Wrestling defeated Northern Illinois 25-6 to earn their second Mid-American Conference win in DeKalb, Ill. on Saturday.
In the final match of 2013, Central Michigan once again demonstrated the aggressive philosophy of head coach Tom Borrelli, earning 19 takedowns to Northern Illinois’ six. This resulted in another dual where the Chippewas vastly outscored their opponent in individual matches, in this case outscoring the Huskies, 65-39.
“We figured out how to win some close matches today, at 141, 133 and some others,” Borrelli said. “That is a positive; in the past we haven’t been able to win those and it has cost us some dual meets. Today, we were able to win close matches at four or five weights and that really blew the dual meet wide open.”
Against NIU (3-5), Central Michigan has won 17 of their last 18 meetings, with the last loss dating back to 2003. Saturday’s victory gives CMU a 2-0 MAC record, and 6-4 overall.
The Chippewas won all but two matches – both loses coming in overtime. Senior 184-pounder Craig Kelliher lost in the first tiebreaker period to Matt Mougin 3-2, while sophomore heavyweight Adam Robinson also lost in the first tiebreaker, 4-1.
“At 184, we started on bottom and were ridden out, and same at heavyweight, we couldn’t get off bottom,” Borrelli said. “We need to work on being better on bottom, but also we can’t let it go into overtime in the first place.”
Big victories continued to come from junior Mike Ottinger at 174-pounds, who won by major decision 12-3 and picked up a bonus team point. Ottinger is ranked No. 11 and is second in the conference in the December MAC rankings, alongside senior Joe Roth and sophomore Zach Horan.
“That’s good, but we’ve got to get our other guys up in the top three and four.” Borrelli said. “It’s important for getting them seeded in the MAC tournament and Nationals.”
No. 11 Roth won by decision in the 133-pound weight class, 18-15, preventing a comeback from NIU’s Nick Smith in the third period. No. 10 Horan advanced his dual meet record to a near-perfect 13-1, with a victory by decision at 141-pounds.
Central Michigan will look to build on this momentum as the season moves into the New Year.
The team will travel to the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn. on New Years Day. Their next dual meet is Jan. 11 at Northern Iowa.