The Northern Illinois wrestling team closed its home slate Friday with a 36-6 loss to in-state rival Northwestern on Senior Night.
With the loss, the Huskies fall to 7-8 on the season. The Wildcats bumped their record up to 7-7.
“Northwestern’s got a tough team, but I think we can compete better than that,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Taking a pin at 125 and 141 doesn’t help anything out. We wrestled in some situations that we shouldn’t have been in. We need to stay within our box and execute within our positions. Those guys know it (that) they made a mental error, so they will bounce back fine.”
Northwestern got off to a hot start to the match with three consecutive wins.
Derek Elmore had a promising start at 125 pounds, but 19th-ranked Dominick Malone stormed back and eventually registered a second period pin.
The Wildcats followed that up with a win at 133 pounds, as Garrison White defeated NIU’s Nick Smith in a 9-6 decision. At 141, nationally ranked Huskie Kevin Fanta saw his six-match winning streak snapped when he lost against Jameson Oster by way of a first period pin.
The Huskies, though, got on the board by way of Rob Jillard at 149. Jillard, a sophomore from Franklinville, N.J., pinned Dylan Marriott late in the first period to get within 15-6.
That NIU momentum shift was short-lived as NU’s Jason Welch – a 2012 All-American and the second-ranked wrestler at 157 – defeated Andrew Morse in an 8-0 major decision right before halftime.
Northwestern’s run carried over into the second half. At 165, Dan Burk lost by technical fall to No. 18 Pierce Harger, 16-0. Matt Mougin lost at 174 to No. 19 Lee Munster in an 8-2 decision, giving NU a 27-6 lead.
Bryan Loughlin lost a tough one at 184 pounds in a 7-5 decision against Jacob Markowitz. Leading 5-4 entering the third period, Loughlin fell victim to riding time and a late two-point near fall in the final stanza.
In the last home match of his career, senior Arber Bebo suffered a 5-0 defeat against Alex Polizzi at 197 pounds. The Huskies closed out the night with Jared Torrence falling 4-2 against ninth-ranked heavyweight Mike McMullan.
NIU hits the road again next Saturday, Feb. 16, when they finish their Mid-American Conference schedule against Buffalo. The dual between the Huskies and Bulls starts at noon CT.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.