Bonus points from Scott Schiller and Michael Kroells early in the dual and an amazing, third-period comeback by Chris Dardanes helped Minnesota hold off a late charge from the Illini
For the second time, No. 1 Minnesota welcomed a top 10 opponent to the Sports Pavilion when No. 9 Illinois visited the Twin Cities last Sunday.
After dropping the dual’s opening match at 165, the Gophers reeled off four straight wins, the last two major decisions from No. 1 Scott Schiller (197) and No. 12 Michael Kroells (285), bonus points that would later prove critical.
The match of the night, and maybe the match of the season, came at 133, when No. 1 Chris Dardanes mounted an unlikely comeback in the match’s final minute after trailing No. 5 Zane Richards 7-1 heading to the third period. With four takedowns in the match’s final minute and another one in sudden victory overtime, Dardanes turned a sure-loss into a victory and flipped three points from Illinois to Minnesota.
The Gophers ultimately needed every point they had accumulated in the dual to fend off a late comeback by Illinois. Those key victories, along with decisions from No. 3 Logan Storley, No. 4 Nick Dardanes (141) and No. 11 Brett Pfarr (184) helped Minnesota earn a 20-19 victory to remain undefeated this season.
The Gophers hit the road this weekend to take on No. 6 Penn State at 1 p.m. CT this Sunday. The match will be available to stream live on BTN Plus. BTN Plus requires a subscription to watch.
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