Palmer Sets Tone for Buckeyes
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State senior Lance Palmer wouldn't offer as much as a grin after he beat his fifth-ranked opponent from Penn State yesterday.
Palmer, who is No. 3 at 149 pounds, wasn't happy with the way he wrestled even though he beat Frank Molinaro 5-3. Palmer has set the bar so high for himself that he expects perfection, or at least a dominating performance, every time he takes the mat.
It's the same standard Ohio State has for every wrestler.
Even though it wasn't to his liking, Palmer was solid and his win helped the fourth-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 13 Penn State 21-14 in their Big Ten dual opener in St. John Arena. Palmer and Colt Sponseller beat opponents ranked in the top 10, and Ohio State won six of 10 matches.
Palmer's victory was the biggest. He prevented Molinaro from scoring off a high leg shot, then got a takedown with 24 seconds left in the first period for a 2-0 lead. After a quiet second period, Palmer started the third with a nifty reversal and never let Molinaro come close to scoring.
"After I figured out my positioning and knew he wouldn't be able to shoot on me that's when I started attacking and getting more aggressive," Palmer said. "I didn't think he would score on me from the beginning. They said he was going to come at me left-side, high-crotch. I have good defense on shots, so even though he had my leg in the air for awhile, I still felt confident in those positions. ... Once I realized how easy it was to defend, he didn't get on me again."
Ohio State (12-1) needed the win, especially with 2008 national champion Mike Pucillo at 184 out because of a minor injury. He will wrestle at Purdue on Friday, coach Tom Ryan said.
The Buckeyes also needed Sponseller's win at 165. He fell behind Dan Vallimont 2-0 after a questionable takedown, but he rallied to tie the match at 2 going into the third. Starting on top, Sponseller never let Vallimont get to his feet the entire period. He got a point after a stalling call on Vallimont and another for riding time to win 4-2.
"You know in the third period if you've got to ride someone, you want (Sponseller) on the mat," Ryan said. "He did a great job getting that done. ... He did a real good job later in the match keeping Vallimont off his legs."
Those wins, coupled with a major decision by Ian Paddock at 133 and technical fall by Reece Humphrey at 141, secured the team victory.
"We held our ground where we needed to," Ryan said. "Not having Pucillo, the team really stepped up. We got bonus points from '33 and '41 and that gave us great momentum. They know when you have a national champion out of your lineup, you've got to step up."
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