Pascack Valley is hot right now.
The Indians have won four matches in a row and are 6-3 on the season entering Wednesday’s dual against Tenafly.
As a result, they sit currently in seventh place in North 1, Group 3 with 24.00 power points. After a rule change, the top eight teams in each section qualify this year. In the past, the top six teams qualified.
Exactly a week ago from this past Tuesday, PV was eighth, behind Ramapo. Morris Hills was ninth behind PV.
Now, the Indians are 0.9 points behind Morris Hills, and 0.67 points ahead of No. 8 ranked Ramapo, which means if the season were to end today, the Indians would qualify for the team postseason tournament for the first time in 11 seasons. PV travels to face Ramapo in a pivotal dual match this Friday night.
The power points are updated every week, and PV looks to build upon its recent burst of success.
Check back here weekly for an update on where PV sits in the rankings.
The wait is finally over.
The two Don Bosco transfers are finally getting their first shot on the wrestling mat Wednesday against Tenafly. The match is home at 7 p.m.
The two wrestlers, sophomore Tommy Chiellini and senior Rob Arloro, were forced to sit out the mandatory 30 days per NJSIAA rules as a result of their transfer.
However, they have been practicing with the team (6-3) this whole time, and despite missing the first nine dual meets, they’ve remained dedicated and focused. PV coach Tom Gallione said he expects Chiellini will compete at 138 and Arloro at 145.
"I'm excited. I give these guys a lot of credit. It's hard to to practice for a month and a half. In the [nine] dual meets and the two tournament meets that we've had that they haven't been stepping on that mat, that hasn't changed how hard they practice,” Gallione said, praising their work ethic.
Chiellini and Arloro echoed a similar sentiment.
"It feels great. It feels like I've been working hard all season, been waiting for this for a long time, and the time has finally come and I'm ready to go out there and perform," Chiellini shared.
"It’s definitely exciting,” Arloro added. “But we’re just thinking about the team and how myself and Tommy can help the team do better this season to finish off the season the right way.”
Bosco had a coaching change in the middle of the year, when former head coach Chris Bitetto suddenly resigned. Chiellini said that this affected his decision to move over to PV.
"The decision just felt right. We had a coaching change at Bosco and I wasn't loving it over there. I decided that I was ready to come back home," Chiellini said.
Chiellini is a River Vale native and went to Holdrum Middle School before spending his freshman year at Don Bosco. Chiellini compiled a 21-14 record last season while Arloro compiled a 12-10 record.
Chiellini and Arloro both made it to the Region 2 tournament last year, a tournament that only two PV wrestlers, sophomore Matt Beyer and junior Nolan Shields, made last year.
Arloro, who declined to comment on his reason for his transfer to PV, made it to the preliminary round of the regions in the 138 weight class. Chiellini made it to the quarterfinals in the 120 weight class, defeating Shields in the preliminaries.
"They bring a huge amount of Varsity experience to the lineup. Tommy had experience in the regional tournament last year, Rob did too. Rob's a senior, he's got three years of Varsity experience over at Don Bosco. It'll be huge and it'll ultimately boost up our team points whenever we go up against a higher level team," junior 182-pounder Casey Lewis said .
Gallione believes that Chiellini and Arloro will be slotted in the weight classes of 138, 145, or 152. At those weight classes, PV already has solidified starters in Beyer (138), sophomore Stephen Soravilla (145), and junior Jake Prusha (152).
"They just add more depth to our team," Gallione said. "You're always going to have a few injuries, but having those two in the middle of the lineup just adds depth."
While on the surface it could look more like a logjam, the Indians also now have more flexibility in the middle of the lineup and could strategically move some wrestlers around to gain more favorable matchups.
"[I’ll] probably be at 145 and maybe for some matches at 152, depending on the matchups we want to take advantage of,” Arloro said.
Junior Robbie Natelli went so far as to say that the addition of Chiellini and Arloro would propel PV to its first playoff berth in 11 seasons (see this week’s power point standings broken down from the PV perspective in the most recent post at “PV Mats,” our Smoke Signal wrestling blog).
