Meyer Stacks Illinois, Sparks Hawkeye Rally

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Jan. 16, 2015


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IOWA CITY, IowaAlex Meyer got his Carver-Hawkeye Arena moment and the top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team clawed its way to a 25-12 victory over No. 11 Illinois on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Illini led 12-10 after six matches — picking up a technical fall at 157 and major decision at 165 — before Meyer took the mat and erased what looked like might be Iowa’s third straight loss. Trailing 5-3 with 1:32 left in the third, Meyer continued to pressure sixth-ranked Zac Brunson to the final second, eventually stacking and sticking Brunson at 6:59.

Wrestling Herky

“I heard cheering and I heard a buzzer,” said Meyer, “but I heard a slap first so I was pretty sure I won.”

The win was the first of Meyer’s career against a ranked opponent. It gave the Hawkeyes a 16-12 lead and sparked a string of four straight wins.

“Big swing match,” added Meyer. “Getting bonus points is going to win dual meets, national titles, and so on.”

The Hawkeyes had won three-of-four to open a 10-3 lead after 149. Thomas Gilman opened the dual with seven takedowns in an 18-6 major decision at 125. Josh Dziewa’s takedown in the final minute gave him a 3-2 win at 141, and Brandon Sorensen rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to cruise, 11-5, at 149.

Gilman’s major decision was his sixth of the season, tying Sorensen for the team lead, but it left him unsatisfied.

“We needed a tech fall and I didn’t get the tech fall,” he said. “I thought I had a quick two-count, maybe not. I let him lay there a little too much. I should have tried to rip his arm off a little to get him moving, but I didn’t quite do that.”

Illinois got on the board with a 6-5 win at 133. Cory Clark scored a takedown in the final minute to tie the match, 5-5, but he cut fifth-ranked Zane Richards and was unable to get back to the legs. Clark had thought he finished a takedown earlier in the third, but he didn’t get the call and was forced to race against the clock.

“I thought I had it, but it doesn’t really matter because I should have just kept wrestling and cleared the arms,” said Clark. “I broke his lock, but I thought I had it and I thought he was laying on his stomach, but the clock was ticking.

“That’s on me. I should have just kept wrestling and instead I was assuming I had a takedown, but you should be sure you have a takedown.”

After Meyer put Iowa in front for the final time, the Hawkeyes extended their lead with wins at 184, 197, and 285. Sammy Brooks piled up 2:36 of riding time to win, 7-1, at 184. Nathan Burak finished a takedown with 34 seconds on the clock to win 3-2, at 197, and Telford used one escape, two points for stalling, and 1:57 riding time to blank Brooks Black, 4-0, at 285.

“They won three matches, but I feel like they won the majority of the matches,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “We’re greedy, and I’m a poor sport, but we can do better. But don’t let that take the spotlight away from Alex Meyer. That attack he hit, he can do that earlier, and he can get the first one and he can do it and do it and do it. That’s what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to believe. I give Meyer a lot of credit and we’ve got to put the spotlight on him.”

The Hawkeyes (9-0, 4-0) return to the mat Friday, Jan. 23, hosting Northwestern on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We’ll be back one week from today,” said Brands. “We haven’t had seven days off in a while, so we have to be smart and ready to go.”

NOTES: Attendance was 8,652… Alex Meyer defeated a ranked opponent for the first time in his career… Brunson was the first ranked opponent Meyer has faced this season… Meyer is 3-0 all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena… Cory Clark lost for the first time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (10-1)… Logan Thomsen made his dual debut… Bobby Telford (18-0) and Nathan Burak (12-0) remain undefeated on the season.

#1 IOWA 25, #11 Illinois 12
125 – #5 Thomas Gilman (IA) major dec. Dominic Olivieri (ILL), 18-6; 4-0
133 – #5 Zane Richards (ILL) dec. #4 Cory Clark (IA), 6-5; 4-3
141 – #8 Josh Dziewa (IA) dec. #13 Steven Rodriguez (ILL), 3-2; 7-3
149 – #3 Brandon Sorensen (IA) dec. Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 11-5; 10-3
157 – #5 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech. fall #15 Michael Kelly (IA), 21-6; 10-8
165 – #8 Jackson Morse (ILL) major dec. Logan Thomsen (IA), 12-1; 10-12
174 – Alex Meyer (IA) pinned #6 Zac Brunson (ILL), 6:59; 16-12
184 – #8 Sammy Brooks (IA) dec. #20 Nikko Reyes (ILL), 7-1; 19-12
197 – #5 Nathan Burak (IA) dec. Jeff Koepke (ILL), 3-2; 22-12
285 – #1 Bobby Telford (IA) dec. Brooks Black (ILL), 4-0; 25-12

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