Feb. 1, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Despite rallying off nine-straight points with victories from Mike Tamillow (Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick), Dustin Fox (Galion, Ohio/Galion), and Brandon Precin (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg), the 10th-ranked Wildcats came up short in their Big Ten home opener against the eighth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, 18-15.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 5-6 overall, 0-2 in the Big Ten. With the win Penn State improves to 10-4, 2-2 in the conference.
The duals started off at 197 lbs., the night's marquee event, featuring Northwestern's No. 3 Tamillow and Penn State's No. 2 Phil Davis. While the points were scarce early, Tamillow, entering the third period down 1-0, came out with six unanswered points to take the first match of the evening with a 6-1 victory and give the 'Cats an early 3-0 lead.
Fox, the nation's top-ranked 285-pounder, notched his 15th consecutive victory of the season with a 5-2 decision over Penn State's No.15 John Laboranti. Fox's bundle of escapes and takedown at the 6:10 mark were enough to double the Wildcat lead at 6-0.
The match featuring 125 lb. No. 5 Precin, and No. 10 Mark McKnight was the night's most exciting, and longest match. After trading escapes in the second and third periods, the score remained tied at the end of regulation time, sending the match into overtime.
After four overtime periods and two more traded escapes, the score was still knotted up, this time at 2-2. The fifth overtime, however, saw Precin score a takedown that was too much for McKnight to overcome, despite a late escape. The third straight victory put the 'Cats on top, 9-0.
The turning point in the match came at 133 lbs., when NU's Eric Metzler (Luxembourg, Wis./Luxembourg-Casco) was pinned by Penn State's Tim Haas at the 3:25 mark, cutting Northwestern's lead to 9-6.
NU's Keith Sulzer
(Cleveland, Ohio/St. Edward), after a great win last dual over Iowa's ninth-ranked Dan LeClere, continued his winning streak with a 5-3 hard-fought decision over No.10 Jake Strayer, putting the Cats up 12-6.
The 149 lb. match came out firing, with NU's No. 4 Ryan Lang (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Edward) sacrificing four early points to Penn State's No. 5 Bubba Jenkins to trail heading into the second period 6-2. Lang responded, however, with a reversal and a near fall to tie the match 7-7 heading into the third period.
The effort wasn't enough, though, as Jenkins compiled a pair of two-point near falls to best Lang, 11-8, also cutting the Wildcat lead down to three, 12-9.
After tough loses by Andrew Nadhir (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central) at 157 lbs. to No. 2 Dan Vallimont and Dominic Marella (Rosella, Ill./Conant) to Dave Rella at 165 lbs., the score now favored the Nittany Lions, 15-12.
NU's No. 12 Nick Hayes (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Lewis Central) tied the dual for the Wildcats, however, with his 7-4 victory over No. 16 David Erwin at 174 lbs. Despite struggling early in the match, Hayes' two late takedowns gave the senior his first Big Ten victory of the season.
PSU's Phillip Bomberger was too much for the Wildcats' Adil Kolovic (Chicago, Ill./Niles West), quelling the late NU comeback with six takedowns in a 14-7 victory and ensuring the dual meet win for the Nittany Lions with a score of 18-15.
The atmosphere was tense nearly the entire night, with both sides receiving multiple warnings.
The 'Cats return to the mat against the fourth-ranked Golden Golphers of Minnesota at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Welsh Ryan Arena. The time of the match has been changed from its original start. It will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.
Penn State 18, Northwestern 15
#3 Tamillow (NU) dec. #2 Davis (PSU), 6-1 (3-0)
#1 Fox (NU) dec. #15 Laboranti (PSU), 5-2 (6-0)
#5 Precin (NU) dec. #10 McKnight (PSU), 4-3 (2tb) (9-0)
Hass (PSU) pinned Metzler (NU), 3:25 (9-6)
Sulzer (NU) dec. #10 Strayer (PSU), 4-3 (12-6)
#5 Jenkins (PSU) dec. #4 Lang (NU), 11-8 (12-9)
#2 Vallimont (PSU) dec. Nadhir (NU), 8-4 (12-12)
Rella (PSU) dec. #20 Marella (NU), 6-5 (12-15)
#12 Hayes (NU) dec. #16 Erwin (PSU), 7-4 (15-15)
#13 Bomberger (PSU) dec. Kolovic (NU), 14-7 (15-18)