Jan. 31, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern built a 13-3 lead through five bouts at Michigan but the Wolverines responded in the upper weights as the match ended in a 17-17 draw in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday night. NU (9-3-1) maintains its unbeaten mark in the Big Ten with its first dual match tie since Dec. 12, 1999, against Central Michigan.
After nine matches, Northwestern clung to a 17-14 advantage entering the heavyweight bout between NU's Ben Kuhar and Michigan's Edwin Phillips. Both wrestlers came out aggressive but were unable to get on the board early as the match entered the second period scoreless. Kuhar countered a Phillips takedown with two escapes to even the score in the second, which is the way it remained through the end of regulation.
The match required two extra sessions to find a winner as Phillips scored on an escape for the 3-2 decision and the three points needed for the Wolverines to tie.
After going 13 years without a dual defeat of Michigan, NU has now collected a win and a tie against the Wolverines in its last two outings.
Northwestern found success in the lower weights beginning with junior Brandon Precin at 125. Precin was ahead early on Michigan's Mike Watts with a takedown and a two-point near-fall before tacking on another escape and takedown in the third to take command of the match. Ranked third in the country in his weight class, Precin is now 21-1 this year.
The 'Cats kept things rolling at 133 when Eric Metzler picked up a huge 4-3 decision against Michigan's Zac Stevens, who entered the contest with an 11-5 season mark. Stevens built a 3-1 advantage entering the final period but Metzler was up to the task in the third, shooting on Stevens and preventing the escape to hold on to the crucial three-point win.
Another critical win for the Wildcats came at 149 where Northwestern's Andrew Nadhir
squared off with Mark Weber. The match remained scoreless into the second period when Nadhir kicked it into high gear, collecting five takedowns on his way to a 12-4 major decision, his first four-point win of the year for Northwestern.
Freshman Jason Welch continued NU's run with a 6-2 decision over U of M's Aaron Hynes. Welch started the second period on the bottom and quickly earned the escape point. Hynes came back with a two-pointer of his own but Welch managed to score on a reversal and reclaim control of the match.
But the crowd at Cliff Keen Arena stayed behind the home team and helped spur the Wolverines to wins at 165 and 174. Undefeated Jake Herbert (21-0) tried to right the ship for NU at 184 with a 16-6 major decision against Michigan's Anthony Biondo. But Northwestern could not protect the lead and saw the Wolverines collect seven points over the final two bouts.
Next for NU is another weekend on the road with a Friday night contest at Illinois before a date at Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. The Big Ten Network is set to broadcast Friday's match vs. the Illini on same-day tape delay.
No. 19 Northwestern 17, No. 18 Michigan 17
125: Brandon Precin (NU) dec. Mike Watts (UM), 9-3
133: Eric Metzler (NU) dec. Zac Stevens (UM), 4-3
141: Kellen Russell (UM) dec. Keith Sulzer (NU), 4-2
149: Andrew Nadhir (NU) MD Mark Weber (UM), 12-4
157: Jason Welch (NU) dec. Aaron Hynes (UM), 6-2
165: Justin Zeerip (UM) MD Kyle Bertin (NU), 9-1
174: Steve Luke (UM) dec. Robert Kellogg (NU), 11-5
184: Jake Herbert (NU) MD Anthony Biondo (UM), 16-6
197: Tyrel Todd (UM) MD John Schoen (NU), 16-5
285: Edwin Phillips (UM) dec. Ben Kuhar (NU), 3-2 (OT)