Jan. 28, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: No. 11 Iowa 31, No. 14 Northwestern 9
Records: NU (15-2, 3-2 Big Ten), Iowa (10-0-1, 3-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, Feb. 4 vs. Purdue -- Evanston -- 7 p.m. CT
Play-by-Play Scoring (NWCA Live Score Book)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 14 Northwestern battled valiantly against a strong Iowa squad but was edged in several close bouts early in the dual, giving the Hawkeyes momentum that they used to post a 31-9 victory over NU Friday in Evanston. Senior 149-pounder Andrew Nadhir was a winner for the Wildcats, besting Iowa's Matt Ballweg, 11-4, to improve to 24-3 this season.
With the win, which came before a season-high crowd of 1,123, Iowa extended its dual match winning streak to 72 consecutive matches.
"We certainly didn't wrestle the way we expected to but you have to give Iowa credit for how they went at it," said head coach Drew Pariano. "Still, we need to be tougher when we get in close matches."
One of the main attractions on the evening was the opening bout where the two top 125-pounders in the nation squared off for the second time this season, NU's No. 1-ranked Brandon Precin against Iowa's No. 2 Matt McDonough. As he did in his victory at the 2010 Midlands Championships over McDonough, Precin notched a takedown early in the first period and worked hard to ride the defending NCAA champ the remainder of the period.
After a scoreless second period in which Precin remained in control, he continued to fend off McDonough's attempts to score until the final minute. McDonough finally dropped Precin to the mat and worked for back points, eventually securing a pin with 19 seconds remaining in the match. It was Precin's first loss in collegiate competition since the 2009 NCAA Championships, where Precin placed third.
"You can't allow one match in January to make or break your season, and I know that Brandon is too smart and too tough to do that," Pariano said. "I expect him to come back from this loss in a big way."
Iowa followed up that victory with a hard-fought 9-3 decision victory by 10th-ranked Tony Ramos at 133 pounds, handing NU's Levi Mele only his second loss in 11 dual matches this season.
The Hawkeyes picked up another fall at 141 pounds to gain full control of the match as 15th-ranked Mark Ballweg notched six points for his team with his pin in 2:19 of NU freshman Kaleb Friedley.
Nadhir put the Wildcats on the board when he took on Matt Ballweg at 149 pounds. After a scoreless first, Nadhir picked up two takedowns in the second and entered the third ahead 4-2. Ballweg escaped to start the third, but Nadhir went right back to work and finished two more takedowns while also tacking on riding time to win by 11-4 decision, narrowly missing a bonus point victory.
It was more tight action at 157 pounds where Northwestern's seventh-ranked Jason Welch squared off with No. 14 Derek St. John. Welch scored the only point through two periods on an escape, setting up a third period in which St. John took a 2-1 lead with a takedown with 1:12 remaining. Forty-five seconds later, Welch escaped to tie things at two, but St. John immediately had hold of a Welch leg on the edge of the mat and held on for a late two to win the 4-2 decision, as Welch (15-1) lost his first dual match effort of the season.
Following intermission, Iowa picked up a tough 3-0 decision win at 165 pounds as No. 14 Aaron Janssen topped NU sophomore Kevin Bialka. The Hawkeyes' tough row of ranked wrestlers continued at 174, where No. 13 Ethen Lofthouse worked for a 17-8 major decision over NU's Brian Roddy, Jr., who was wrestling in his first competition since Jan. 9.
Sixteenth-ranked Grant Gambrall made the score 28-3 with an 8-2 decision over Aaron Jones at 184 and, after an Iowa forfeit at 197, Blake Rasing finished the evening with a 10-4 victory over Ben Kuhar.
During the halftime intermission Friday, Northwestern honored six former Big Ten and NCAA champions as part of Champions Night. On hand for the festivities were: Ken Kraft, Mark Massery, Jack Griffin, Bill Pauss, Dustin Fox and Brad Traviolia.
Northwestern returns to dual match action one week from today, Friday, Feb. 4, when the 'Cats welcome Purdue to Welsh-Ryan Arena.
No. 11 Iowa 31, No. 14 Northwestern 9
125: #2 Matt McDonough (IA) FALL #1 Brandon Precin (NU), 6:41 (Iowa 6, NU 0)
133: #10 Tony Ramos (IA) dec. Levi Mele (NU), 9-3 (Iowa 9, NU 0)
141: #15 Mark Ballweg (IA) FALL Kaleb Friedley (NU), 2:49 (Iowa 15, NU 0)
149: #13 Andrew Nadhir (NU) dec. Matt Ballweg (IA), 11-4 (Iowa 15, NU 3)
157: #14 Derek St. John dec. #7 Jason Welch (NU), 4-2 (Iowa 18, NU 3)
165: #14 Aaron Janssen (IA) dec. Kevin Bialka (NU), 3-0 (Iowa 21, NU 3)
174: #13 Ethen Lofthouse (IA) maj. dec. Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU), 17-8 (Iowa 25, NU 3)
184: #16 Grant Gambrall (IA) dec. Aaron Jones (NU), 8-2 (Iowa 28, NU 3)
197: John Schoen (NU) win by forfeit (Iowa 28, NU 9)
285: Blake Rasing (IA) dec. Ben Kuhar (NU), 10-4 (Iowa 31, Iowa 9)
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