"I think we're going to be a top fifteen team in North Jersey. I think when they come back we're going to make the state sectional tournament," said Junior Robbie Natelli.
Pascack Valley best Pascack Hills on the mat in a rivalry matchup for the second straight year.
PV got off to a slow start, losing three out of its first four matches. Freshman Alex Menendez got the nod to his first varsity match, and he claimed a major decision for Valley to put them up 4-0 early.
The three matches were at the hands of sophomores Ari Quinn, Mitchell Sorretta, and Matt Kalil. All three were pinned, which put PV down 18-4.
But the deficit wouldn't last long. The Indians would go on to get three straight pins from Bradley Zirlin, Jake Averna, and Robbie Natelli in that order. This put them up 22-18 over Hills.
Hills's best known wrestler, Joe Keller, pinned freshman James Allmers, who held his ground until late in the third period, in 5:46 to give Hills an additional six points.
The fact that Allmers couldn't save two points for the team ended up being a meaningless afterthought. All hope that Hills had after Keller's pin was lost. Nolan Shields won a tight match, being able to grab an escape for the only point of his total six minutes on the mat. The point came in the third quarter, and Shields's opponent, Tyler Deppert, didn't have enough time to muster any points to come back. Shields earned the three-point decision giving the Indians' team the lead 25-24.
From there, it was the Pascack Valley show. Matt Beyer pinned and another pin by Stephen Soravilla followed. Jake Prusha claimed his first technical fall of the season, the third technical fall the Indians have had in a team match this season (the first two came from Beyer). Valley closed out the night after a pin by Will Morris and a decision by Jack Tsokanos.
Soravilla and Tsokanos shared some thoughts on the 51-24 win and the meaning of defeating their rival.
"Hills is always an important match. They're our rivals, you know? It's Indians versus Cowboys. It's always a big match, it's very important to us," Soravilla said.
"It's an emotional win. It's a big time win for the team and we're definitely very happy. This is a match that we were hyped up for in advance, so to pick up the win was a big deal," Tsokanos answered.
This also marks the second year in a row that Valley came out victorious over the Cowboys, after the Indians won 33-27 last season.
The Indians' next match comes on January 14th in a four-team match that includes Secaucus, Becton, and Teaneck. The match will take place at Secaucus High School.
If you have been wondering why Junior Casey Lewis has been held out of the usual lineup lately, your answer is likely right here.
To all who have not realized who exactly has been wrestling for the Indians, Lewis has been a scratch from his matches for the past week. It turns out that there was some news to be shared, and Casey himself shared some information on what has been the cause of his lack of presence on the mat.
"Right now I'm dealing with a couple of health issues and we're on the side of caution. That is what's keeping me out for a little bit. I'm expected to be back in the lineup Saturday, if not Saturday then definitely for next week."
Classmate Robbie Natelli was also able to give some insight on the matter.
"Yeah, Casey has an undisclosed injury right now and he'll be back in the lineup either Saturday or next Wednesday," Natelli stated.
Lewis's normal spots at the 182 and 195 weight classes have been filled in by sophomores Ari Quinn, Jack Tsokanos, and Zach Olsen. Between the three of them, only Tsokanos has claimed a win in any of their matches.
They may have had school off, but the Indian wrestlers did not take any days off the mat on January 6th and 7th.
Unfortunately, the wrestling days did not go as planned. First, the Indians lost to River Dell High School by a score of 41-23. Our points came from decisions from Robbie Natelli and sophomore Jack Tskanos, two pins from Will Morris and George Dvoynos, and a technical fall from Matt Beyer. This marked Tskanos's first win of the season.
Their next match was at Butler High School on the 7th of January. Down in Morris County, we managed decisions from Natelli and Morris, a major decision from Nolan Shields, a pin from Dvoynos, and a technical fall from Jake Prusha. This totaled to 21 points. But to Butler's 46, it was no good as PV dropped their second match in as many days.
