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Nick Pagnotta helps spur Rocky Point wrestling victory

Rocky Point's Nick Pagnotta controls Islip's Mike Alesi

Rocky Point's Nick Pagnotta controls Islip's Mike Alesi in their 106-pound match on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 at Rocky Point High School. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Rocky Point sideline had been waiting to erupt the entire match.

Nick Pagnotta gave them a reason.

Some of Rocky Point's smallest wrestlers played the biggest role in last night's 40-21 win over visiting Islip in the teams' season-opener in League V. Pagnotta's score-tying 4-2 victory at 106 prompted an outburst from the Eagles' sideline, and Anthony Cirillo's pin in 4:23 at 113 gave them the lead for good.

"It's early in the season to face one of the best teams in the league, the team that we had to beat last year to win the league championship," Rocky Point coach Darren Goldstein said. "Islip has a long tradition, they have stud athletes over there, all chiseled out of stone. We knew it was going to be a tough match."

Islip turned a 12-3 deficit into a nine-point lead by the middle of the match, but Rocky Point fought back and set the stage for Pagnotta's accomplishment.

"I remember thinking back to all the extra work I've done. All the hard practicing, staying after and lifting," Pagnotta said. "I knew with my conditioning, as long as I pushed the pace, I'd be able to come back and make stuff happen."

Pagnotta's win prompted a 19-0 run for the Eagles to seal the match.

"He'll run through that wall for you," Goldstein said of Pagnotta. "Tonight, you saw the culmination of months of hard work and of him believing in himself."

With the score tied at 21, Cirillo seemed frustrated. So after the second period, Goldstein pulled him to the side for a talk.

"He was trying to wrestle too hard," Goldstein said. "Sometimes you come against a kid who is very flexible and you're not going to be able to do your normal moves on him. It's going to come. That's what I said to him: 'Anthony, relax. It's going to come. Don't make a mistake, and you'll end up on top, and he'll end up on his back.' And that's exactly what happened."

Tommy Dutton took the mat for the first time in his senior season, winning with a pin in 1:27 at 160.

"I felt good. It was good to get the first match over with and get going with the season," Dutton said. "I'm taking it match by match. That's the only focus I have."

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