Dec. 15, 2010

Site: Bloomington, Ind. (University Gymnasium)
Score: #9 Northwestern 28, Indiana 9
Records: NU (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten), Indiana (6-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Dec. 19 vs. Northern Illinois/at SIU-Edwardsville -- Edwardsville, Ill. -- Noon/2 p.m.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Northwestern's Big Ten dual season got off to a promising start Wednesday evening as the ninth-ranked Wildcats dispatched of host Indiana, 28-9, at University Gymnasium in Bloomington. NU (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten) handed the Hoosiers their first loss thanks in part to key wins against highly ranked opponents by No. 7 Andrew Nadhir (149) and No. 5 Jason Welch (157).

Those swing-match victories, coupled with pins by No. 2 Brandon Precin (125) and Aaron Jones (184) as well as a major decision by No. 16 Levi Mele (133) and a one-point decision win by 20th-ranked Kaleb Friedley (141), allowed Drew Pariano to win his first league dual match as NU head coach.

"We have high standards for our team this season so we came to Indiana with the expectation of performing well tonight," Pariano said. "We did well to not give away some close matches early but we need to put those away sooner and not let it come down to that. I thought Nadhir and Welch wrestled smart matches against quality opponents, Aaron Jones showed he is gaining more and more confidence and wrestling well, and I'm proud of how (John) Schoen battled today. I'm definitely pleased with our performance but this is only the beginning of the Big Ten season."



Precin opened the action at 125 pounds against Justin Brooks with a quick takedown and three sets of near-fall points to take a 9-0 lead at the end of the first period. Still dominating the match in the third, Precin rolled Brooks to secure at least a tech fall but worked for over a minute to earn his fourth fall of the year and the full six points for NU. Sixteenth-ranked Levi Mele got the nod at 133 pounds for Northwestern, where he jumped to a 5-2 advantage with two takedowns in the first period. Mele carried a four-point lead into the third and, after collecting three near-fall points, was able to expand his decision to a 10-2 major thanks to 1:03 of riding time. Mele improved to 8-1 on the year with the win.

In his first Big Ten dual match and first career match as a ranked wrestler, Kaleb Friedley surrendered an early takedown to Mitchell Ritchey but came back with a reversal in the opening period. He scored again on a reversal late in the second and a key takedown in the third to take a 6-2 lead, but Ritchey scored on a reversal with 10 seconds to go. It was too little too late for the Hoosier, however, as Friedley held on for the 6-5 win.

That brought about a matchup of two top-11 wrestlers in Nadhir and IU's three-time national qualifier Kurt Kinser, with Nadhir getting on the board first with an escape in the second period. The one-point lead stood through the start of the third when Kinser answered with an escape, but Nadhir's relentless aggressiveness paid off in the final 15 seconds when he was finally able to finish a shot, win the match 3-1 and remain unbeaten at 12-0 on the year.

It was a third straight edge-of-your seat match at 157 where Welch met two-time NCAA qualifier Paul Young, who looked as if he'd take an early lead with control of Welch's left leg for nearly a full minute before Welch was able to slip free and avoid the takedown. The action intensified in the second when Young scored an escape on the edge of the mat only to be quickly taken down by Welch, who wisely kept his feet in the circle in the process. One more escape was all the scoring Welch would need to earn a 4-1 victory -- his 10th of the year -- and give NU a 19-0 cushion in the team score.

The home team picked up its first victory at 165, where NU's Kevin Bialka fell behind Ryan LeBlanc by a 7-2 score. Bialka notched a takedown in the third to pull within 7-5, but couldn't come up with another '2' after cutting LeBlanc, who held on for the 8-5 win.

Looking to counter the Indiana victory, Brian Roddy, Jr. scored a quick takedown against Nick Avery in the first and nearly had a second in the waning moments of the period but was unable to finish before the horn sounded. He made up for it by riding out the entire second period, collecting near-fall points along the way and going on to win, 6-1, while also moving to 6-1 in the won-loss column this year.

Senior Aaron Jones kept NU in cruise control at 184 against Eric Cameron, using his strength to build a 3-0 lead despite dealing with a cut lip in the second period. He began the third period on top and soon managed to get perpendicular to Cameron, getting Cameron's shoulders to the mat for the pin at the 6:03 mark to put away the match for the Wildcats.

Taking on a ranked competitor in No. 14 Matt Powless, John Schoen wrestled as the aggressor at 197 pounds by executing quickly on a double leg and later getting Powless to his back to take a 5-0 lead. Powless came alive in the second and closed the frame with a takedown to tie the score at six. A free escape to begin the third gave Schoen a 7-6 lead -- with riding time in his favor - but the Hoosier finally got the takedown with 17 seconds remaining to send the bout to sudden victory. Half a minute went by in the extra session before Powless finished a shot to win, 10-8, and deny Schoen the chance at the upset.

The dual match ended with one final tight bout, with Indiana's Ricky Alcala getting around for a takedown of NU's Ben Kuhar with only three seconds remaining to break a 6-6 tie and win, 8-6.

After returning from Bloomington, the Wildcats prepare for another road trip Sunday, one that will bring them to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville where the 'Cats will dual with the host Cougars as well as Northern Illinois.

#9 Northwestern 28, Indiana 9
125: #2 Brandon Precin (NU) FALL Justin Brooks (IU), 6:30 (NU 6, IU 0)
133: #16 Levi Mele (NU) maj. dec. Matt Ortega (IU), 10-2 (NU 10, IU 0)
141: #20 Kaleb Friedley (NU) dec. Mitchell Ritchey (IU), 6-5 (NU 13, IU 0)
149: #7 Andrew Nadhir (NU) dec. #11 Kurt Kinser (IU), 3-1 (NU 16, IU 0)
157: #5 Jason Welch (NU) dec. #9 Paul Young (IU), 4-1 (NU 19, IU 0)
165: Ryan LeBlanc (IU) dec. Kevin Bialka (NU), 8-5 (NU 19, IU 3)
174: Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU) dec. Nick Avery (IU), 6-1 (NU 22, IU 3)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) FALL Eric Cameron (IU), 6:03 (NU 28, IU 3)
197: #14 Matt Powless (IU) dec. John Schoen (NU), 10-8 (SV1) (NU 28, IU 6)
285: Ricky Alcala (IU) dec. Ben Kuhar (NU), 8-6 (NU 28, IU 9)

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