No. 1 Howell Routs No. 4 CBA to Take Control in A North
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MIDDLETOWN — Eventually there will come a time when Howell does not rule the Shore Conference’s Class A North division with an iron fist.
Just not in 2015.
The Rebels, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, won 10 of 14 bouts to cool off a red-hot, fourth-ranked Christian Brothers Academy squad for a thorough 42-14 victory on Friday night. Juniors Kris Lindemann and Nick Ciaccia and senior Ryan Demian won by fall as the Rebels cleared their biggest obstacle in their quest for a 10th consecutive division title.
“We knew they were talking and thought they could beat us, but we weren’t going to let that A North streak come to an end here,” Lindemann said. “We knew we had the heart and the gas tank to beat them.”
Howell has not lost a Class A North match since the 2005 season.
“We knew it was going to be a big match, and we knew we’ve done it before and we could do it again,” said senior Nick Lurski. “We showed them it’s not going to be taken from us that easily.”
There were plenty of juicy matchups on tap among the lower weights that had the potential to decide the dual, but Howell’s upperweights took the outcome of those bouts completely out of the equation by winning six of eight from 145 to heavyweight in building a 27-6 lead The bottom half of the lineup took care of business as well, but, with the match starting at 145 pounds, by the time their bouts rolled around Howell was in complete control.
Lurski and fellow senior Austin Silverstein earned critical victories against two of CBA’s best upperweights at 170 and 182 pounds. Lurski (7-3) used an escape in the second period and a third-period rideout to defeat Justin Kieslor, 1-0, at 170. Kieslor entered the bout with a 12-2 record.
“I was ready to go out there and get the job done,” Lurski said. “It was just forward pressure and trying to work something off the arms the entire time. If you can do that they can’t get their base and get out.”
At 182, Silverstein (7-3) turned up his offensive game with four takedowns and a reversal in a 12-8 decision over Jack LaCorte (10-4) that put Howell up 15-3 five bouts into the match. Those weights were especially crucial for the Colts (8-1, 3-1) considering they’re short a wrestler up top and have forfeited or had no match at either 170, 182 or 195 in eight of their nine duals. At heavyweight, Demian (7-3) pinned Alex Petrocelli (10-4) in 4:23 for a 27-6 advantage that all but ended the match.
“We knew if we got the job done up top it would be much easier sailing,” Lurski said. “We’re hoping to make a name for ourselves (the upperweights), and I think we did that tonight.”
“We told them there was going to be toss-up bouts that we had to grind and work (to win),” said Howell head coach John Gagliano. “They believe in themselves and they work extremely hard, and (tonight) they put it together.”
Lindemann (10-2) began the match with a third-period pin over Ben Kuhn (4-2) at 145 pounds to give Howell (8-0, 3-0) a 6-0 lead. Lindemann, the sixth-place finisher in the state tournament at 132 pounds last season and an NHSCA Sophomore Nationals champion, fell behind immediately when Kuhn took him down to start the bout and fire up the home crowd. But Lindemann quickly escaped and started to pile up points. He took Kuhn down then turned him for two near-fall points and a 5-2 lead. In the second period, Lindemann chose bottom after Kuhn deferred and went back to work, escaping and taking Kuhn down again. He turned Kuhn twice for a total of six near-fall points to go up 14-2, then hooked in a spladle and secured the fall in 4:31.
Lindemann’s usual spot is at 138 pounds, but Gagliano bumped him up a weight class to make sure the Rebels started strong.
“That was our move for the day,” Gagliano said. “We felt we needed to do that matchup. We needed to set the tone.”
“It was a momentum swing getting six points on the board right away,” Lindemann said. “And we kept that going through the whole match.”
Senior David Nocks (8-2) followed with a 10-4 decision over Garret Fitzgerald (8-7) at 152 pounds for a 9-0 lead. CBA junior Chris Koutzen improved to 11-3 by holding off Anthony Pozsonyi, 3-2 at 160 pounds, making a takedown late in the first period hold up. Lurski and Austin Silverstein would follow with victories, and a forfeit to Sean Silverstein at 195 pounds put Howell in front, 21-3.
