The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team hosts the biggest dual meet in school history when No. 2 Iowa visits Maclellan Gym on Friday, Nov. 16. Match time against the 23-time NCAA Champion Hawkeyes is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Chattanooga-Iowa match culminates a busy day of collegiate wrestling on UTC's campus. Four other dual matches will also showcase No. 17 Virginia and NAIA-member Cumberland University.
There will be a two-mat setup in Maclellan Gym for most of the day that begins with a 2:00 p.m. match between the Cavaliers and Cumberland. The Mocs also face the Bulldogs at 5:00 p.m. There will be one mat for the showcase match at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets for the entire day are $5 and can be purchased online on GoMocs.com or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627). As always, UTC students get free admission with a valid Mocs Card.
COMPLETE SCHEDULE 2:00 p.m. - Virginia vs. Cumberland 3:30 p.m. - Iowa vs. Cumberland Youth Match on Mat 2 5:00 p.m. - Virginia vs. Iowa Cumberland vs. Chattanooga 7:00 p.m. - Iowa vs. Chattanooga
LIVE STATS & MOCSVISION VIDEO A link for live stats for the UTC matches will be available on the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com. There will be live video for each match through MocsVision on GoMocs.com. The live video stream is $8.95 per match or $19.95 for a full day's pass.
NO. 17 VIRGINIA PROBABLE LINEUP: 125: No. 7 Matt Snyder - (Sr. - 4-0)/Nick Herrmann - (Fr. - 2-0) 133: George DiCamillo - (Fr. - 9-0) 141: Jimmy Nehls - (Fr. - 2-0)/Joe Spisak - (So. - 4-0) 149: No. 10 Derek Valenti - (Sr. - 4-0) 157: Jedd Moore - (Sr. - 4-0)/Blaise Butler - (Fr. - 6-0) 165: No. 8 Nick Sulzer - (So. - 4-0) 174: No. 9 Jon Fausey - (Jr. - 4-0)/Dusty Floyd - (Fr. - 3-2) 184: Stephen Doty - (Jr. - 4-0)/Zach Nye - (Fr. - 1-0) 197: Mike Salopek - (Sr. - 3-1) 285: Patrick Gillen - (Fr. - 1-1)
QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH HEATH ESLINGER On how big the match against Iowa is: "A lot people have said it's like Kentucky coming to play us in basketball or Alabama to play us in football or like the Lady Vols in women's basketball. As great as those programs have been, they really pale in comparison to the results that Iowa wrestling has had on the national scene. The Lady Vols have won eight national titles. Well, multiply that by three and subtract one, and the University of Iowa has won 23 national titles. When Dan Gable was the coach there, they won the Big Ten every year he was the coach. The tradition of their program is richer than the Wooden era at UCLA or the Bear Bryant era at Alabama. People can argue that, but when you look at the statistics they are overwhelming that this program has a lot tradition, a lot of history and a lot of championships."
On the excitement level of this week: "It's a great event. Wrestling has a lot of tradition here in Chattanooga and this community deserves events like this. Iowa is coming to town, the Southern Scuffle being here and Illinois is coming to town. We are going to work hard to get teams here for our program but we are also going to work hard because we have some of the best fans in the country. I think that's why people like coming here to wrestle. This will probably be one of the top five most attended dual meets in wrestling this year. It will be awesome to say that we hosted one of the biggest dual meets in the country."
On how his team matches up with Iowa: "Iowa is good. They are good at every weight class and they are deep at every weight class. Probably eight of their ten guys are ranked in the top fifteen but that's a ranking. I know our guys are ready. Our goal each and every time we go out is that we compete. If we compete we give ourselves an opportunity to win. I think we'll put ten guys out there that will compete hard and our fans will like what they see. We'll position ourselves to have opportunities to win matches. The highlight match is at 125. You have No. 1 versus No. 9. Matt McDonough is a two-time defending champ and a three-time finalist. We have a true sophomore that has had a great career so far. That's going to be fun. Dean Pavlou at 141 is wrestling really well and Niko Brown at 197 is wrestling well. I've got guys that I like to go to war with too. We did not bring Iowa here to watch them wrestle. We brought them here to wrestle them."
On what it would mean to beat Iowa: "It would be like when the Lady Mocs beat the Lady Vols last Friday night, times ten. It would be unprecedented. It would be unheard of. If you've ever read about David and Goliath, this could be the next one."
"If we were to beat them, unfortunately we aren't going to get any awards. We would get a write up in the paper and just like Friday night when we beat the Lady Vols, it's onto the next thing. We want this to be preparation to get a guy on the podium at the NCAA tournament and to have our first national champ. That's the bottom line and that's the statistic that stays in the record books forever. If the unprecedented happened and we knocked those guys off, two weeks from now everybody is still on the same path to the NCAA tournament. We want this to be education to position ourselves the right way for the NCAA tournament."
