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Northwestern knocks off Bombers

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    Northwestern’s Eli Dellicker tries to sit out and escape the hold of Palmerton’s Dylan Shinsky during their 120-pound match on Tuesday. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published December 11. 2019 12:01PM

Jim Moll found himself focusing on the unknown heading into Northwestern’s Colonial League opener on Tuesday.

The Tigers provided their head coach with some clarity.

A convincing 41-27 victory over Palmerton gave Moll and Northwestern a glimpse into what the team is capable of.

“I was nervous,” said Moll. “It’s the first dual meet; you don’t know what you have. They (Palmerton) didn’t wrestle at all over the weekend, so we had no idea what they had. We didn’t know what to expect until we got to weigh-ins and saw what the matchups looked like. But even then, there were a lot of toss-up matches that we just happened to win.”

The Tigers ripped off six wins in seven bouts — including four pins — to take control of the match.

It was a run that started with a gritty 10-6 decision by Eli Dellicker at 120 pounds in a match that was tied 2-2 after the second period.

Dellicker’s victory was a snapshot of the evening for Northwestern, which prevailed despite giving up two forfeits.

“You just have to overcome that,” said Dellicker. “I think we work harder than just about any other team, and you just have to keep using that and fight through every match. I started down (in my match), but I just kept fighting and working my way back up.”

Jake Dellicker (126), Ben Griffith (132), Mason Brensinger (145) and Lucas Miller (152) each had pins before Harrison Bernhard (160) prevailed in sudden victory overtime to push the Tigers’ advantage to 30-12 after nine matches.

“Those pins and bonus points were huge in this match. They were the reason we won,” said Griffith.

“I just think it says a lot about the work we put in as a team, and it shows,” added Jake Dellicker. “I think the idea was, people count us out because we have small numbers so we have to make up for a few six-point forfeits, and it just gives us a little motivation to go out and work a little harder for some bonus points.”

Northwestern’s Ryan Haverkamp (195) won by technical fall, and Isaiah Johri (220) had a pin to add to the team’s haul.

“I just feel like when you see one guy go out there and wrestle as hard as he can and work hard, it motivates everyone else to push it a little more and work that much harder to get an extra win,” Jake Dellicker said.

Dennis Lombardi (138) and Matt Garey-Hendricks (285) both won by fall for the Bombers.

Like Moll, Palmerton head coach Justin Petersen used the contest as a learning experience for his squad.

“Going into (the match), we really didn’t know what to expect,” Petersen said afterward. “We had a lot of newer guys — some guys that are younger, some guys that are in new roles. So I just wanted to see what we had. I thought we were going to get a little bit more than we got. But they got the momentum to start, and kind of ran with it.

“Overall, we just have to wrestle better. What beat us were swing matches … that needs to change. That’s a huge change in momentum and scoring, and also bonus points ... we can’t give up bonus points. The 41-27 looks more lopsided than it was because of that. We can learn from it, but we’ve been in these positions before. We can’t say we’re almost there; we need to take a step forward and do it. We’ll get there.”

BATTLING BACK … Palmerton’s Matt Lalik was able to overcome a 3-0 deficit — and using 1:17 of injury time — in the second period to come away with a 5-3 win in sudden victory overtime against Tyler Watson at 170 pounds. “It was big,” said Petersen. “We were down 30-12 and only had one win (Dennis Lombardi) besides a forfeit, so momentum was on their side. It was coming off Shawn’s (Gardner) match, which was an overtime loss; and he got hurt, giving up a front takedown because of it. We were confident with where he was in the match; it was just that he needed to go. It showed his conditioning was good and that the heart was there for him to finish when he needed to.”

GENERATION NEXT … Northwestern’s youth wrestling program was recognized Tuesday, as the Tigers were accompanied to the center of the mat during introductions with one or more wrestlers from the program.

Northwestern 41, Palmerton 27

106 - Double forfeit; 113 - Aaron Gardner (P) won by forfeit; 120 - Eli Dellicker (NW) dec. Dylan Shinsky, 10-6; 126 - Jake Dellicker (NW) pinned Daniel Lucykanish in 2:26; 132 - Ben Griffith (NW) pinned Grant Scott in 1:34; 138 - Dennis Lombardi (P) pinned Anthony Russo in 1:00; 145 - Mason Brensinger (NW) pinned Colton Stroup in 3:47; 152 - Lucas Miller (NW) pinned Colin Mertz in 3:09; 160 - Harrison Bernhard (NW) dec. Shawn Gardner, 8-6 (SV); 170 - Matt Lalik (P) dec. Tyler Watson, 5-3 (SV); 182 - Aidan Melber (P) won by forfeit; 195 - Ryan Haverkamp (NW) tech. fall Chris Lucykanish, 17-1; 220 - Isaiah Johri (NW) pinned Jeremy Mooney in 5:12; 285 - Matt Garey-Hendricks (P) pinned Jacob Serulneck in 1:23.

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