Bears, Mounties meet for MVC title
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Alex Yanovich lifts Vincent Kassis of Parkland during their 138-pound matchup in the District Duals. Yanovich, a senior, is hoping to help lead the Bears to a win over Stroudsburg Wednesday to claim the MVC championship.
The Pleasant Valley wrestling team has fulfilled many goals throughout the 2011-12 season.
From placing an impressive fifth at the Reno Tournament of Champions to knocking off Nazareth for the first time in school history to reaching the semifinals at District Duals, the highlights have been numerous.
But on Wednesday night, in their final home match of the year against Stroudsburg, the Bears are hoping to add to those achievements.
After three straight seasons of watching the Mounties claim the Mountain Valley Conference championship, PV is primed to regain the title they last held in 2008.
"As a team, we're all excited," said David Gehr, the Bears' 145-pounder. "We've been working hard all year not just for this match but for all the goals we set. We've accomplished some of them and this is just another task we have to get through.
"For me and the rest of the seniors, we're really excited for this. With it in our home gym, we want to go out with a bang."
Both teams enter the matchup with perfect 5-0 marks in the MVC. Stroudsburg has won those five matches by a combined score of 306-45 compared to the Bears' 276-70. Both teams also could have 11 starters in the lineup with records of .500 or better.
"We're looking forward to it," said PV 126-pounder Mike Dahlstrom. "There's going to be a bunch of great bouts. We really want this conference title and we're ready to work for it.
"It's really competitive between us. We know their guys. I've practiced with them at times. I could feel it, seeing them at district duals. You could tell there's an intensity there."
On paper, the Bears have a decided edge in the lowerweights while the Mounties are favored in the upperweights.
"We're strong in the first seven weights and everyone in the district knows that's where are main guys are at," said Alex Yanovich, PV's 138-pounder. "If we can get a couple upsets from 152 to heavyweight we definitely should come away with a win."
The Bears are hoping for more than just wins from their lightweights.
"Bonus points are key for both teams," said Bears' head coach Mark Getz. "It's going to be who doesn't give them up and who gets them, and that's going to be the real turning point of the match. If either team can get an upset somewhere that would also be big.
"It's a hyped-up match. It's going to be a great bout. I think you're looking at two of the top 20 schools in the state going at it in our gym on Wednesday. Right now we're focused on Stroudsburg and what we have to do to beat them."
The Mounties earned a 41-29 victory a year ago and finished on top, 36-25, two years ago. In 2009, PV fell to its rivals by a 32-30 count.
"It's Senior Night and hopefully they'll get a taste of the championship for the first time in their careers here," said Getz. "It's a huge night for them. But one thing I told them is the pressure is on (Stroudsburg). When you have to defend something, that's a lot of pressure. We don't have a title to defend so the pressure is on them to keep it. We just have to be loose and go wrestle."
Getz is hoping a couple of his guys will be able to wrestle.
Ernie Klingel, at 132 pounds, missed the district duals this past weekend due to an injury and is questionable for Wednesday night. Nick Martucci, who has only four decisions this season, could make his return at 160.
With or without them in the lineup, there doesn't seem to be a lot of maneuvering for either coach.
"I really think it is what it is," said Getz. "I don't see too many moves on anybody's part. I think both sides are going to go right at it and may the best man win. There's not going to be too many dodging anywhere. They're pretty much two straight lineups.
"Stroudsburg is a very balanced team. They're pretty solid straight up through. There's not a lot of holes there. They're a well-prepared team. They're going to come out and wrestle and be aggressive. I like that. We're an aggressive team too so it should be interesting. It should be a great one."
Possible Wednesday matchups (with Stroudsburg wrestlers listed first):
106 - Shane Jones (Fr., 22-11) vs. Kenny Yanovich (So., 31-3)
113 - Guesseppe Rea (Sr., 25-6) vs. Sean Bianco (Jr., 33-1)
120 - Jeffrey Hernandez (Sr., 21-11) vs. James Felipa (Jr., 27-7)
126 - Brian Morales (Jr., 12-11) vs. Mike Dahlstrom (Sr., 33-3)
132 - Mike Cassano (So., 17-11) vs. Ernie Klingel (Sr., 23-3)
138 - Jayson Berger (Sr., 15-16) vs. Alex Yanovich (Sr., 30-7)
145 - Keith Howie (So., 12-14) vs. David Gehr (Sr., 22-13)
152 - Kevin Merle (Fr., 5-10) vs. Joell Toledo (Jr., 17-14)
160 - Aaron Transue (Sr., 20-7) vs. Nick Martucci (Sr., 1-3)
170 - James Palmisano (So., 15-10) vs. Darquise Harper (Jr., 8-13)
182 - Ryan Barry (Sr., 26-7) vs. Aaron Brewer (Sr., 8-16)
195 - Robert Karstendiek (Jr., 24-8) vs. Hunter Deihl (Jr., 20-15)
220 - Keyautay Aulder (Jr., 20-9) vs. Dominick Ammirato (Jr., 14-14)
285 - Cody Cooper (So., 26-9) vs. Mike Benner (Jr., 19-12)