The loss drops NIU to 8-9 overall and 0-5 in the Mid-American Conference, while the Bulls improved to 6-14 and 1-4 in the conference
“In some cases today, we didn’t compete like we wanted to,” said Huskie head coach Ryan Ludwig.
“We gave up some points at the end of the period, weren’t exploding off bottom in some cases and general lack of intensity in some cases. However, we talked about the slate wiping clean as you head into the MAC tournament.”
“It’s a brand new season for a weekend and we’re expected to head in there with a lot higher expectations.”
Buffalo drew first blood in the match when Max Soria earned a 12-2 major decision over Derek Elmore in the 125-pound match to give the Bulls and early 4-0 advantage.
UB followed that up with two tightly-contested wins at 133 and 141. Trailing 2-1 late in the third period, Huskie Rob Jillard nearly completed the last-minute comeback to give NIU the win. However, it was Justin Farmer who was awarded the takedown and, following a three-point nearfall, defeated Jillard, 7-1.
The highly-anticipated showdown at 141 featured two nationally-ranked foes in UB’s Kevin Smith and NIU’s Kevin Fanta. In a back-and-forth affair, Smith took the 3-1 decision against Fanta to put the Bulls up, 10-0.
The Huskies managed to stem the tide at 149 with Shawn Fayette’s end-of-match technical fall of Dan Gormley to cut the Bull lead in half. Leading 7-0 after two periods, Fayette scored a slew of takedowns and nearfalls for a sizeable lead. Yet, it was not until the final buzzer that Fayette got the tech fall, as he was awarded two nearfall points and the riding time bonus after the whistle.
The Bulls, though, returned the favor in the 157-pound match when Wally Maziarz pinned Tyler Loethen midway through the second period to give UB a 16-5 lead heading into the break.
The Bulls’ momentum carried into the second half with wins in the 165-pound and 174-pound matches to give UB a 23-5 lead. Mark Lewandowski opened up the half with a 13-4 major decision against Matt Mougin. Jake Waste followed that with an 8-2 win over Caleb Busson.
The Huskie senior leaders would help NIU inch closer on the scoreboard in the next two matches. Dieckhaus completed his regular season with a perfect 11-0 record when he defeated Justin Lozano, 8-1, at 184 pounds. The victory made the St. Charles, Mo., native the first Huskie wrestler to go undefeated in the regular season since Neal McDonald did so in 1964-65.
Not to be outdone, fellow senior Lukowski also won in his final home match, topping Justin Heiserman in a tight 3-2 decision to earn his 10th victory on the year.
“Those guys have been here through the heat and grind and they deserve to come out on top,” Ludwig said of Dieckhaus and Lukowski. “I thought they competed with a lot of fire today and that is what we expected of them.”
Jared Torrence improved his record to 14-10 on the year with a dominating 9-4 win over Jedd Mason to cap the day. The win also put the Norwalk, Ohio, native into the team lead for wins this season.
The Huskies open up postseason competition next Sunday, March 4, when they travel to Athens, Ohio, for the 2012 MAC Championships.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskies athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.