In a dual that included three forfeits, Minnesota built an early lead and held on to remain undefeated on the season
After scoring the first 12 points in Thursday’s night dual against No. 18 Northwestern, No. 1 Minnesota held off a charge from the Wildcats to win, 21-19, and remain undefeated on the season. The victory improves the Gophers record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. The win also extended Minnesota’s winning streak over Northwestern to 13 matches and marks the fifth consecutive season Minnesota has begun conference competition 2-0.
The dual began at 174 with No. 4 Logan Storley earning six points by forfeit. The match was the first of three forfeits on the evening. Northwestern forfeited the match at 157 to No. 1 Dylan Ness, and Minnesota forfeited the match at 125 to Garrison White.
Minnesota took the next two matches following the initial forfeit to build up a 12-0 lead in the dual. That stretch began with No. 11 Brett Pfarr grinding out a 5-0 victory over Mitch Sliga by scoring an early takedown in the first period and then continuing to apply pressure throughout the remainder of the match. Next, at 197, No. 2 Scott Schiller defeated No. 8 Alex Polizzi, 5-2. Schiller fell behind Polizzi 2-1 after the first period, but a reversal early in the second period gave Schiller a lead he would not relinquish. The victory kept Schiller undefeated against Polizzi in his college career (4-0).
At 285, No. 12 Michael Kroells challenged No. 1 Mike McMullan. A first period takedown gave McMullan the lead, but Kroells pulled to within 2-1 after the second. Kroells earned a strong ovation from the home crowd as he fought for points near the buzzer, but fell 4-1.
Action resumed at 133 after the forfeit at 125, with Jordan Kingsley falling to Dominick Malone 8-3. That result pulled the dual score even at 12. No. 4 Nick Dardanes took the mat at 141 and quickly jumped ahead of Jameson Oster with a pair of first period takedowns and ultimately won by decision, 6-4, putting Minnesota ahead, 15-12.
For the second time on the night, a Gopher got a shot at the top-ranked wrestler at his weight when Jake Short took on No. 1 Jason Tsirtsis at 149. Short brought the crowd to its feet with a second period reversal that tied the match at 3-3 heading to the final period, but a third period escape and a point for riding time gave Tsirtsis the victory, 5-3, and again tied the score of the dual.
The night’s final forfeit (at 157) gave the Gophers a six-point lead heading into the final match of the night, where No. 18 Nick Wanzek took on No. 8 Pierce Harger. Wanzek repeatedly fought off attempts by Harger to score the fall to tie the dual, saving critical team points for the Gophers as he lost 11-1, sealing the Gophers 21-19 victory.
After a brief holiday break, Minnesota will fly to Hawaii to compete in the initial Aloha Open against No. 20 Oregon State, Oklahoma and American on Dec. 30. That event will be available to stream on Flowrestling.org (stream requires a FloPRO subscription) and updates will be provided throughout all Gopher matches on the Gopher Wrestling Twitter feed.
#1 Minnesota 21, #18 Northwestern 19
174 #4 Logan Storley (Minnesota) won by forfeit
184 #11 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) dec. Mitch Sliga (Northwestern) 5-0
197 #2 Scott Schiller (Minnesota) dec. #8 Alex Polizzi (Northwestern) 5-2
285 #1 Michael McMullan (Northwestern) dec. #12 Michael Kroells (Minnesota) 4-1
125 Garrison White (Northwestern) won by forfeit
133 Dominick Malone (Northwestern) dec. Jordan Kingsley (Minnesota) 8-3
141 #4 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) dec. Jameston Oster (Northwestern) 6-4
149 #1 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) dec. Jake Short (Minnesota) 5-3
157 #1 Dylan Ness (Minnesota) won by forfeit
165 #8 Pierce Harger (Northwestern) maj. dec. #18 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) 11-1