But he learned from it. He just has to stay tough and keep scoring at the end of periods." Gough competed at 142 pounds in place of nationally-ranked No. 15 freshman Yoshi Nakamura, who is still bothered by an injury. Nakamura was at "90 percent" at match time, according to Penn coach Roger Reina, who decided not to let Nakamura wrestle. "We just felt like he just wasn't quite ready," Reina said. "While there would have been some benefit to him competing, it wasn't that important." The Quakers won the rest of their matches, highlighted by two pins by freshman Rick Springman (150) and senior Joe Malachowski (190). For Malachowski, the victory meant more than six team points. He ended his Penn dual meet career with a pin in just 1:28. "It's always good to leave on a high note," Malachowski said. "And a pin is the best way to do that." For the Quakers, the Princeton match was an excellent opportunity for more inexperienced wrestlers to gain match time rather than watch from the sidelines. "It's a good thing to get younger guys in and rest the guys that get in a lot," said sophomore Tim Ortman, who avenged a loss against Lehigh two weekends ago with a 8-1 victory last Saturday. "It's good to get them a chance and get them that experience, because down the road you're going to need them in those situations and they'll be ready," Ortman said. The three-peat is sweet for the Quakers, especially for the team's veterans. "I remember my freshman year, one of our big matches was [when] we shut out Rutgers," Piotrowsky said. "And now, going from Rutgers to wrestling No. 1 Oklahoma State or No. 2 Iowa -- it's a huge jump." After clobbering the rebuilding Tigers in their final dual match of the season, the Quakers have to switch gears quickly. The EIWA Championships, held March 6-7 at Lehigh, loom on the horizon for Penn. Penn will have to re-encounter all its top Ivy foes -- Harvard, Cornell and Brown, in addition to Eastern powers Lehigh, Army and Navy. But the Quakers have the utmost confidence in themselves after pulverizing Princeton last Saturday. "We went in and showed that we just dominated Princeton," Piotrowsky said. "We're using this momentum to go into the Easterns so we can open the gap between us and the Ivy League and all the Eastern teams. "We've beaten them already, but we want to beat them worse in the Easterns."

No. 18 Wrestling takes on Princeton

(02/20/98 10:00am)

Does this sound familiar? A Penn athletic team heads to Princeton for an important contest with Ivy League ramifications. Except this time, it is the Quakers who are the nationally ranked team and if Princeton wins, that would be the upset. The Penn wrestling team heads to Princeton Saturday for its last dual meet of the season. The Quakers head into New Jersey huge favorites over the hapless Tigers, who have defeated one Ivy League opponent in two years. The Quakers are 4-0 in the Ivy League and have all but wrapped up a third straight Ivy League title and a fourth in the last five years. A win at Princeton would seal it. The Tigers are trying to rebuild their program after the Princeton athletic administration threatened to cut wrestling to comply with Title IX regulations. The program never was cut, but recruiting was hindered greatly by the threat of extinction. This year's freshman class is Princeton's top recruiting class since the Title IX squabble. Penn, ranked No. 1 in the EIWA after its drubbing of Lehigh last weekend at the Palestra, has the utmost confidence going into Saturday's competition. "[Princeton] shouldn't really pose a problem at all for us," said junior captain Andrei Rodzianko, who will sit out the 190-pound bout to make way for senior Joe Malachowski. "We're not even sending our full starting lineup, which is good for a lot of the other guys on the team." Senior captain Brandon Slay will also take the weekend off from competition. Wrestlers are limited to a certain number of matches, and Slay participated in the National All-Star meet earlier this month, so he has to watch from the sidelines at Princeton. Penn probably will not need Slay or Rodzianko's services Saturday against Princeton. As Rodzianko said, "Teams that we've crushed have crushed them." But the Quakers are not overlooking Princeton, said sophomore Tim Ortman, who is looking to make up for a loss against Lehigh with a victory Saturday at 150 pounds. "You can't look past anybody, that's the rule in all of sports," Ortman said. "As a team, we just want to finish the year off right and win the Ivy title." Freshman standout Yoshi Nakamura, ranked No. 15 in the nation at 142 pounds, may return from an injury to compete at Princeton. According to Penn coach Roger Reina, Nakamura is at "90 percent," and whether he wrestles will be a gameday decision. Reina said that his Quakers appear to be peaking at the right time of the year, heading into the postseason. "I think that the trend is definitely going in the right direction, but there are no guarantees," he said. That is bad news for the toothless Tigers, who are 1-3 in the Ivy League. At least one Penn team may come home from Princeton with a win.

