Down by one point, the match came down to junior Will Lewan. He had his opponent in several single leg situations, just missing scoring takedowns, but these moves began to take a toll on his opponent, wearing him down. Lewan’s hard work played to his advantage in the tiebreakers that brought home the win for Michigan.
With this dramatic 18-16 win over No. 8 Ohio State (5-3 Big Ten), No. 2 Michigan (4-1) remained undefeated, though it later lost to No. 3 Penn State (4-0) on Sunday to end that streak.
“The mat wrestling in those tiebreakers paid off in Will’s favor because he did the extra work to ride really hard in some of those critical moments, couple mat returns and that’s the difference,” Michigan coach Sean Bormet said. “He’s pretty solid in all positions and I think that was really what paid off.
“Will’s capable of winning the really tough gritty matches, and I’ve seen him do it many times in the recruiting process and also while he’s been in college, so we felt confident as that match kept going that it would go in Will’s favor.”
The Wolverines hadn’t competed in four weeks, and although the Buckeyes took a quick 7-4 lead after the first three matches, Michigan answered with a 8-5 win by decision by fifth-year senior Myles Amine in the 197 weight class to tie up the score 7-7. Though still recovering from a hand injury, Amine was able to battle through and put up a win for the Wolverines.
“I was cleared to wrestle earlier this week and I said, ‘Let’s go and let’s get it,’ ” Amine said. “I battled through it and was just excited to be back out there competing. It was a really close dual, so I was excited that we were able to pull that one off as a team.”
In the second half, Michigan’s momentum continued with a dominant performance from junior Mason Parris at heavyweight. He started off strong from the jump, forcing a near fall and quick takedowns, and secured riding time. With 50 seconds left in the match, Parris beat his opponent by technical fall to win the match 20-5 and extend the Wolverines’ overall lead to five.
The Wolverines dropped a match in the 125-pound weight class, putting more pressure on Jack Medley’s 133-pound match against Ohio State’s Jacob Decatur.
The match started off in a stalemate, with no score in the first period, but Medley toughed it out wrestling on the inside, going in for the legs and being able to clear his ankles even when he was in a compromised position to avoid lost points.
The match started picking up pace in the second period with Medley getting an early escape, then shortly after adding on another two points with a swift takedown. He nearly got another takedown, but Decatur was able to counter with an escape to even up the score. Medley countered this, utilizing great technique to get another takedown and secure riding time. In the last seconds, Decatur got another escape, but it was too late and Medley won the match by decision, 6-4.
“Jack has made some good adjustments with just getting the legs, and that was gonna be a big thing tonight, getting the legs early in that match,” Bormet said. “He was getting a lot of quality attacks on both sides of the body attacking the head, and those are things that he’s been focusing on ever since Indiana.”
After Medley, the momentum shifted with two Michigan losses. As a result, the Wolverines faced a one-point deficit going into the final match of the dual, which Lewan won to give Michigan the victory and set the Wolverines back on track after a long hiatus from competition.
“I think we did a good job, winning a very hard fought dual with a great team effort,” Bormet said. “We just have to get back in the flow of competition from where we left off four weeks ago to just kind of how we looked overall tonight, just some little things you notice.
“We needed to be in the fire, and be in these tough matches tonight with Ohio State, Sunday with Penn State. This weekend was so important for us to be prepared for the Big Ten Championships and the NCAAs.”
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