#5 Illini Fall Short at #4 Minnesota, 18-14

Senior Daryl Thomas notched a big upset over No. 6 Chris Dardanes of Minnesota on Monday night.
Senior Daryl Thomas notched a big upset over No. 6 Chris Dardanes of Minnesota on Monday night.

Jan. 21, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- No. 5 Illinois won four of the first six bouts against No. 4 Minnesota but the Gophers surged late as they took a 18-14 win at the Sports Pavilion on Monday night. The Illini got wins from No. 4 Jesse Delgado (125) and No. 7 Conrad Polz (165) with two huge upsets coming from No. 11 Daryl Thomas (133) and Caleb Ervin (149). Illinois falls to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten.

"This was really a tough loss to take because we had some chances," head coach Jim Heffernan said. "Daryl and Caleb had huge wins and all our guys wrestled with a lot of fire. We will keep getting better and get back to work for Indiana."

The match started at 125 pounds where Delgado faced David Thorn. Delgado started with a few shots onto Thorn's legs which turned into a takedown. Delgado gave Thorn a tough ride to end the first period up 2-0. The Illini grappler started the second period down, and escaped with 13 seconds to go, up 3-0. Two more points for Delgado came midway through the second to push the score to 5-0 over the Gopher. Thorn got one point escape at the buzzer to inch the score to 5-1. Delgado let Thorn escape to make the score 5-2, but with the riding time, Delgado got the win 6-3.

Thomas wrestled No. 6 Chris Dardanes on Monday night and received the initial points on the board, getting an early takedown, 2-0. Dardanes escaped to make the score, 2-1. Both had heavy hands but a technical violation was called on Thomas, illegally putting hand on face. Thomas got another takedown, his second of the period, 4-2. Dardanes escaped 4-3 at the end of the first. Thomas started on top to begin the second and Dardanes escaped to tie the match 4-4. Thomas got a two point takedown and gets three back points for a five-point move to go up 9-4 over the Gopher. Escape was scored by Dardanes at end of second to inch closer, 9-5. Dardanes scores two and Thomas escapes to bring the crowd into the match 11-7. Thomas gets a reshot to hold the lead 13-7. One more takedown plus riding time gave the Illini grappler the huge upset over Dardanes, who finished fourth last year at NCAA's, winning by a 17-8 major decision to put the team up 7-0.

"Being a senior I felt like I had a lot of responsibility," Thomas said. "I wanted to come out here, push the pace and wrestle how we train. I still have a lot of work to do to where I want to be, but this was big for me."

At 141, Logan Arlis dropped his bout to No. 10 Nick Dardanes by a 10-3 decision to give the Gophers their first team points. Next, Caleb Ervin faced 2012 NCAA runner-up Dylan Ness at 141. Ervin scored the early takedown to go up 2-0. The redshirt-freshman got Ness on his back for three nearfall points to push the score to 5-0. Ervin chose down to start the second and scrambled with the Gopher, then turned him for two back points to go up 7-0 to end the second period. In the third, the Illini grappler started down. With 40 seconds left in the match, Ness escaped by Ervin notched the 11-3 victory over Ness to put the Illini up 11-3.

Matt Nora took on Danny Zilverberg at 157 pounds. Zilverberg got the two point takedown early in the first and was tough on top to ride out the first 2-0. Nora started down for second and was ridden hard by the Gopher, who recorded over three minutes of riding time. A two point reversal for Zilverberg plus an escape from Nora pushed the score to 4-1. Zilverberg recorded another takedown to increase the score to 6-1 before Nora gets another escape, 6-2. With the riding time point, Zilverberg moves past Nora 7-3.

At 165, Polz got on the offense very quickly against Cody Yahn, scoring the two point takedown 10 seconds into the match. Yohn responded with an escape to make the score 2-1. Yahn then put Polz into a single leg but Polz defended it well. The Illini grappler scored his second takedown, but Yohn escapes to make the score 4-2 at the end of the second. Yohn started down and escaped quickly to inch the score to 4-3 to end the period. Polz began down to start third and fought to get the escape point to go up two on the Gopher, 5-3. Polz then got Yahn's leg for the takedown, but Yohn escapes yet again. The Illini beat the Gopher 7-4 to stay undefeated in Big Ten matches and push the team score to 14-6.

Jordan Blanton faced Logan Storley at 174 pounds. The Illini grappler scored the early two points, but Storley escaped, 2-1 after the first. Blanton began the second period down and got the escape to go up 3-1. Blanton got the takedown near the end of the second period to push the score to 5-2 however Minnesota reviewed the call and it was reversed. With the crowd behind him, Storley came out strong with a three point nearfall call to move ahead 5-3 over Blanton. Blanton escaped and stalling was called on Storley, but with the riding point going to the Gophers, Storley recorded the win 6-5.

After multiple shots, Kevin Steinhaus got two points towards the very edge of the mat at the end of the first period to go up 2-0 over Tony Dallago. Dallago recorded the escape, 2-1. Steinhaus went for the single leg shot and notched the takedown, but Dallago escapes to make the score 4-2. Steinhaus chose down for start of third period and easily recorded the escape, 5-3. Dallago gave up another takedown and was given a penalty to push the score to 8-2. Dallago scored another escape to inch closer, 8-3. The two-time All-American Steinhaus took down Dallago to win the match 10-3 and inch the Gophers within two points, 14-12.

At 197, Scott Schiller attacked the hips and got a takedown on Mario Gonzalez to lead 2-0 after the first period. Gonzalez chose down to begin the second and fought to get the reversal to tie the match at two all. Schiller escaped to inch the score to 3-2 with less than 30 seconds left in the period. Schiller notched another escape to push the lead to 4-2 early in the third to get the win and put the Gophers on top for the first time during the meet, 15-14.

Defending NCAA champion Tony Nelson got the quick takedown early on Chris Lopez at heavyweight to score the only points of the first period. Nelson began down and scored the escape and a takedown to push lead to 5-0 over the Illini grappler. Lopez got on the board with an escape, making the score 5-1 midway through the second. Lopez began down to start the third period and recorded the escape, 5-2. Nelson scored another takedown while Lopez responded with an escape, however Nelson won the match 10-3 to give the Gophers the win and the match 18-14.

The Illini will return home to Huff Hall next weekend as they take on Indiana on Sunday, Jan. 27. The dual will serve as the Great Escape which includes free food, free admission and free parking.

#4 Minnesota 18, #5 Illinois 14
125: #4 Jesse Delgado (ILL) dec. #12 David Thorn (MINN), 6-3 (3-0)
133: #11 Daryl Thomas (ILL) major dec. #6 Chris Dardanes (MINN), 17-8 (7-0)
141: #10 Nick Dardanes (MINN) dec. Logan Arlis (ILL), 10-3 (7-3)
149: Caleb Ervin (ILL) major dec. #7 Dylan Ness (MINN), 11-3 (11-3)
157: Danny Zilverberg (MINN) dec. Matt Nora (ILL), 7-2 (11-6)
165: #7 Conrad Polz (ILL) dec. #16 Cody Yohn (NEB), 7-4 (14-6)
174: #2 Logan Storley (MINN) dec. #4 Jordan Blanton (ILL), 6-5 (14-9)
184: #5 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN) dec. #11 Tony Dallago (ILL), 10-3 (14-12)
194: #12 Scott Schiller (MINN) dec. #5 Mario Gonzalez (ILL), 4-2 (14-15)
HWT: #2 Tony Nelson (MINN) dec. Chris Lopez (ILL), 10-3 (14-18)