The loss puts Mougin’s record at 23-17 for the season. However, the Columbus Junction, Iowa, native posted a 3-2 record in Des Moines, with his two losses coming at the hands of 2013 All-Americans and top eight-seeded Logan Storley of Minnesota and Heflin.
“Matt wrestled a great tournament,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Coach (Dominick) Moyer, Coach (John) Helgerson and I are very proud of the way he competed and represented Northern Illinois. Great effort by a very persistent young man. Matt has a taste now and is hungry for more.”
The first period between Mougin and Heflin was mostly a war of attrition. However, the Buckeye broke the deadlock with a swift takedown, then secured two nearfall points as the first period came to a close. Mougin trimmed the deficit to three with an escape midway through the second period to make it 4-1. The Huskie started the final period on top, but Heflin held out and emerged with the win to knock Mougin out of the tournament.
“Heflin caught us in a takedown to a cradle for four points and that one position proved to be the difference in the match,” Ludwig said. “Matt worked hard for a turn in the third, but was unable to convert.”
Session III Recap
Mougin started the day by knocking out Virginia Tech’s Austin Gabel via injury default, then eliminated Penn’s Ian Korb with an 8-3 decision.
His day began with a quick win against Gabel. After Mougin notched a takedown within the first minute, the match was stopped midway through the first period when Gabel came up injured. After it was determined that the Hokie could not returned, the NIU redshirt junior was awarded the injury default at 1:21.
“In the first match, before (Gabel) injury defaulted, Matt was doing a good job,” Ludwig said. “He came out and got to his attacks and rode the kid tough and was doing his job well.”
His second win of the tournament marked the first time a Huskie had earned multiple victories at the NCAA Championships since 2009, when Tristen DeShazer went 2-2 in St. Louis. Mougin also becomes the first Huskie since 2008 to win three matches in an NCAA tournament, as Pat Castillo earned three wins in the 2008 championships.
In the second match of Session III, Mougin came out firing against Korb by getting a takedown 13 seconds into the match and, despite surrendering an escape, held a 2-1 lead after the first period. The Huskie extended his lead to 3-1 with a second period escape before Mougin got a second takedown to go up 5-1 after two. Another Korb escape to start the third period made it 5-2, but Mougin iced the match with a third takedown and held on for an 8-3 win with the riding time bonus.
“In the second match, again Matt came out and, with a little bit of a slower pace, he controlled the action,” Ludwig said. “We know Korb’s a dangerous opponent, so he came out, controlled the elbows, got to a nice spot and got a double. He maintained a tough ride and stayed in very solid position.”
“There were a couple times where Korb was trying to load up some throws and Matt did a good job of sensing it. He recovered, stayed in position and finished the match correctly.”