The Panthers started out strong on Friday night against the sixth-ranked team in the country, but couldn’t finish the night out as Virginia snapped UNI’s 11 home dual win streak 20-12. It was Military Appreciation Night in the West Gym with 2,100 fans packed in.
For Virginia Tech Head Coach Kevin Dresser it was a nice homecoming. Dresser was a two time All-American at Iowa and the National Champion in 1986 for the Hawkeyes.
I just think it was a great college wrestling meet, give credit to UNI, they wrestled tough,” Dresser said after the dual. “I told them (meaning Virginia Tech’s wrestlers) when we came here, growing up in Iowa I wrestled in this place myself, so I knew it would be packed, I knew it would be hot and I knew they’d have to figure it out in a hostile environment.”
The dual started at 197 pounds, where Basil Minto gutted out a 6-4 win in sudden victory. Minto got in on a double leg early in the match to take a 2-0 lead. Virginia Tech’s Jared Haught would get an escape point nearly right away. Minto would add two escape points and Haught added another takedown and escape to tie it up at 4 at the end of the 3rd. Minto had a nice scramble for the takedown and win in overtime.
The biggest win for UNI came in the next match, where #15 Blaize Cabell took down #7 Ty Walz 5-3. Early on the two traded single leg attempts but both fought out of strong shots to go to the second tied at zero. The two heavyweights would trade escape points to start the second and third periods, and that’s when Cabell took to his offense. He hit two takedowns in the final minute and a half to secure a 5-3 decision over Walz.
Anytime you can get a win against a top, I’m not sure what he’s ranked, top eight, seven guy, you know, it’s big to get that,” Cabell said after the dual. “Just as far as spurring some momentum for the team and getting this place going.”
“That’s a good win for him,” UNI Head Coach Doug Schwab said. “He had a couple of good attacks. I think he can get even more attacks than he did. That’s a big win for him. He’s got a little roll going for him. He needs to keep riding the momentum.”
They circled back to the lightweights, where UNI’s #6 Dylan Peters took on #4 Joey Dance. Peters would give up two takedowns, one in the first, and one in the third to fall behind 5-3 before he would press the attack and nearly score a tying takedown. Head official Curt Frost initially scored the takedown but waved it off as Dance scrambled. Coach Schwab would challenge the ruling, but the call would be upheld.
“When Peters really went, went after an attack in the last 20 seconds he got to him,” Schwab said. “Maybe he didn’t score, they didn’t give it to him.”
The Panthers had a rough go of it over the next three matches, dropping two decisions at 133 and 149 pounds. At 141 Jake Hodges lost by tech fall to #3 Devin Carter. Virginia Tech led 14-6 after 149 pounds.
UNI got back on the right side of the scoreboard with a 5-0 decision from Jarret Jensen over Jake Spengler. Jarrett took a couple shots in the first period but really punished Spengler with a tough ride out in the second. Jensen added a takedown and a stall point from Spengler got him the 5-0 win.
#12 Cooper Moore scoring a 4-3 decision on Virginia Tech’s Chad Strube. Moore was still wearing his elbow brace on his right arm, but had it ripped off halfway through the first period, and then just took it off altogether in the third.
“It didn’t go the way I planned it go, really slow the first period. Second period same thing,” Moore said after the match. “I knew going to the third I needed to do something, so I just decided to take it (his elbow brace) off.”
Moore was ridden out of the second period, so riding time was against him, but with the brace gone he was able to find some offense and scored two takedowns in the third to win 4-3 and pull the Panthers to within two points at 14-12.
UNI could not finish out though, dropping the next two matches by decisions. Zach Epperly won 6-2 over Curt Maas and Austin Gabel won 10-3 over Cody Caldwell. Neither Panther could really find their offense.
“They have a good team. I give them credit in those situations where it was me or him and in a couple of those situations they took it and in a couple of those situations we took it.” Schwab said after dual. “But we’ve got to take it more.”
This starts a long road trip for the Panthers, who won’t return home until their final dual of the year February 20th against Old Dominion. UNI has five away duals in-between then and now, starting with a trip to MAC opponent Central Michigan January 25th. That dual starts at 1PM and we’ll have a full preview for it later this week.
As always we have a full picture gallery up on our Flickr site, be sure and check those out!
#6 Virginia Tech 20, UNI 12
197 – Basil Minto won 6-4 in sudden victory over Jared Haught
285 – #15 Blaize Cabell won 5-3 over #7 Ty Walz
125 – #4 Joey Dance (VT) won 5-3 over #6 Dylan Peters
133 – #18 Kevin Norstrem (VT) won 10-5 over Leighton Gaul
141 – #3 Devin Carter (VT) won by tech fall, 22-7, over Jake Hodges
149 – Sal Mastriani (VT) won 7-6 over Gunnar Wolfensperger
157 – Jarrett Jensen won 5-0 over Jake Spengler
165 – #12 Cooper Moore won 4-3 over Chad Strube
174 – #9 Zach Epperly (VT) won 6-2 over Curt Maas
184 – Austin Gabel (VT) won 10-3 over Cody Caldwell