As Coach Gallione along with standout wrestlers Shields and Beyer have mentioned in the recent past, these Indian wrestlers are definitely getting better but they have a lot to work on as well. These wreslters will only get more experience as they see more matches, and we can only hope that means that the Indians are traveling in a positive direction.
The Indians claimed their first victory of the week and their second of the season Wednesday night at Bergenfield. The 52-24 record puts PV's overall record at 2-1.
Their lone decision came from Sophomore Jake Averna. Averna came back from a two point deficit after the first period to capture a reversal and a near fall for three points in the second period. He also managed a takedown in the third period. The score of Averna's match ended at 7-3.
Stephen Soravilla shut out his opponent with 6-0 score, therefore getting a major decision. The next major decision was the match directly after Soravilla's. Junior Jake Prusha defeated Carlos Haynes. Haynes finished in 8th in the BCCA tournament last week.
Pascack Valley's wrestlers had a plethora of pins. Those who added six points to PV's overall score were Robbie Natelli, James Allmers, Nolan Shields, Matt Beyer, Will Morris, and Geroge Dvoynos.
Allmers, a freshman, had himself his first victory as a wrestler at Valley. He moved down to the 126 pound weight class from 132 pounds, so perhaps this gave Allmers a better shot. A pin for your first win? Not bad.
The Indians travel to River Dell Regional High School on Friday, January 6.
The Indians kick off their week against Bergenfield after going 1-1 in their first two matches. This week follows up a successful Counties Tournament where three PV wrestlers placed among the entire county in their respective weight classes. To read more than that, check out the last post from PV mats. Or, just click the link right here: pv-enjoys-success-in-county-tournament.html
Soravilla (top) looks to rebound from his hard-fought loss against Emerson Boro's Connor Hughes. It also appears that at this very moment he is all in. Soravilla looks focused, unfazed, and most of all, ready. His nice outfit also just gives off the message that he is in no mood to mess around.
Look out Bergenfield, you may not know what hit you.
Day 2 of the Bergen County Coaches Association wrestling tournament is where champions are made.
While Pascack Valley didn't have any champions, the Indians weren't far off.
Three PV wrestlers, Matt Beyer (132), Robbie Natelli (120), and Casey Lewis (182), all advanced to the second day of the county tournament, which meant all were guaranteed a top eight medal in their respective weight classes. Beyer and Lewis placed third, while Natelli finished sixth.
The same three wrestlers were PV's placewinners in the tournament a year ago, too, and all three improved upon their finishes, as Beyer took fifth at the same weight class a year ago, Lewis took fifth at 170, and Natelli took eighth at 113.
Beyer, a sophomore, was the one of the three PV wrestlers who was alive in the winners bracket at the beginning of the day before settling for third in the 132-pound bracket. He went 2-1 on the day, including a tough semifinal bout which he lost 5-4 in overtime rideouts against senior Jordan Robinson of Garfield, the top seed and eventual champion.
Robinson, a runner-up in this tourney last year at 120 who finished one win shy of placing in last year's state tournament, appeared to be tiring late, but Beyer couldn't take advantage. Robinson's opponent in the final, Phil Ruiz of Becton, had to forfeit the match due to injury.
"Matty wrestled a great match. A few things that we were hoping would go our way toward the end didn't," coach Tom Gallione said. "There's a lot to build off of for later in on the year. I'm sure they'll see each other again."
Beyer was then able to rebound and win his next two bouts by scores of 9-1 and 7-2, respectively. It was his victory in the final bout that won Beyer third place, topping Daniel Nelson of Mahwah.
Casey Lewis took fourth place in the 182-pound bracket and also went 2-1 on the day. He beat Garfield's Anthony LaDuca 1-0 to get to the third place bout.
Lewis, a junior, also beat Don Bosco's Luke Chakonis by a score of 5-0.
In the third place bout, Lewis went up against Emerson/Park Ridge's Zach Lewis, whom he lost to 9-5 in a dual meet last week. Again, it was Zach Lewis that emerged victorious, though Casey Lewis put up a good fight and narrowed the margin from a week ago.