Colts junior Will Oxley (14-1) continued his fine start by outlasting Eric Keosseian, 4-2 in the second overtime tiebreaker at 220 pounds. Keosseian had a third-period reversal to take a 2-1 lead, but with a stalling warning already against him he cut Oxley loose to tie the bout at two. After a scoreless sudden victory period and a rideout by Oxley in the first tiebreaker, he scored a reversal near the edge of the mat for the 4-2 win that made it 21-6.
Demian erased any momentum the Colts had hoped to build by decking Petrocelli in 4:23 at heavyweight. During a back-and-forth bout with plenty of action on the mat, Petrocelli led 3-2 going into the third period and chose bottom. Demian sank a deep half-nelson and cranked Petrocelli to his back just in front of the CBA bench and perilously close to the boundary, finally muscling his shoulders to the mat for the fall.
The Rebels’ lead ballooned to 30-6 when Kyle Slendorn (11-0) won a battle between standout freshmen at 106 pounds. He defeated Rich Koehler (12-2) by 7-4 decision on the strength of a reversal and two back points in the second period.
“We knew there would be some toss-up matches and we came out on top of most of them,” Lindemann said. “They thought Koehler would beat Kyle, but that pretty much ended the match right there.”
Standout junior Sebastian Rivera (14-0), the fifth-place finisher in the state tournament at 106 pounds last season and an NHSCA Sophomore Nationals champion, got CBA back in the win column with an 18-9 major decision over Mikey Sisolak (6-3) at 113 pounds that cut Howell’s lead to 30-10 and kept the Colts mathematically alive. But at 120 pounds, junior Peter Dee (8-2) beat Carl Vasti 6-2 for a 33-10 lead that clinched the match with three bouts left.
Dylan VanSickell remained undefeated (14-0) for CBA with an 11-2 major decision over Howell freshman Daniel Esposito (7-3) at 126 pounds. Howell junior Nick Ciaccia improved to 10-2 with a pin in 3:47 over Nick Koutzen at 132 pounds before junior Anthony Gagliano (8-2) topped Liam Gallagher, 10-8 at 138 pounds, to close out the match.
“We were excited coming here and we knew it was a big match,” Gagliano said. “There’s the A North streak and also the fact that we’re both state ranked, so we knew it was going to be a battle.
“We can’t relax too long because we have another battle tomorrow.”
In the feature match of a triangular meet at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Howell will host No. 3 Southern Regional in a rematch of last season’s NJSIAA Group IV semifinals. Southern won that match, 34-24, and also took a regular-season dual from the Rebels, 28-19. Saturday’s meeting could be the first of two this season with both being aligned in the South Jersey Group V section. The Rams are coming off a loss to Jackson Memorial on Wednesday, and although they got back in the win column Friday with a blowout win over Lacey, they will certainly be fired up for a crack at another top opponent.
“We have Southern tomorrow night and that’s the match we want,” Lindemann said. “We lost to them twice last year, so we want redemption.”
No. 1 Howell 42, No. 4 CBA 14
145: Kris Lindemann (H) p. Ben Kuhn 4:31
152: David Nocks (H) d. Garrett Fitzgerald 10-4
160: Chris Koutzen (CBA) d. Anthony Pozsonyi 3-2
170: Nick Lurski (H) d. Justin Kieslor 1-0
182: Austin Silverstein (H) d. Jack LaCorte 12-8
195: Sean Silverstein (H) by forfeit
220: Will Oxley (CBA) d. Eric Keosseian 4-2 TB-2
Hwt: Ryan Demian (H) p. Alex Petrocelli 4:23
106: Kyle Slendorn (H) d. Rich Koehler 7-4
113: Sebastian Rivera (CBA) md. Mikey Sisolak 18-9
120: Peter Dee (H) d. Carl Vasti 6-2
126: Dylan VanSickell (CBA) md. Daniel Esposito 11-2
132: Nick Ciaccia (H) p. Nick Koutzen 3:47
138: Anthony Gagliano (H) d. Liam Gallagher 10-8
Records: at CBA (8-1, 3-1); Howell (8-0, 3-0).