NOVI, Mich. — With a tight grasp on his opponent’s leg, Sal Profaci flipped Nikko Villarreal to his back. The redshirt sophomore had to settle for a near fall, but his major decision win clinched the victory for the third-ranked Wolverines in their meet against No. 6 Arizona State, 21-18.
It wasn’t the only major decision victory of the night as redshirt sophomores Logan Massa and Stevan Micic each had one of their own. Micic had three takedowns and a near fall in the first period alone on his way to a 15-5 finish.
Massa, though, didn’t have as hot a start. No. 6 Anthony Valencia did an acrobatic flip over Massa to catch him off guard. Massa fell to his back and was nearly pinned, but fought Valencia off to stay alive. Three straight takedowns in the third period and an extra point from accumulated riding time propelled Massa to an 11-3 victory.
“Regardless of where he’s at he’s looking to score another takedown,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “He just wants to run you into the ground. He doesn’t look at the score. That doesn’t determine how he’s going to compete. He flips a switch and goes.”
Fifth-year senior Adam Coon was back for his first dual meet in over a year after missing out on last season due to shoulder surgery. Coon nearly had a pin in the first period, but time ran out before it was awarded. While he wasn’t entirely impressed with himself, he still closed out his match against fourth-ranked Sun Devil Tanner Hall, 5-2.
“I’m not quite as aggressive as I was when I went out a couple years ago,” Coon said. “There’s a couple areas to work on, but it’s nice to be back.”
Michigan claimed six of the 10 matches with two of its losses being forfeits. The Wolverines were forced to exit the 149-pound bout early due to redshirt junior Malik Amine hitting his head during the match and the 125-pound dual ended before it even began. The Wolverines were torn between giving redshirt sophomore Austin Assad more time to heal from a nagging injury and burning redshirts from two true freshmen, so they opted for the former.
Despite missing out on those 12 points, Michigan had enough firepower to close out the match.
The fact that their first dual meet was against such an impressive opponent didn’t faze the Wolverines. If anything, it proved to them that they can achieve their season goal — becoming NCAA champions.
“We’ve got a really stacked crew here,” Profaci said. “There’s been a lot of talk, we want to be national champs. We feel that we have the team to do it.”