DEKALB – The Northern Illinois wrestling team dropped a tough 25-9 decision Saturday against Michigan State in the annual Showcase Meet.
The loss puts NIU’s record at 5-2, while the Spartans improved to 2-2 in a match that was much closer than the final score indicated.
“The way dual meet scores settle out, if you lose 10 close matches, you get swept,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “In some cases, we let go a couple matches that were very close, hard-fought battles that I think on any given day could have gone either way. We’ve been concentrating a lot about the details in practice and those are the things that we have to get straightened out.”
“Just some very crucial positions that win big wrestling matches. Today, in some cases, we got the job done in those positions. When we didn’t get our hand raised, we lost some very tiny battles that mattered.”
In the opener at 149, Rob Jillard lost 7-5 to Dan Osterman. After getting the first takedown of the match, Jillard gave up and escape and a takedown to end the first period. Following a reversal to start the second, the Huskie junior forged a comeback attempt in the final half of the match, but came up just short.
The Spartans added to their lead with a pair of decisions at 157 and 165. Andrew Morse fell the MSU senior David Cheza, 5-0, while Dan Burk lost to Nick Proctor in a tight 3-1 decision.
Matt Mougin looked to stem the tide and turn the momentum in NIU's favor at 174, defeating Jordan Wohlfert, 5-3. After getting out to a fast 4-1 lead, Mougin was called for a stalling penalty twice to get Wohlfert within one point. However, a riding time advantage and a good defensive stand helped the redshirt junior from Columbus Junction, Iowa, emerge victorious.
With the deficit at six, though, NIU failed to get any closer, as Michigan State clinched the match with four-straight wins. Bryan Loughlin lost a 3-2 nailbiter to John Rizqallah right before halftime to give the Spartans a 12-3 lead at the break.
After the intermission, MSU got bonus points when Shawn Scott lost a 12-3 major decision against Luke Jones. However, the clincher was at heavyweight, when Jared Torrence was pinned early in the second period by 10th-ranked Mike McClure.
At 125, Derek Elmore lost a tight 1-0 contest to Brenan Lyon. After that, though, NIU finished strong with two consecutive wins. In his return following a shoulder injury, Nick Smith handled Brandon Fifield, 8-2, at 133. Tyler Argue ended the day with a 12-8 win against Christian Olanowski at 141
“I think we really need to get in touch with our offense right away,” Ludwig said. “When we come out firing and we get our hands on people and wrestle on our toes, we’re a different team. When we let people come and take the match to us, it’s hard to get your hand raised.”
The Huskies open Mid-American Conference action Tuesday, Dec. 18, when they head to northeast Ohio to take on 2011-12 MAC regular season champion Kent State. The match between the Huskies and Golden Flashes starts at 1 p.m. CT.