Natelii, a junior, took home sixth place after a tough 4-3 loss to Gianni Manginelli of Dumont.
A 7-0 loss to Trent Furman of Westwood sent Natelli into the fifth-place bout.
"It's been a good tournament overall. As far as today's standpoint, they wrestled tough," Gallione said. 'There were a few tough losses in the semis, but overall a lot of good stuff."
There was a legend in Pascack Valley's gym on Thursday night.
Stan Woods, New Jersey's all-time winningest wrestling coach, and his Emerson/Park Ridge team travelled to Hillsdale to take on the Indians.
Emerson came out on top 58-10. The team victories came from decisions from Robbie Natelli (9-4) and Junior Nolan Shields (6-3) while Matt Beyer claimed the team's lone major decision (14-1).
Towards the end of the match, Beyer really tried to get a takedown on Emerson's Ian Maltzan, but Maltzan stood strong long enough that Beyer just couldn't edge him for a 15 point lead. The 15 point lead would have resulted in Beyer's second technical fall victory in as many nights.
The toughest task was likely the select two that had to face Logan and Luke Mazzeo on the Emerson Cavaliers. Logan Mazzeo pinned Sophomore Jake Averna (1.24) and Luke Mazzeo pinned James Allmers (0.24).
It was most likely a tough pill for these PV wrestlers to swallow losing this badly, but the team had some words on the night that could have passed a more positive message:
"Well, I feel like we all went out there and tried our hardest, but it's a tough team," Beyer said. "And they have been tough for the past bunch of years. So it was a tough match going into it. We all just wrestled looking for the best but we came up short."
Nolan Shields, who also emerged victorious, had a positive outlook.
"We fought hard. We definitely have a couple things to work on," Nolan Shields started. "They're a tough team and everything. We are definitely getting better."
When asked to compare their performance of their first two matches, coach Tom Gallione expressed that Emerson was tougher and more prepared then Pequannock. Beyer mentioned that the energy levels were different.
"Well for one thing, the team's a lot tougher," Gallione said. "Emerson is returning Group Overall State Champs with four or five kids returning from that lineup. Tougher team, more well-balanced. We made a few mistakes but they are things that we can learn from moving forward."
"Last night there was a lot more energy because everybody's getting on a roll and a lot of guys were winning. And tonight we didn't have that as much. I think it's one of those things we have to work on," Beyer added.
After the first two matches, the Indians obviously have the whole rest of the season to play. Matt and Gallione were asked of what they can take from these first two matches to the rest of the season.
"I think we got to wrestle with using a little bit of the way we wrestled both nights. Tonight we wrestled hard, we fought against the guys even though they were much tougher, " Matt explained with confidence.
"That's why they scheduled these two tough matches early," Gallione started his explanation with. "I want to challenge these guys on this team; the juniors, the guys returning. We're going to take a lot from them. They battled no matter what the score was last night. And there's a lot of fine tuning things we have to take and move forward. Now we wrestle these guys again in the counties, maybe in the regions. Now we know some of the tendencies, some of the stuff they want to do as we work forward in the season."
The Indians opened their season with one tally mark on the win column.
After having four wrestlers (Robbie Natelli, Matt Beyer, Will Morris, and Casey Lewis) take home first place in their respective weight classes in the Lakeland Tournament, PV carried that same sucess to its first dual match against Pequannock.
PV beat the Panthers 44-25 Wednesday night with major decisions from sophomores Bradley Zirlin (15-4), Jake Averna (9-1), and junior Robbie Natelli (11-2). Sophomore Stephen Soravilla came back from a deficit and captured a decision (9-6). PV was also able to gets its share of pins, as the six-point contributers were Juniors Jake Prusha (0.21), George Dvoynos (3:21), and Casey Lewis (5:32). Will Morris was the lone member at the 160 weight class, and therefore was awarded a fofeit. Sophomore standout Matt Beyer won his match 16-0, and therefore was awarded with a Technical Fall.