BOONE, N.C. -- Appalachian State University wrestling took on its third consecutive ranked ACC opponent in No. 24 Duke on Tuesday night and won four of the final five bouts to defeat the Blue Devils by a score of 26-14.
"There's a lot going through my head right now and we had a lot of ups and downs tonight," said head coach JohnMark Bentley. "We really had some guys step up when we desperately needed them to."
The Mountaineers gained all the momentum early on with victories in both the 125 and 133-pound weight classes. At 125, Vito Pasone cruised to a 12-4 major decision over Thayer Atkins before Jacob Grigg won by forfeit at 133 and the Apps were already ahead 10-0.
However, Duke began to figure some things out and won two hard-fought decisions at 141 and 149. At 141, Michael Longo dropped a back-and-forth showdown with Zach Finesilver, 7-6, in which the score was tied 4-4 after one period and Longo was up 6-5 before the third.
At 149, Matt Zovistoski and Mitch Finesilver were scoreless through the first two periods before M. Finesilver got his takedown in the third. At that point, the score was 10-6 in favor of the home team, but David Peters-Logue lost an 11-0 major decision to Connor Bass at 157 to make it 10-10.
Then came the intermission and that was just what Appalachian needed to regroup.
In the 165-pound bout, Forrest Przybysz scored a first-round takedown and later escaped to win 3-1 over Jake Faust. Defending SoCon Wrestler of the Week, Nick Kee kept the momentum going for the Apps in the following match. Kee was up 2-1 after two periods before four takedowns and an escape in the third period spearheaded the 11-6 decision for Kee.
"One wrestler from tonight that really stands out in my mind is Forrest Przybysz," added Bentley. "He stepped up, won a hard-fought match and did it against one of their best kids. That was kind of a momentum turner for us and he did an outstanding job. Hats off to him for a great individual win, but also getting the team back on track. Not only him, but it was an outstanding job from the last five weights."
With the home team back up 16-10, Appalachian State's Taylor Jackson provided a spark for the Black and Gold at 184. Jackson was trailing Spencer Neff 7-5 with just a minute to go before he pinned Neff with 18 seconds left in the match. That fall at 6:42 pushed App State's advantage to 12, 22-10.
Randall Diabe fell to one of the best 197-pounders in the nation in Conner Hartmann by major decision, 8-0, but kept things out of reach for the visitors before Denzel Dejournette stepped onto the mat.
The junior grappler was in control throughout and took a 12-4 major decision to give App four more team points and a 26-14 victory over a ranked opponent.
"This validates the training and hard work that these guys have put in," said Bentley. "I'm a firm believer that our guys work as hard as anyone in the country and beating a team like this says a lot about our program. It also says a lot about our guys, the work their putting in and it shows that wrestling is a sport that Appalachian State can succeed in. I'm just proud of our guys for finding a way to win tonight."
Next up, the Mountaineers will travel to Clarion, Pa. on Saturday, Dec. 19 to take on both the Golden Eagles and Buffalo for their final action of 2015.
125: Vito Pasone (APP) def. Thayer Atkins (DUKE) MD, 12-4 (4-0 App)
133: Jacob Grigg (APP) wins by forfeit (10-0 App)
141: Zach Finesilver (DUKE) def. Michael Longo (APP) D, 7-6 (10-3 App)
149: Mitch Finesilver (DUKE) def. Matt Zovistoski (APP) D, 2-0 (10-6 App)
157: Connor Bass (DUKE) def. David Peters-Logue (APP) MD, 11-0 (Tied 10-10)
165: Forrest Przybysz (APP) def. Jake Faust (DUKE) D, 3-1 (13-10 App)
174: Nick Kee (APP) def. Brian Dorsey (DUKE) D, 11-6 (16-10 App)
184: Taylor Jackson (APP) def. Spencer Neff (DUKE) F, 6:42 (22-10 App)
197: Conner Hartmann (DUKE) def. Randall Diabe (APP) MD, 8-0 (22-14 App)
Hwt: Denzel Dejournette (APP) def. Brendan Walsh (DUKE) MD, 12-4 (26-14 App)