Mattingly shows heart in loss to No.1 ranked Houdashelt
In wrestling dual meets, each athlete in the lineup is responsible for fulfilling a role to keep their team in contention.
These responsibilities can range anywhere from simply needing to secure a win in an individual match, to scoring an amount of points, to taking a loss without getting pinned. Like in the case of senior 149-pounder Scott Mattingly, sometimes it means knowingly stepping out on the mat against a superior opponent.
Mattingly was given the task of wrestling the No.1 ranked 149-pounder in a dual against Missouri, Sunday in McGuirk Arena. MU junior Drake Houdashelt holds a 22-1 record this season with tournament championship wins at the South Dakota State Open, Joe Parisi Open, UNI Open and Southern Scuffle.
Coming into the seventh match of the dual, the Chippewas trailed 10-9 on the heels of a comeback led by the lower weight-classes. Mattingly had little chance of beating Houdashelt, however he had a responsibility to keep the score within striking distance for CMU to take the lead.
Houdashelt cruised to 13 points, with Mattingly struggling to remain competitive in the match, 13-4 moving into the third period. If Houdashelt won by a margin of eight points, also known as a major decision, Missouri would be awarded an additional team point instead of the three gained through a victory by decision.
These team points were critical, with each one having the potential to turn the tide of the meet. This was even more vital with only three matches left.
Central Michigan had already given up one major decision in sophomore Jackson Lewis' 11-0 loss to No. 6 J'den Cox at 197 pounds. Another bonus point could not be afforded.
For a majority of the third period, Houdashelt had control on top, a position Missouri commanded throughout the match. With only seconds to spare, Mattingly recorded a reversal worth two more points to make the score 13-6, maintaining the decision.
“At the end there, I was just trying to finish the match out,” Mattingly said. “I knew that it would have helped the team out to not let them get that bonus point.”
Head Coach Tom Borrelli said Mattingly was able to secure his points because he was in the right position to make his move.
“Scott did a really good job of getting a reversal,” Borrelli said. “He was in a good position where his opponent had a leg in and I’ve always felt that he was good in that situation.”
Houdashelt had been running legs on Mattingly throughout the third period. Borrelli said he spoke with Mattingly during a pause in the action, advising him to stay in there and make a final push because of his abilities on bottom.
Mattingly said it was all about managing to finish out a match that had not gone his way, but still finding a way to make it better for himself and his team. It was that relentless attitude that kept CMU within striking distance with a chance to seal a win over one of the best teams in the nation.
“I was just trying to wrestle for all seven minutes,” Mattingly said.
Ultimately, the Chippewas fell to the Tigers, 16-15. However, it could have been a very different match if the momentum had swung a different way, and making their opponent earn every team point will be something CMU will strive for as conference play continues.