Wrestling's seniors pin No. 18 Lehigh

(02/16/98 10:00am)

The Quakers 25-13 win was fueled by Steve Walker and Brandon Slay, who both won their final home match. Questions aplenty were floating around the Palestra yesterday as No. 18 Lehigh took on the 15th-ranked Quakers. Would the Quakers avenge their disappointing loss at bitter conference-rival Lehigh from one year ago? And could Penn establish itself as the dominant team in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA)? With a decisive 25-13 victory, the Quakers not only answered those questions, they rolled them up into a ball, threw it on the ground and stomped on it. The match was never really in doubt after freshman Justin Bravo (118 pounds) won a major decision victory in the first bout to put Penn up 4-0. The early start was "very important" for the Quakers, according to Bravo. "It got the juices flowing for the team," Bravo said. "It definitely helped. Everybody likes to see their teammates win, it pumps you up." After Bravo's win, senior Steve Walker (126) overwhelmed Lehigh's James Hamfeldt, pinning him in just 44 seconds. For Walker, the victory was twice as nice, as this was the senior's last home competition. The next wrestler to compete, junior captain Mark Piotrowsky (134), won convincingly 7-1 to put the Quakers up 13-0. Piotrowsky's win was somewhat of an upset considering he is No. 18 nationally and No. 3 in the EIWA, while Lehigh's Dave Esposito is ranked ninth in the nation and first in the EIWA. The win, in addition to piling on the points against the Boys from Bethlehem, will help Piotrowsky move up in the national and regional rankings. The Engineers came back with two straight victories at 142 and 150 to pull within seven points. But that was the closest the match would get. "[Getting out to an early lead] was definitely key because a lot of their strength lies in their upper weights," Piotrowsky said. In the closest bout of the day, Penn freshman Rick Springman faced Lehigh's Travis Doto, an EIWA finalist last year, in the 158-pound weight class. Springman and Doto were ranked three and four, respectively, in the EIWA. The two traded takedowns in the first period, but a reversal at the buzzer by Doto gave him the lead, 4-3, going into the second. Springman, who was bothered with a bloody nose all match, scored on a takedown after a stalling call, giving him the lead 6-5 with 19 seconds remaining in the third period. Springman then literally held on for the victory, as he contained Doto's attempts to escape. Springman's win came at a crucial point in the match for the Red and Blue. If he lost, the Quakers would have only led 13-9 with four bouts remaining. Instead, the Quakers went up 16-6 and never looked back. Additionally, it roused the large crowd at the Palestra and got the Penn fans into the match. "That clearly was a swing bout," Penn coach Roger Reina said. "Rick overextended himself a little bit at the end of the first period to give up two points, but I thought he showed a lot of determination and mental toughness to come back and win that match." Senior captain Brandon Slay (167) took the mats next, and after two low-scoring periods, the All-Ivy pinned Mark Dufresne 22 seconds into the third period. Slay, like Walker, also ended his Palestra competition with a pin. In fact, every Penn senior to wrestle yesterday won by pin -- Walker and Slay at varsity and Tim Rice and Rob Boyle at JV. "It was an extremely good way to go out," said Slay, whose career record now stands at 102-24. Lehigh won two of the last three matches to make the final score 25-13, but by the final bout the Engineers were already mathematically out of competition. For Penn, the large number of fans in attendance at their last home dual meet was a major advantage. "It's always fun for us in front of the home crowd --Ethat's why I love this place," Penn junior captain Andrei Rodzianko said. But Rodzianko also said Penn never really doubted its chances coming into the match. "We pretty much decided beforehand that we were going to come in here and win," Rodzianko said. "We came in fully confident that we were going to blow them over and that's what we did." Penn's victory not only solidifies its standing as the top dog in the EIWA, but also helps move the six individuals who won yesterday up the seeding ladder for the EIWA Tournament, which will be held at Lehigh March 6-7.

Lehigh rivalry heats up the Palestra this Sunday

(02/13/98 10:00am)

