Despite a 6-3 lead after two matches, the Huskies (6-9, 1-5 MAC) dropped the next six bouts – including two agonizing overtime defeats back-to-back – to the Monarchs (6-8, 2-2 MAC).
“(Nick) Smith was dominant and (Shawn) Scott and (Jared) Torrence won hard-fought matches,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Torrence showed his leadership in gutting out a gritty performance that every guy needs to learn from. We were in position to get our hands raised in some tight bouts that were the swing matches of the dual.”
ODU got on the board first when Brandon Jeske claimed a 6-2 decision over Nick Harrison at 125 pounds. However, the Huskies quickly turned the three-point deficit into a three-point lead, as Nick Smith scored a pin against Michael Hayes late in the third period to give NIU a 6-3 edge.
The Monarchs tied the contest at 6-6 when Tyler Argue fell to Chris Mecate – the nation’s fifth-ranked wrestler at 141 pounds – in a 4-0 decision. From there, though, ODU scored two demoralizing victories in consecutive matches. At 149, Rob Jillard held a 3-1 lead over 20th-ranked Alexander Richardson through two periods, only to have Richardson tie the match in the final seconds of regulation. After the first sudden victory and overtime session, the nationally-ranked Monarch got a takedown and two nearfall points in the second sudden victory session to garner a 7-5 win.
Andrew Morse would endure a similar fate at 157, falling 7-5 in sudden victory to Tristan Warner to give ODU a commanding 12-6 edge. After scoring a takedown and a reversal in the first two periods, the Huskie sophomore held a 4-1 lead entering the final stanza. Yet, Warner got a reversal against Morse to get within 4-3. After an escape from Morse, Warner got the tying score on a takedown, then nailed another one to secure three more points for the Monarchs.
Trailing 12-6, the Huskies were unable to spark a comeback. Shaun’Qae McMurtry dropped that 165 match in a 12-9 decision to Devin Geoghegan to make it a 15-6 ODU lead. Consecutive major decisions for the hosts – Billy Curling over Billy Chancey, 15-4, at 174 and Jack Dechow over Caleb Busson, 15-5, at 184 – resulted in the clincher for the Monarchs.
Despite the deficit, NIU finished strong with a pair of commanding wins at the upper weights. Shawn Scott earned his 17th win of the year at 197 pounds with a 6-4 decision against Kevin Beazley. Meanwhile, heavyweight Jared Torrence scored his 50th career victory, as he triumphed over Matt Tourdot, 5-3.
The Huskies return to DeKalb for their final home meet of the season this weekend as they play host to Kent State at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, inside Victor E. Court.
Old Dominion 23, NIU 12
125: Brandon Jeske (ODU) dec. Nick Harrison (NIU), 6-2
133: Nick Smith (NIU) pins Michael Hayes (ODU), 6:13
141: #5 Chris Mecate (ODU) dec. Tyler Argue (NIU), 4-0
149: #20 Alexander Richardson (ODU) dec. Rob Jillard (NIU), 7-5 (SV2)
157: Tristan Warner (ODU) dec. Andrew Morse (NIU), 7-5 (SV1)
165: Devin Geoghegan (ODU) dec. Shaun’Qae McMurtry (NIU), 12-9
174: Billy Curling (ODU) maj. dec. Billy Chancey (NIU), 15-4
184: Jack Dechow (ODU) maj. dec. Caleb Busson (NIU), 15-5
197: Shawn Scott (NIU) dec. Kevin Beazley (ODU), 6-4
285: Jared Torrence (NIU) dec. Matt Tourdot (ODU), 5-3
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.