NU coach: Blowout score belies close matches

Becky Plevin

Although the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Northwestern wrestling team for the 35th straight time on Saturday, NU coach Tim Cysewski said the 39-4 score didn’t reflect how close many of the matches really were.

“The score looks lopsided,” Cysewski said. “If you look at the matches closer, there are five or six matches right there, where if we had won the flurry, we would have won the match.”

Freshman Nick Hayes, an Iowa native, was the only member of the Wildcats (8-2, 0-1 Big Ten) to win his match in NU’s conference opener against the Hawkeyes (6-2, 1-0). The loss prevented Cysewski from tallying his 100th victory as NU coach.

With more than 4,400 fans in attendance at Carver-Hawkeye arena Saturday night, the 165-pound Hayes said he thrived off the crowd He said his friends and family came to watch.

“It was nice to pull off a win in front of a lot of the guys from my hometown and my home state,” Hayes said. “I wrestle better when there’s extra adrenaline coming from the crowd.”

Hayes said that during the first period he realized he could control the match against freshman Mark Mueller. Hayes won his match 11-3.

“He took me down first, but I just got back up and reversed him real quick,” Hayes said. “The fact that I could ride him and he couldn’t get away helped my confidence.”

The rest of the team didn’t fare as well, but Cysewski said several losing matches came down to just a few points in the final period.

“If a guy started stronger or finished stronger, we could have won some of the closer matches,” he said. “Both Mike Little and Matt Delguyd — if they’d gotten off to a quicker start, we could have had two more wins instead of two losses. There’s no room for errors in the Big Ten. The key to being successful is to wrestle hard for one more second longer than the other guy.”

Little, a senior heavyweight, lost his match 5-2. Delguyd, a sophomore at 197 pounds, was defeated 8-6.

Little said after his opponent took him down early in the match, he struggled to catch up for the final seven minutes. Even though he struggled, Little said it was still a one-point match until the last 20 seconds.

“I felt like I gave up the early takedown, which dictated how the match went from then on,” Little said.

For the rest of the Big Ten season, Little said he wants to work on controlling the match from the beginning. The senior said that taking an early advantage is the key to dominating the rest of the match.

“One thing we can definitely learn is that we need to go out and earn that early takedown,” Little said.