Northwestern Triumphant Against Wisconsin in Home Finale, 25-13
Feb. 11, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: No. 16 Northwestern 25, No. 12 Wisconsin 13
Records: NU (17-2, 5-2 Big Ten), Wisconsin (9-5-1, 0-4-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Feb. 19 at Ohio State ? Columbus, Ohio ? 2 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With seniors Brandon Precin (125), Andrew Nadhir (149) and Aaron Jones (184) all winning in their final home dual match, No. 16 Northwestern claimed victories in six of 10 bouts to continue its strong Big Ten dual season and defeat No. 12 Wisconsin, 25-13, Friday in Evanston.
The surging Wildcats -- who finished with an 8-1 home record in 2010-11 -- are 17-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten entering its final dual match of the year, a road test at Ohio State on Feb 19. NU will then return to Welsh-Ryan Arena to host the 2011 Big Ten Championships March 5-6.
"I like the progress that we're making, we're continuing to build with the goal of peaking at the Big Ten Championships and NCAAs," said head coach Drew Pariano. "Even though we'll be wrestling at home again in March this was an important night for a lot of our seniors and we wanted to take care of business. For (Andrew) Nadhir to come back and beat a Big Ten opponent after losing to him earlier in the year, for the second time this season no less, says a lot about his determination and ability to improve. The leadership that he, (Brandon) Precin and Bobby Joyce have provided as captains this year is the reason we are where we are right now."
Nadhir came away with an impressive 8-4 decision over eighth-ranked Cole Schmitt on his Senior Night, while Precin helped Northwestern rebound from an early 7-0 deficit with a pin in under 90 seconds at 125 pounds.
Friday's match kicked off at 197 pounds where NU junior John Schoen was tasked with facing the nation's No. 2-ranked 197-pounder, Trevor Brandvold. Two first-period takedowns for Brandvold helped him to a 4-2 lead when Schoen was in on a leg nearing a takedown that could have changed the match's momentum, but Brandvold was able to force a stalemate. Brandvold began to roll in the second period, taking an 11-4 lead into the third and ultimately winning by 14-5 major decision.
Taking on 11th-ranked Eric Bugenhagen, heavyweight Ben Kuhar fell behind 5-0 with backpoints by the Badger in the opening minute but was still within striking distance, down 5-2, after two periods. But Bugenhagen scored twice and had riding time to his credit, which left him looking for a major decision late in the match. Kuhar staved off his attempts, eventually falling by 9-3 decision as Wisconsin gained a 7-0 lead in the team score.
Back down at 125, Precin (27-1) scored an immediate two and began working for back points, but chose to cut Tom Kelliher in search of more takedowns. He had his next '2' only seconds later and quickly tilted Kelliher, finishing his last dual match in Welsh-Ryan Arena in style and bringing his team to within a point on the scoreboard.
At 133 pounds, Levi Mele tested himself against All-American and third-ranked Tyler Graff, working hard for his escapes to find himself trailing only 8-5 late in the third. Mele rode Graff well on top in the third period and nearly erased the Badgers' riding time, but Graff broke free with his extra point still secured. Mele continued to battle but couldn't score on offense, falling by 10-5 decision.
Looking to give his team a boost entering the intermission, freshman Kaleb Friedley used a first-period takedown and second-period reversal to gain a 4-0 edge on Danny Arnel. Late in the second, Arnel managed to get a hold of Friedley's leg but Friedley was able to turn it around for a `2' in his favor just as the period horn sounded.
After that, Friedley turned his attention to winning with bonus points, notching two takedowns in less than 15 seconds to take a 10-3 lead with riding time in his favor. That remained the margin through the whistle as the 'Cats evened the score at the intermission.
The marquee matchup of the night came immediately after the break when Nadhir met Schmitt looking to avenge a loss to the Badger at the 2010 Midlands Championships earlier this year. Nadhir got on the board first with a takedown in the first period and made it 3-0 when he escaped to start the second. But Schmitt responded to tie the match at the outset of the third and set up a frantic finish. Nadhir was strong in eluding what seemed like a sure `2' for the Badger and managed to gain control out of the scramble for his two. Nadhir then worked diligently to gain his riding time edge and, following a Schmitt escape, immediately went in for another double-leg to ice the victory.
On the heels of that win, Welch helped Northwestern put some distance between itself and Wisconsin when he picked up his seventh pin and 22nd win overall, finishing off Kalvin York at the 5:39 mark as the Wildcats went ahead, 19-10.
At 165 pounds, NU sophomore Kevin Bialka took on Wisconsin's Shawn Perry -- filling in for an injured two-time NCAA finalist in Wisconsin's Andrew Howe -- and was tied at three entering the second period. But Bialka fought his way to one takedown in the second and another on the edge of the mat in the third, going on to ride Perry for a total of 2:11 to post an 8-3 decision and improve to 10-7 in dual matches this season.
Northwestern sophomore Brian Roddy, Jr. had an opportunity to pick up a win over a ranked opponent when he met No. 12 Ben Jordan at 174, and he looked ready to make the most of his chance with the first takedown of the match. As time wound down in the second, Jordan was credited with a '2' at the buzzer after some discussion among the officials, and the Badger built on that lead with three near-fall points in the third. He went on to win by a score of 9-3 to set the team score at 22-13 for NU.
The match ended on a winning note for the Wildcats at 184 pounds, where Wisconsin sent usual 165-pounder Ben Cox to the mat against NU senior Aaron Jones. Cox put up a solid fight for most of the match, but Jones held firm to a 3-0 lead in the second and never allowed Cox to generate any offense as Jones posted a 6-0 win.
In addition to Precin, Nadhir and Jones, NU also honored Robert Joyce, Keith Sulzer, Frank Battaglia and Robert Holbrook on Senior Night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
One final item of note was the presence on NU's bench of Northwestern's first-team All-Big Ten quarterback Dan Persa, a former wrestler who served as a guest coach on the evening.
Northwestern's Big Ten season comes to a close next week when it travels to face Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 19. The match will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com.
No. 16 Northwestern 25, No. 12 Wisconsin 13
197: #2 Trevor Brandvold (WIS) maj. dec. John Schoen (NU), 14-5 (WIS 4, NU 0)
285: #11 Eric Bugenhagen (WIS) dec. Ben Kuhar (NU), 9-3 (WIS 7, NU 0)
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) FALL Tom Kelliher (WIS), 1:20 (WIS 7, NU 6)
133: #3 Tyler Graff (WIS) dec. #19 Levi Mele (NU), 10-5 (WIS 10, NU 6)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) maj. dec. Danny Arnel (WIS), 11-3 (WIS 10, NU 10)
149: #9 Andrew Nadhir (NU) dec. #8 Cole Schmitt (WIS), 8-4 (NU 13, WIS 10)
157: #10 Jason Welch (NU) FALL Kalvin York (WIS), 5:39 (NU 19, WIS 10)
165: Kevin Bialka (NU) dec. Shawn Perry (WIS), 8-3 (NU 22, WIS 10)
174: #12 Ben Jordan (WIS) dec. Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU), 9-3 (NU 22, WIS 13)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) dec. Ben Cox (WIS), 6-0 (NU 25, WIS 13)
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