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Wrestling Comes Up Short Against NIU in MAC Opener

DEKALB, Ill. (EMUEagles.com) — The Eastern Michigan University wrestling team mounted a furious comeback, but in the end could not overcome a stingy Northern Illinois squad, falling 21-18 in its Mid-American Conference opener at Victor E. Court, Friday, Feb. 4.

The Huskies jumped out to an early 18-0 lead after five straight wins including four decisions and a win by fall at 141 pounds. The Eagles stormed back to cut the lead in half, but could not make up the deficit. NIU improves to 3-10 overall, 1-3 in the MAC while the Eagles fall to 11-7 (0-1 MAC).

At 125, EMU freshman Jared Germaine (Saginaw, Mich.-Saginaw Valley) fell behind early, 4-0, before storming back in the third period. Germaine claimed an escape and a takedown to cut the deficit to 4-3 before NIU’s Nick Smith regained control with a reversal late in the match on his way to a 7-4 win.

In the 133-pound match, Kevin Fanta of NIU did as good a job as anyone this season on maintaining the elusive Filiberto Colon (Belleville, N.J.-Belleville Senior (Rider)) as each wrestled to a scoreless first period. After two periods gone by, it was still a low-scoring match as Fanta led 2-1 thanks to a reversal. In the decisive period, Colon tied it up with an escape before Fanta regained the lead with a takedown and Fanta held on for the 7-4 win.

Huskie 141-pounder, Tristen DeShazer kept the throttle down as he scored his eighth pin of the season, recording the win by fall over EMU’s Mike LeHolm (Jackson, Mich.-Jackson Northwest) in just 2:47 to give NIU a 12-0 lead after three matches.

An active first period that saw three takedowns and three escapes led to NIU’s Vince Castillo getting out to a 5-3 lead after one against Corey Phillips (Canton, Mich.-Canton) at 149 pounds. Phillips struggled to attain any momentum as the match went on and came up short in a 9-5 decision.

At 157, EMU’s Aaron Sulzer (Cleveland, Ohio-Holy Name) looked to get the Eagles off the schneid, but to no avail as NIU’s Bryan Deutsch set the tone early with a first period takedown. All Sulzer managed was a pair of escapes in the 6-2 defeat.

EMU senior Nick Hendrick (Columbiaville, Mich.-Powers Catholic) finally gave the Green and White the answer they had been looking for in the 165-pound bout. Hendrick struggled early on in the match, failing to build any sort of momentum until the later stages when he scored a reversal to pull him to within a 3-2 score of NIU’s Matt Mougin. After that, the tables turned and Hendrick gave the Eagles just the spark they were looking for with a pin at 6:02 to put EMU on the board and cut the deficit to 18-6.

At 174, EMU’s Chris Eggert (Dundee, Mich.-Dundee) added to the excitement with a 4-1 decision and things started to look up for the Eagles. However, Brad Dieckhaus of NIU put a stop to the run with a 5-1 decision over Khodor Hoballah (Dearborn, Mich.-Dearborn) at 184.

Despite needing two pins down the stretch and only getting one, the Eagles finished the match on a positive note by grabbing the final two victories. Nick Whitenburg (Temperance, Mich.-Bedford) at 197 snagged a 5-3 decision away from NIU’s Mike Lukowski while EMU senior and 18th-ranked David Wade (Beavercreek, Ohio-Beavercreek) recorded a win by fall over Dakota Greenhaw in 4:!0, bringing the final tally to 21-18, NIU.

The Eagles will be back in action Wednesday, Feb. 9, when they make the trek out East to take on Mid-American Conference foe, Buffalo on the road. Action is slated to begin at 7 p.m.

Northern Illinois 21, Eastern Michigan 18
125: Nick Smith (NIU) dec. Jared Germaine (EMU), 7-4
133: Kevin Fanta (NIU) dec. Filiberto Colon (EMU), 7-4
141: Tristen DeShazer (NIU) fall Mike LeHolm (EMU), 2:47
149: Vince Castillo (NIU) dec. Corey Phillips (EMU), 9-5
157: Bryan Deutsch (NIU) dec. Aaron Sulzer (EMU), 6-2
165: Nick Hendrick (EMU) fall Matt Mougin (NIU), 6:02
174: Chris Eggert (EMU) dec. Caleb Busson (NIU), 4-1
184: Brad Dieckhaus (NIU) dec. Khodor Hoballah (EMU), 5-1
197: Nick Whitenburg (EMU) dec. Mike Lukowski (NIU), 5-3
285: David Wade (EMU) fall Dakota Greenhaw (NIU), 4:10

Courtesy of Luke Pattarozzi, Graduate Assistant, Athletic Media Relations, Eastern Michigan University

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