SOTO RANKED THIS WEEK Sophomore Nick Soto moved up to No. 7 in the Wrestling Insider Magazine rankings. He is No. 9 in Intermat and No. 13 in the AWN listings. He finished second at the Wolfpack Open. Senior Dean Pavlou dropped out of the top-20, despite also placing second at the Wolfpack Open. At 12-1, senior Niko Brown is just outside of the top-20 at 197 pounds.
BROWN WINS WOLFPACK OPEN & SOCON WRESTLER OF THE WEEK Senior Niko Brown was named the SoCon Wrestler of the Week after winning the 197-pound title at the Wolfpack Open on Nov. 11. It is the second weekly honor of his career. Brown is currently 12-1 on the year.
SOTO WINS HOKIE OPEN & SOCON WRESTLER OF THE WEEK Sophomore Nick Soto was the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Week after going 6-1 in the opening weekend (Nov. 3-4). He won the 125-pound title at the Hokie Open, posting a 10-9 win over No. 6 Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech in the finals on Sunday. His only loss was to No. 9 Matthew Snyder in a dual match with Virginia on Saturday. It is the third weekly honor for Soto in his career.
RECENT RANKED TEAMS TO VISIT MACLELLAN GYM The last time the Mocs hosted a top-25 team, UTC pulled off a 22-15 win over No. 12 Stanford on Nov. 20, 2011. The Mocs biggest home win in recent years was a 19-16 upset of No. 9 Ohio State on Nov. 10, 2007. Below is a list of ranked teams to visit Maclellan Gym for a dual match with the Mocs since the 1996-97 season. No. 2 Oklahoma State - L - 9-39 - Nov. 16, 1996 No. 7 Illinois - L - 7-37 - Jan. 16, 1999 No. 4 Illinois - L - 6-31 - Jan. 18, 2003 No. 4 Iowa State - L - 9-27 - Nov. 29, 2003 No. 15 Wisconsin - L - 12-23 - Dec. 11, 2004 No. 22 Northern Iowa - L - 18-19 - Jan. 28, 2006 No. 9 Ohio State - W - 19-16 - Nov. 10, 2007 No. 8 Missouri - L - 10-24 - Dec. 16, 2007 No. 5 Central Michigan - L - 11-26 - Feb. 17, 2008 No. 10 Oklahoma - L - 14-23 - Jan. 11, 2009 No. 2 Cornell - L - 7-32 - Feb. 1, 2009 No. 19 Missouri - L - 14-24 - Jan. 16, 2010 No. 12 Stanford - W - 22-15 - Nov. 20, 2011
MOCS PICKED TO WIN SOCON TITLE The Mocs were selected as the preseason favorite to win the Southern Conference title by the league's coaches. UTC has won 28 SoCon titles since joining the league in 1978. Head coach Heath Eslinger's squad claimed the tournament crown in 2012, received four of eight first-place votes and 46 points overall, narrowly edging The Citadel. 1. Chattanooga (4) - 46 2. The Citadel (4) - 44 3. Campbell - 35 4. Appalachian State - 33 5. Gardner-Webb - 25 6. VMI - 20 7. SIU- Edwardsville - 14 8. Davidson - 7
FOUR MOCS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SOCON Head coach Heath Eslinger's squad boasts three members on the preseason All-SoCon team. After winning the 2012 title at 133 pounds, sophomore Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) will drop down to 125 and was the preseason selection there. Senior Dean Pavlou (Cleveland, Tenn.), a two-time SoCon champion at 149, is the preseason pick at 141 this year. Senior Niko Brown (Kissimmee, Fla.) earned the selection at 197.
MOCS RANK NO. 13 IN THE NATION IN TEAM G.P.A. The UTC wrestling team recorded the nation's 13th highest grade-point-average for the 2011-12 season according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). The Mocs posted a 3.15 g.p.a. among its starters and top reserves in 2011-12.
MOCS ARE BRINGING TOP TEAMS TO CHATTANOOGA Between home dual matches and the Southern Scuffle, the Mocs will bring six of the top seven teams from the 2012 NCAA Championships to the Scenic City during the 2012-13 season. Highlighted by a Nov. 16 visit from Iowa, the Mocs home schedule features seven events, including the return of the prestigious Southern Scuffle.
The Scuffle (Jan. 1-2) will feature NCAA Champion Penn State, runner-up Minnesota and top-five finishers Cornell and Oklahoma State. No. 7 Illinois visits Maclellan Gym for a dual meet in Jan. 6 and there are five home Southern Conference duals. Season and single-match tickets are on sale now at the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627) or online at GoMocs.com.
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