#6 Illini Drop to #3 Minnesota, 25-9
Jan. 14, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -No. 6 Illinois got two wins over ranked opponents at 197 and 165, but it wasn't enough as the Minnesota Gophers took the match 25-9 on Friday at Huff Hall in front of a season record crowd of 1,317.
"I think the four matches we dropped tonight, beginning with 125, 141, 149 and 174 were about a close as you could get," head coach Jim Heffernansaid. "After Terrazas dropped his bout at 149, there was definitely a momentum swing for Minnesota. When you are wrestling a good team like the Gophers, you are not going to win a dual meet when you're giving these kind of matches away."
The match could not have started out with a better dual than with Mario Gonzaleztaking on sixth-ranked Sonny Yahn. The sophomore grabbed Yahn's ankles for a late takedown in the first to go up 2-1. After starting down in the second, Yohn almost recorded back points but Gonzalez slipped out and nearly got the reversal before settling for the escape to increase the score to 3-1 heading into the last period. Yohn tried taking down Gonzalez, but never had great control, giving Gonzalez the reversal and the 5-4 win. The victory marked Gonzalez' first win over a top-10 opponent in his career. The Illini took an early 3-0 lead on the Gophers.
"It was a great way to start the match," Heffernan said. "His opponent was a couple-time All-American. He did a great job and found a way to get it done. That's a very good learning experience for Mario. It makes it easier to do it again."
At heavyweight, Tony Nelson and Pat Walkerwere tied 1-1 heading into the second period before the fourth-ranked Nelson got a leg near the edge and scored a takedown on Illinois with 17 seconds left in the match. Nelson rode out Walker for the 3-1 decision and tied the dual, 3-3.
No. 5 Jesse Delgadopushed the pace early against No. 1 Zach Sanders with a takedown and two near-fall points. The freshman locked Sanders in a quick cradle and almost got the Gopher on his back, but the senior was able to slither out and only give up two back points. Delgado scored another takedown and three more near-fall points to go up 9-1 on Sanders, taking a 9-2 lead into the second period. Both wrestlers scored takedowns to push the score to 11-4 into the third with Sanders starting down in third. Sanders was too much for Delgado in the third, scoring 10 points in the last period to escape with the win, 14-13 to put the Gophers up 6-3.
At 133, No. 5 Futrell did his best to get the Illini back into the match with his 9-6 decision over Chris Dardanes. Futrell recorded three takedowns, two escapes and riding time to seal the victory. The win marked the sixth straight for the Park Forest, Ill., native and helped tied the team score to 6-6.
Daryl Thomascompeted hard against Nick Dardanes, but fell a bit short as the Gopher earned the 7-6 decision over Thomas to push the Minnesota lead to 9-6 with five bouts remaining in the match.
No. 10 Eric Terrazasneeded extra time in his bout against No. 14 Dylan Ness, however came up short and the senior was pinned eight seconds into overtime. With a 2-1 lead by Terrazas with 15 seconds left in the match, Ness added the riding time point to even the match at 2-2 at the end of regulation. Terrazas tried a quick sweep of the legs but was turned and pinned to put the Gophers back on top 15-6.
"To me it looked like our guys were tired," Heffernan said. "Minnesota beat us on toughness. We ultimately need to get tougher."
At 157, Jackson Morse dropped his bout against Alec Ortiz in a 8-4 decision to push the Gophers lead to 18-6. However Conrad Polzput the Illini back on the scoreboard against No. 6 Cody Yohn. Polz led 1-0 headed in the second period and chose down to start the third. Polz broke Yohn's grip and went up 3-1 with a little over a minute left. After Yohn scored an escape, it wasn't enough to let Polz move past the junior with a 4-2 decision. This match marked the second ranked opponent Polz has beaten thus far this season. The Illini cut the lead in half, trailing 19-8.
Dan Stelter (174) and Tony Dallago(184) both dropped their bouts with Stelter losing a 2-1 decision and Dallago giving up a 12-4 major decision. The Gophers took the match with a final score of 25-9 to improve to 3-0 in conference as the Illini fell to 10-2 on the season and 2-2 in conference play.
The Illini will return to action on Sunday (Jan. 22), hosting Michigan State for a 2 p.m. CT dual at Huff Hall.
#3 Minnesota 25, #6 Illinois 9