Despite a fast start, Minnesota was not able to stop the Badgers as Wisconsin defeated the Gophers 19-15 Friday night in Madison. The loss brings Minnesota’s dual record to 14-6 on the season and was just the second loss of the season for Minnesota in Big Ten dual action.
At 125, Zach Sanders started things out well for Minnesota. Taking on Drew Hammen of the Badgers, Sanders came out firing with a strong first period. Zach took a 4-1 lead into the second period and never looked back, finishing the match with the 10-4 decision.
Jayson Ness took Minnesota to another level at 133, pinning Eric Senescu 1:51 into the match and giving the Gophers a 9-0 lead to start out. This was Jayson’s 15th pin of the season.
However, the premier matchup of the night featured #1 Zach Tanelli and #8 Mike Thorn at 141 pounds. After a strategic battle in the first period left the match tied at zero each, Tanelli began to take over in the second. After a quick escape by the Badger, Tanelli took down Thorn to give Wisconsin a 3-0 lead in the match. After an escape, Thorn found himself down 3-1 going into the third with a disadvantage on riding time.
Starting down, Thorn quickly escaped Tanelli and brought the score to 3-2. However it was a takedown by the Badger that yet again put the Gopher 141 pounder in the hole. Trailing 5-3, Thorn mustered a takedown and tied the match up. In his attempt to erase Tanelli’s ride time, Thorn gave up an escape and couldn’t close the match. The 7-5 Wisconsin victory was their first on the night and cut into Minnesota’s team lead, 9-3.
After #5 Kyle Ruschell scored a major decision over Joe Grygelko at 149 and brought the meet to 9-7 in favor of Minnesota, the 157-pound matchup proved critical to the meet. Minnesota’s Tyler Safratowich took on the Badgers’ Ben Jordan in yet another close battle. Despite leading 2-1 throughout most of the first period, it was a Jordan takedown with two seconds remaining in the period that put Safratowich one point down to start the second, 3-2. Highlighted by a takedown on Jordan, Safratowich came out of the second with a 6-4 lead and never looked back. After holding Jordan off in the third, the Gopher finished with the 7-5 win and gave Minnesota a 12-7 lead heading into intermission.
Despite taking a lead into the break, Minnesota would begin to falter down the stretch. At 165 it was Minnesota’s Scott Glasser losing a hard fought battle 1-4 against #8 Andrew Howe of Wisconsin that cut the Gopher dual lead to 12-10.
In the 175-pound matchup, two Minnesota natives faced off in what would be the turning point of the dual. Kaleb Young of the Gophers took on the Badgers’ Travis Rutt in a defensive battle. After three periods, the pair took a 1-1 score into overtime. Young battled through a shot by Rutt, but in the end Young was taken down and the match went to the Badgers, 3-1.
Bringing the dual to 13-12 in favor of Wisconsin, the 184-pound matchup brought another Wisconsin victory. Sonny Yohn of the Gophers couldn’t fend off Eric Bugenhagen of Wisconsin and the match went to the Badgers, 3-2.
With Wisconsin having a six-point team lead heading into the 197-pound match, Minnesota needed a win in order to stay alive in the dual. However it was Wisconsin’s Dallas Herbst , ranked third in the nation, who ended the Gophers’ hopes with a 5-2 over Minnesota’s Gordon Bierschenk. With a 19-12 victory, the Badgers clinched the dual victory over Minnesota heading into the heavyweight match.
Despite Wisconsin clinching the dual, the heavyweight battle proved to be a highlight on the night for the Gophers. Eighth-ranked Kyle Massey of Champlin, Minnesota took on the Gophers’ Ben Berhow in what turned out to be a significant upset. Taking a 3-1 lead into the third, Berhow held off an assault from Massey to secure the 3-2 win and give him his second win over the Badger this season.
Minnesota will try to rebound this Sunday against the top-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes at 2 pm in Iowa City.