#10 Illinois Drops Dual to #16 Michigan
Jan. 17, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The tenth-ranked Fighting Illini wrestling team came up short against #16 Michigan on Friday night. The Illini got wins from Tony Dallago (174), #1 Jesse Delgado (125), #11 Zane Richards (133) and #16 Zac Brunson (157), but it wasn't enough as the Illini fell to the Wolverines 13-19.
"I'm really disappointed that we didn't find a way to win," said head coach Jim Heffernan. "Knowing that we were shorthanded once again, we challenged some of our guys to rise to the occasion, but we didn't get as much extra effort as we needed."
The dual started at 174 pounds, where Dallago squared off against redshirt-junior Collin Zeerip. Dallago scored early, getting a takedown in the first 30 seconds, then turned Zeerip on his back to score two near-fall points. Dallago started the second period in the bottom position and recorded an early escape, followed by a takedown to take a 7-0 lead going into the final period. The redshirt-senior notched two more takedowns in the third, and with a point added for riding time, came away with the 12-1 major decision to give the Illini an early 4-0 lead.
#18 Nikko Reyes and Domenic Abounader took the mat next at 184 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Reyes started the second on top and gave up on escape to Abounader, followed by a takedown to make the score 3-0 going into the final period. Reyes started the third period in the bottom position and recorded an escape within the first 20 seconds, but Abounader held on to win the 3-1 decision.
At 197, Jeff Koepke took on Chris Heald. Heald scored the first points of the matchup in the second period with an escape, then followed that up with a takedown less than a minute later. Koepke managed to escape with seven seconds left in the second period to make the score 3-1 going into the third. Koepke started in the bottom position and recorded an early escape, but Heald recorded two more takedowns to claim the 7-4 victory and give Michigan a 6-4 lead.
In the heavyweight bout, Christopher Lopez faced #3 Adam Coon, a true freshman with a 21-0 record. Lopez scored first, taking down Coon in the first minute of the matchup, but Coon responded with an escape, a takedown, and a three-point near-fall to take a 6-2 lead going into the second period. Starting in the down position, Lopez nearly managed an escape, but Coon held his ground and acquired two minutes of riding time. Coon recorded an escape and two takedowns in the final period to win the 12-3 major decision and give the Wolverines a 10-4 lead.
#1 Jesse Delgado squared off against Conor Youtsey next, earning one point early in the first due to a penalty on the Wolverine. Delgado started the second period on top, but Youtsey managed to escape early to tie the score at 1-1 going into the final period. After starting in the bottom position, Delgado escaped in the first five seconds and held on to win the 2-1 decision. After the bout, one point was deducted from the Michigan team score due to unsportsmanlike conduct, making the overall score 9-7 in favor of the Wolverines.
#11 Zane Richards gave the Illini the lead once again after winning a 7-1 decision over Rossi Bruno. After a scoreless first period, Richards controlled the second and recorded an escape, a takedown, and a three-point near-fall to take a 6-0 lead. Bruno managed an escape in the final period, but Richards came away with the victory to give Illinois a 10-9 lead.
Dominic Olivieri started at 141 pounds for the second straight dual, this time facing Michigan's Steve Dutton. Dutton took an early lead, notching a takedown and two-point near-fall to go up 4-0. In the second period, Sutton recorded an escape, a takedown, and two near-falls to win the major decision and put the Wolverines on top once again.
At 149 pounds, #15 Caleb Ervin squared off against #12 Eric Grajales. The first period was a back-and-forth battle, with Ervin notching a takedown to score the first points. Ervin acquired two minutes of riding time before Grajales turned him for a two-point reversal, but Ervin responded with a reversal of his own to take a 4-2 lead after one period. Ervin started the second period in the bottom position, with Grajales turning him on his back to score two near-fall points to tie the bout at 4-4. In the third period, Grajales recorded an escape and a takedown to claim the victory and give Michigan a 16-10 lead.
#16 Zac Brunson took the mat next, facing #13 Brian Murphy. After a scoreless first period, Brunson started the second period on top, and managed to hold his position to acquire two minutes of riding time. Brunson started the final period in the down position and scored the first points with an early escape. He then successfully fended off Murphy for the rest of the period to score the upset and pull the Illini within three points.
In the final matchup of the night, #11 Jackson Morse took on #8 Dan Yates at 165 pounds. Yates scored first with a takedown, but Morse responded with a reversal to tie it up. Yates managed an escape and another takedown to take a 7-3 lead going into the final period. Starting on top, Morse tried to get Yates on his back, but Yates held on to win the 7-3 decision give the Wolverines the 19-13 victory.
"Zac Brunson did a great job of finding a way to win in a tough match," said Heffernan. "Jackson Morse had the opportunity to turn the match around at the end of the second period, but let the opportunity slip away. The same thing happened with Caleb Ervin. He put himself in a good position with a lead but made some mental errors that took him out of the match. We are making progress physically and, in some spots, mentally, but we need to continue to progress."
The Illini are on the road next weekend, squaring off against top-ranked Penn State on Friday, Jan. 24 and Michigan State on Sunday, Jan. 26.
#10 Illinois 13, #16 Michigan 19
*Michigan was deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct.