- Adam Glanzman/Daily
By Max Cohen, Daily Sports Writer
Published February 3, 2013
Two weeks ago, the Michigan wrestling team sat in the very back of the Big Ten dual-meet standings after a blowout loss to then-No. 4 Iowa. But after winning their match Friday night at Indiana, 30-13, the 17th-ranked Wolverines had the chance to win their third dual meet in a row and bring their winning percentage back up to .500 in the conference with a win in West Lafayette against No. 18 Purdue. Though Michigan pushed the Boilermakers (4-3 Big Ten, 13-5 overall) to the brink, a lack of bonus points doomed the team in a 19-18 loss.
“It’s because of points that are left out there, that’s even harder to swallow,” said Michigan assistant coach Donny Pritzlaff.
Despite the disappointing ending to the weekend, there were bright spots for the Wolverines (2-4, 8-5) this weekend.
165-pound freshman Taylor Massa scored bonus points in both of his matches this weekend, winning a 21-4 technical fall against Indiana and a 13-1 major decision against Purdue. Ranked No. 9 in the country, Massa has earned bonus points in six consecutive matches on his way to earning a 5-0 record in Big Ten dual meets.
174-pound redshirt junior Dan Yates also earned bonus points in both of his weekend matches, winning a 9-0 major decision against Indiana (0-6, 6-8) and a 22-7 technical fall at Purdue. No. 10 Yates posted nine takedowns in his technical fall, giving Michigan an early 9-3 lead over the Boilermakers. Though the Wolverines started strong, Yates and Massa would be the only Michigan wrestlers to earn bonus points on Sunday.
The lack of bonus points destroyed Michigan’s chances against Purdue. Though each team won five of the ten matches, Purdue scored four bonus points on a pin and a major decision, while the Wolverines only scored three. Michigan had a variety of opportunities to earn the needed points in its victories, but they escaped each time.
“We’ve got to respond right away and learn what you didn’t do well and what to improve on and just kind of move on,” said 125-pound redshirt junior Sean Boyle.
Boyle played a pivotal role in giving the Wolverines the opportunity to win at Purdue. Ranked 17th in the nation, Boyle earned a 4-1 decision over No. 15 Camden Eppert to give Michigan a 15-12 lead late in the match.
Ultimately, the Wolverines faltered in the 133-pound and 141-pound weight classes, giving up seven straight points, which made it very difficult for 149-pound redshirt junior Eric Grajales to earn the necessary bonus points when facing No. 13 Ivan Lopouchanski. No. 12 Grajales won a 10-6 decision to remain undefeated in Big Ten dual meets, but Michigan left Purdue two bonus points short of victory.
At Indiana, the Wolverines closed the door on the Hoosiers early as a Grajales pin in 3:50 gave Michigan a substantial 15-0 lead only four matches into the meet. After the bonus points delivered by Yates and Massa, the Wolverines effectively clinched the victory by leading 24-4 with three matches to go.
Michigan will look to put the weekend’s disappointments behind them as it hosts the Buckeyes on Friday and travels to Michigan State on Sunday. As the team begins to prepare, the importance of these meets keeps them focused.
“You shouldn’t have to get too fired up to wrestle Ohio State,” Pritzlaff said. “We need to sweep this weekend and get back to 4-4 in the Big Ten and gain some momentum moving into the regional the following weekend.”