Wrestling: In a week of mixed results, Northwestern beats Wisconsin but falls to Minnesota


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Colin Valdiviez spars with an opponent. Northwestern split its two matches over the weekend, but he had a major win.

Greg Svirnovskiy, Reporter


It was perhaps Northwestern’s most important week of the regular season: Two Big Ten matchups against No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 7 Minnesota were excellent opportunities to right the young season’s ship.

Instead, the week featured an impressive 25-18 win over the Badgers (6-4, 1-4 Big Ten) in Madison that was followed by a deflating 29-12 home loss to the Golden Gophers, (10-2, 3-1) a microcosm of NU’s (3-6, 1-3) up-and-down season.

“Friday night we had it, (Sunday) wasn’t our worst performance, but it definitely wasn’t our best,” coach Matt Storniolo said. “We let a couple matches slip. In the Big Ten season, there’s not much room for error and that was the difference between coming away with the win or the loss.”

The Cats won six of ten bouts Friday night, including a major decision for sophomore Colin Valdiviez and a technical fall for sophomore Ryan Deakin.

Storniolo said NU battled adversity in its win over Wisconsin, playing in a hostile environment and pushing through what he said was controversial refereeing.

“The team responded very well on Friday night,” Storniolo said. “They were in a difficult environment, didn’t seem like too many of the calls were going our way. But guys kept fighting and kept improving and looking for points.”

Deakin has won both of his last two bouts since being trounced by Penn State’s Jason Nolf last week. He attributed his quick bounce back to the work of the coaching staff and his film and practice sessions.

“Watching film, watching where I need to be tighter in positions, some certain, specific positions that I needed to fix,” Deakin said. “So just, continuing to work on that in the room, trying to develop those.”

Deakin was one of the Cats three winners Sunday. He and Minnesota’s Steve Bliese exited the first period locked in a 3-3 stalemate. This quickly changed as Deakin reeled off five of the bout’s last six points to the claim an 9-4 decision.

Deakin said he was disappointed by his performance in the first frame but was excited to see his late turnaround.

“I’ve done that a million times,” Deakin said. “It’s not a position you want to be in. You want to be up every time. You don’t want to give up any points, but sometimes it happens, and (it’s) just fighting through positions and keep your nose down and do the work.”

It was freshman Tyler Morland who pulled off NU’s closest win on Sunday, a 9-7 nail-biter in sudden-death overtime. He was down by a point in the third period’s closing seconds before earning an escape to stay alive and winning the bout with a takedown in the extra frame.

Morland won his second match in his last three bouts, and he said he is more comfortable as he continues to recover from a knee injury which shut him down for a month earlier in the year.

“I can wrestle as many times as I want in practice but it’s not gonna build until I start getting those real life matches under my belt,” Morland said.

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