The 15th-ranked Quakers will battle the Engineers for Eastern supremacy Sunday. Forget about Duke-UNC. Forget about Florida-Florida State. Even Harvard-Yale -- forget about it. Ask any Penn wrestler what the most intense college rivalry is and he will say it's Penn-Lehigh. The latest incarnation of this heated local rivalry will occur Sunday at 3 p.m., when Lehigh (9-6) visits the Palestra for Penn's (11-3) final home dual meet of the season. Penn and Lehigh's rivalry has grown steadily since the emergence of Penn as a national power over the last few years. It's reportedly gotten so intense that the Engineers have a "Beat Penn" banner hanging in their locker room. Lately the Quakers and Lehigh have been seesawing back and forth for Eastern Pennsylvania bragging rights, without one team asserting itself as the frontrunner. Three years ago, Lehigh won a team Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) championship. Penn, however, played the spoiler in 1996, sweeping Lehigh in a dual meet and at the EIWA Championships. In 1997, the heavily favored Quakers went to Lehigh and lost. But later that season, the Red and Blue returned in the EIWA Championships at the Palestra and stomped second-place Lehigh by 79.5 points. Senior captain Brandon Slay has seen the rivalry grow during his five years at Penn. "In the past, Lehigh always smoked Penn; it wasn't even close," he said. "But now, Penn wants Lehigh on our schedule and they want us on their schedule because it's such an intense rivalry. The Penn-Lehigh mystique appeared relatively quickly once Penn rose to prominence first in the East and then nationally. In fact, when Penn coach Roger Reina captained the Quakers wrestling team in 1984, Lehigh was not even on Penn's schedule. Even the freshmen on the team have learned about the rivalry quickly. "You hear about it all the time, first and second in the EIWA all the time going at it," freshman Justin Bravo, who is currently ranked fifth in the EIWA at 118 pounds, said. "We know that they are a big rivalry, we just have to go out there and get the job done." Getting the job done -- a victory against the Engineers -- would mean more to the Quakers than just simple bragging rights. Given the high placings of both teams in the EIWA rankings, Sunday's dual meet has important ramifications with the EIWA Championships happening March 6-7 at Lehigh. "One thing that's definitely important is that the matches this weekend will play into seeding at the Eastern Championships," Reina said. "But I think in the hearts of most of our athletes, they really want to avenge that dual meet loss that took place at Lehigh last year." Lehigh brings a different style of wrestling than the Quakers are accustomed to seeing. Penn has been the favorite in most of its dual matches, leading its underdog opponents to wrestle defensively, hoping to keep the matches close. "I don't think they will be real defensive," said senior captain Andrei Rodzianko. "Hopefully these guys will open up more and wrestle with us. That makes it more exciting for everyone, the wrestlers and the fans." The Quakers are glad they have the chance to wrestle Lehigh at home before they head to Lehigh for the EIWA Championships. "I think it's huge [to wrestle Lehigh at home]," Slay said. "We wrestled them there last year and we didn't have that great of a match, so now we're bringing them here to our home -- things are going to be different this year." For success Sunday, the Quakers want to come out and establish an early lead, taking control of the match with lower weight victories. "It's very important [to set the tone]," said Bravo, who will likely be Penn's first wrestler Sunday. "When the first guy goes out there and he wins a good match, the team gets pumped, the momentum starts flowing on our team's side." Although Penn and Lehigh have traded wins for much of the last five years, Penn is, for now, in the driver's seat. The next chapter in the Penn-Lehigh saga could not come at a more critical time for either team. Both are jockeying for position in the upcoming EIWA Championships and both hope to make a statement about Eastern superiority heading into the NCAA Championships.

Wrestling takes two in Mass., one at Brown

(02/10/98 10:00am)

