Dec. 3, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. -- Contending with a host of injuries and a hostile road atmosphere, Northwestern lost a 24-13 road dual match at Northern Illinois Thursday evening in a match that was much closer than the final team score suggests. Senior Eric Metzler was one of NU's leading performers, posting an inspired 5-1 decision over preseason No. 15 Tristen DeShazer at 133 pounds.
Metzler's convincing win over DeShazer, an NCAA qualifier in 2009, gave NU a 6-5 lead early in the dual and helped the 'Cats gain a 10-9 advantage with four bouts remaining. But back-to-back bad breaks for Northwestern (1-3-1) gave the Huskies an 18-10 lead they would not relinquish.
The match began at 197 pounds where NU's John Schoen took on Scott Penny, a familiar opponent for Schoen considering the two were ranked near the top of their weight class as high school wrestlers in Illinois. Schoen unquestionably got the best of Penny in this their first official matchup as collegiate wrestlers, defeating Penny 5-1 to start things off on the right foot for Northwestern.
Ben Kuhar took to the mats next for NU at heavyweight and found himself in a tight match with NIU's Dakota Greenhaw. Midway through the bout, however, Kuhar sustained an injury to his shoulder that severely hampered his wrestling style. Kuhar fought through the setback and managed to finish out the match, limiting Greenhaw to a four-point decision victory (6-2).
Back at the bottom of the lineup, NU true freshman Levi Mele took on a talented NIU sophomore in Izzy Montemayor, who won 21 matches for the Huskies as a freshman a year ago. Mele was all over Montemayor in the early going before eventually losing a 4-3 decision that swung the team score to 6-3 in Northern's favor.
Metzler carried the flag for Northwestern at 133, wrestling one of his best matches in recent memory. At 141, junior Robert Joyce
stepped into a very difficult position in an effort to help his team earn the dual win, wrestling up two weight classes from his traditional 125-pound spot to fill a void in NU's lineup. Joyce showed plenty of heart but lost a 10-1 major decision to Patrick McLemore.
Andrew Nadhir answered right back for the Wildcats with a clinical major decision of his own, reaching the eight-point margin necessary for the four team points at the buzzer of his 13-5 victory over Dan Ruettiger.
True freshman Kevin Bialka stepped in for NU at 157 to take on a former NCAA qualifier and MAC champion in NIU's Bryan Deutsch. Bialka could not have performed much better under the circumstances, attacking Deutsch from the get-go and building a 12-9 lead in the third period. Late in the match, however, Deutsch managed to catch Bialka in a position that the officials determined to be a defensive pin, giving a crucial six points to the Huskies with only 1:09 remaining in their bout.
Northwestern's Robert Kellogg seemed poised to rebound for the 'Cats at 165, locking horns with NIU's John Odeen in a 1-1 match in the third period. But going in for a right leg and a chance to score for the win, Kellogg slipped and was left vulnerable to an Odeen takedown as the Husky went on to take the match, 6-1.
NU was forced to forfeit at 174 pounds, but that didn't deter junior Aaron Jones from wrestling one of his best matches since joining the 'Cats as a transfer last season. Jones dominated NIU's Zach Benzio, amassing over five minutes of riding time in a 7-2 victory.
Northwestern has exactly two weeks to recover before its third consecutive road test, a meeting with Cleveland State on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Northern Illinois 24, Northwestern 13
197: John Schoen (NU) dec. Scott Penny (NIU), 5-0 (0-3)
285: Dakota Greenhaw (NIU) dec. Ben Kuhar (NU), 6-2 (3-3)
125: Izzy Montemayor (NIU) dec. Levi Mele (NU), 4-3 (6-3)
133: Eric Metzler (NU) dec. Tristen DeShazer (NIU), 5-1 (5-6)
141: Patrick McLemore (NIU) Maj. dec. Bobby Joyce (NU), 10-1 (9-6)
149: Andrew Nadhir (NU) Maj. dec. Dan Ruettiger (NIU), 13-5 (9-10)
157: Bryan Deutsch (NIU) pin Kevin Bialka (NU), 5:51 (15-10)
165: John Odeen (NIU), Robert Kellogg (NU), 6-1 (18-10)
174: Mason True wins by forfeit (24-10)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) dec. Zach Benzio (NIU), 7-2 (24-13)