BY ERIC MILLINDER
Pitt-Johnstown nearly ran the table against the Seton Hill Griffins on Wednesday night at the UPJ Sports Center as the Mountain Cats won 8 of 10 matches for a 38-9 final.
The victory was Pitt-Johnstown’s 12th consecutive dual meet win.
“It was a good match,” Pitt-Johnstown coach Pat Pecora said. “We’ve just been on a roll. We started the season 1-2 and now we are 13-2. We have just been finding ways to win and every time it’s a different scenario.”
Penn Cambria’s Evan Link started the ball rolling for the Mountain Cats with a 12-3 major decision over junior Steve Smith at 125 lbs.
Link built an early 6-3 lead with three takedowns in the first period and added a takedown and near-fall in the third period to earn a bonus point.
Forest Hills’ Dave Fogle added to that momentum with a fall at 3:47 over Trey Constable at 133 lbs.
At 141 lbs., Pitt-Johnstown junior Dave Cawley had to put in a full-night’s work to come away with a 5-2 decision over the sixth-ranked A.J. Fisher.
Cawley led 3-0 through the opening minute of the second period but Fisher narrowed the gap to 3-2 with a takedown.
Fisher then selected the neutral position to start the final period and Cawley responded with a double-leg takedown for a 5-2 decision, which gave UPJ a commanding 13-0 lead.
Seton Hill’s Nick Nichols cut that lead quickly with a fall at 149 lbs. over Tyler Chesney at 6:47.
Pitt-Johnstown’s 149-pound slot is normally occupied by 2011 NCAA All-American Jack Bachman, but Pecora elected to rest the junior while he recovers from a knee injury.
“Bachman is a little banged up,” Pecora said. “He got a little nicked up at the Mercyhurst match and we thought this was a match we could give him a breather.”
Seton Hill’s Brett Smith inched the Griffins closer with a 4-3 decision over Joel Paolo at 157 pounds to make the score 13-9.
Paolo opened the first period with a takedown to gain a 2-0 advantage but fell behind 4-2 after surrendering a reversal in the second stanza and a takedown to open the third period.
Paolo, a sophomore, battled back with an escape and nearly won the match with a deep leg attack that Smith barely held off until the final buzzer.
Keith Ryan got the Mountain Cats back on track with a hard fought 4-0 decision over senior Randall Wagner at 165 lbs.
Pitt-Johnstown’s Gary Lantz combined three takedowns and a reversal with three near-fall points to earn a major decision over Tyler Mohlenrich at 174 lbs., which boosted the Mountain Cats’ lead to 20-9.
Travis McKillop (184 lbs.) and Nikos Garafola (197 lbs.) finished the night with two consecutive falls for Pitt-Johnstown.
McKillop built a 10-1 first period lead over Dylan Bushy before turning the junior for a fall at 2:41.
Garafola opened his match against Tyler Dombrowski with two takedowns prior to locking up an arm bar midway through the second period for the fall.
Westmont Hilltop’s Josh Duplin (285 lbs.) received a forfeit to cap the scoring.