Bulls lose in overtime of final match after late rally on Senior Day
On Senior day, the wrestling team was unable to send off its seniors with a victory in the last home dual meet of their careers in Alumni Arena.
The Bulls (1-10, 1-4 Mid-American Conference) lost a heart-breaking match 20-18 to rival Northern Illinois (8-8, 1-5 MAC) on Saturday afternoon. Buffalo came from behind to take a 18-17 lead before losing the heavyweight match.
Senior John Martin-Cannon was unable to wrestle for the Bulls due to an ongoing knee injury while junior Mark Lewandowski went out on top, winning by technical fall 15-0 in the 165-pound weight class, which helped the Bulls make up ground in their comeback attempt.
"It was nice to finish out that way," Lewandowski said. "It's been a long ride here at UB so it was a good feeling finishing out with a clear-cut victory."
The dual win was also Lewandowski's 107th of his career.
Head coach Jim Beichner was impressed with Lewandowski's technical fall and praised his leadership ability.
"I thought it was very fitting for Mark to go out there and dominate the same way he has for the past three years in this program," Beichner said. "He's a team leader in every way possible and leads by example."
Cannon has battled injuries the entire season and after re-aggravating his knee against Kent State two weeks ago, he was unable to wrestle in the 174-pound match. Beichner is confident Cannon will be able to return to the lineup this season.
"Best case scenario, he's ready for the last dual meet of the season against Purdue," Beichner said. "Worst case scenario, he'll be ready for the MAC Championships."
After losing twice by major decision and once by fall, the Bulls placed themselves in a hole with the score 14-7 in favor of the Huskies. Lewandowski's win by technical fall helped them make up ground. The Bulls benefited from the return of freshman Tony Lock and sophomore Angelo Malvestuto into the lineup, as both won matches the Bulls needed, giving them a 18-17 lead. Lock won a 6-1 decision over Bryan Loughlin in the 184-pound match, while Malvestuto defeated Northern Illinois' Parker Settecase 5-2 in the 197-pound match.
It came down to the final match and Buffalo was not on the winning side. Sophomore heavyweight Justin Heiserman lost a thrilling sudden-death overtime match. Northern Illinois' heavyweight Justin Torrence earned a takedown after several overtime periods, giving the Bulls yet another last second loss.
Despite the injuries, Beichner believed his team still should have won the dual meet.
"Today we had enough guys in the lineup with the return of Tony Lock and Angelo Malvestuto to win this dual," Beichner said. "We should have won this match even without John-Martin Cannon."
Sophomore Max Soria started off the match for the Bulls and delivered with a dominant 10-0 major decision victory over Derek Elmore in the 125-pound match. Erik Galloway also won for the Bulls, defeating Kevin Fanta 16-9. Galloway nearly had a major decision of his own after leading 12-2 after two periods, but Fanta was able to pick up several takedowns in the final period to avoid the major.
Sophomore Blake Roulo lost by fall. Roulo had been on a hot streak as of late, having won 10 of his past 12 matches. But the 149-pounder struggled Saturday and got pinned in the second period.
The Bulls will try to put a difficult season behind them heading into the MAC Championships on March 10, which will be held in Alumni Arena.
"At that point, I'm hoping to have our 10 best guys on the mat," Beichner said. "It's been so long, sometimes it's hard to remember what having those 10 look like."
The Bulls will next head to Lancaster, Pa. for the Regional Duals on Feb. 23.
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