Last weekend the Penn wrestling team put to rest any questions it may have left as to its position in the Ivy League. Last weekend's 27-10 victory over Brown and 21-9 victory over Harvard established Penn as the Ivy League elite and may push the Quakers ahead of Lehigh in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association rankings. Lehigh had supplanted Penn as the top-ranked team in the East, but after the Engineers' loss to Harvard last week and Penn's win against the Crimson, Penn stands to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the EIWA. Going into the weekend's competition, the Quakers were unsatisfied with their efforts against Ivy foes Cornell and Columbia two weekends ago. Although they came out with two wins, they felt as if they performed at their opponents' level. Penn came out strong against Brown Friday night, getting off to an 11-0 lead after a Justin Bravo (118 pounds) pin and a Steve Walker 21-4 technical fall victory. Brown did come back with two consecutive wins to make the score 11-6. Ernest DeLeon scored a "surprising" 6-5 victory against Mark Piotrowsky (134), according to Penn coach Roger Reina, and freshman Rick Springman (158) lost 8-3 to the EIWA No. 1 Tivon Abel. But Brown never could overcome the early deficit or Penn's depth at the heavier weights. "It was a pretty dominating match for us," senior captain Brandon Slay (167), who won his match 7-4, said. "We wanted to prove that we were a better team than what we showed [previously]." "We had a convincing victory, but everyone felt they could have earned more bonus team points [with] pins and major decisions," said heavyweight Bandele Adeniyi-Bada. Still, the win boosted the Quakers' confidence, according to Reina, and took them to Harvard on a high note. At Harvard, Penn encountered a vocal, highly partisan crowd and a team ready to fight. "We knew Harvard was going to come after us," Reina said. "This was one of the biggest meets of the year for them." "It was a loud, hostile crowd, and all we had was our team," Adeniyi-Bada said. "The Harvard kids were real intense, but that raised us to another level." Although Penn prevailed 21-9, the match was close throughout. Nine of the ten bouts were decided by three points or less. "[Harvard] didn't have anything to lose. They haven't won the Ivy League since I don't know when," Slay said. "They fought hard, but fortunately we wrestled better in the tight situations." The match was tied 9-9, but Penn swept the four remaining bouts to take the last 12 points. With the victory, Penn dashed No. 24 Harvard's hopes of a second straight upset of a nationally-ranked team. "They knew how to wrestle a lot of our guys," senior captain Andrei Rodzianko said. "But we showed them who was tougher." The Quakers made the adjustments necessary to compensate for Harvard's preparation. "They knew what offense we were going to use and defended it well," said Slay, whose 6-5 overtime victory gave him 100 career victories at Penn. "We didn't get too frustrated and kept trying to score. We eventually got the points and takedowns we needed." Reina was impressed with his team's effort. "What was most enjoyable [about the win] was the fact that there were tremendously close matches and we came out on top of almost all of those," Reiba said. Also at Cambridge was UMass-Lowell, whom the Quakers trounced 39-6, using many younger and inexperienced wrestlers. Penn did what it hoped to do over the weekend -- prove it was without a doubt "The Team" in the Ivy League. With only one Ivy match left against Princeton, Penn is in position to finish with a perfect conference record and three-peat as Ivy champs.

Two leser Ivy teams host No. 14 Wrestling

(02/06/98 10:00am)

The Penn wrestling team feels like it has something to prove. The Quakers placed respectably at two of the premier tournaments in the country -- the Midlands and the Tournament of Champions, won the Keystone Classic and beat Ivy rivals Cornell and Columbia. But the Quakers are only ranked second in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association and they are back at their preseason national rank of No. 14. This weekend, Penn travels to Brown and Harvard looking to show the wrestling world that it is a force to be reckoned with. Neither of the teams are strangers to Penn, who saw both at the Ivy League Kickoff Classic in November. Penn finished second at the Kickoff Classic, while Harvard and Brown tied for third. Penn also saw Harvard in action at the Midlands, where Penn finished eighth, well ahead of the Crimson. This weekend's action proves to be another test of Penn's progress. The Quakers handled Columbia easily last weekend, but had some trouble with one of their tougher Ivy opponents, Cornell, which they beat 22-15. "We're pretty confident, but we feel like we have something to prove," heavyweight Bandele Adeniyi-Bada said. "Cornell wasn't our best match as a team." Senior captain Mark Piotrowsky said the Quakers will try to set a more aggressive pace for the matches, something he feels they did not do against Cornell. "We have to go out there [against Brown and Harvard] and wrestle our style," he said. "Cornell is a more defensive team and we wrestled their way. We want to be more offensive and score a lot of points." Penn travels to Brown tonight, but its main focus lies squarely on the Crimson. The Quakers are not overlooking Brown, however, according to freshman Yoshi Nakamura. The Bears have the top-ranked EIWA wrestlers in Pete Poretta at 118 pounds and Tivon Abel at 158 pounds. Harvard is coming off an 18-15 upset over Lehigh, ranked No. 1 in the EIWA. "I have 110 percent confidence that we will come out on top [this weekend]," Nakamura said. "We will come out with a full head of steam and show them who the real No. 1 is in the Ivies and the East. "We don't want to take a back seat to anybody." Highlighting the Quakers stop in Cambridge, where they will also face UMass-Lowell, is Piotrowsky's match at 134 pounds with rival Dustin DeNunzio of Harvard. DeNunzio has had Piotrowsky's number this year, beating him twice already. In the first match, Piotrowsky gave up a pin, but in the second match he took DeNunzio to overtime. Piotrowsky hopes the third time will be the charm Saturday. "This time," said Piotrowsky, "I plan to be more offensive and keep after him." Nakamura showed the utmost confidence in his captain. "I have faith in Pio," said Nakamura. "When it's time for him to step up, I think he will." The Quakers want to get their No. 1 preseason EIWA ranking back from Lehigh, but they will first have to show they can beat Harvard, currently ranked fourth in the East. "We have the talent," Adeniyi-Bada said. "Therefore, we expect to get the results."