Coming off of its first conference win of the season, the wrestling team traveled to Central Michigan confident that it had turned a corner.
However, that confidence soon gave way to heartbreak as the Bulls (8-8, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) dropped a highly competitive meet to the No. 25-ranked Chippewas (6-8, 2-1 MAC) by the score of 19-14.
After falling behind 9-0 early on in the match, the Bulls stormed back to take an 11-9 lead behind major decisions from junior Desi Green and sophomore Mark Lewandowski.
Junior John-Martin Cannon followed Green and Lewandowski by defeating Central Michigan's Eric Cubberly with a 6-4 decision in the 165-pound weight class.
Sophomore Ron Majerus attempted to replicate Cannon's gutsy performance for the Bulls in the 174-pound weight class, but the Chippewas' Ben Bennett, ranked seventh in the nation, proved to be too much to handle. Bennett clipped Majerus by the score of 11-0. The victory gave the Chippewas a 13-11 advantage over the Bulls.
Assistant coach Frank Beasley didn't feel that the momentum shifted in Central Michigan's favor after Majerus wasn't able to keep the win streak going.
"I felt that it was a returning All-American we were wrestling [in Bennett], and it wasn't a match we were supposed to win on paper," Beasley said. "We were hoping Ron would find a way to win, but he went out there and was just outmatched. But that didn't take the momentum away."
The Bulls briefly regained the lead after senior Jimmy Hamel picked up his 29th victory of the season by defeating Central Michigan's Craig Kelliher by the score of 5-3 in the 184-pound weight class.
However, that would be the last highlight of the day for the Bulls. Sophomores Josh Peters and Brett Correll dropped the next two matches, giving the Chippewas the win.
Beasley was disappointed in the result but did not blame any of the wrestlers for the outcome.
"[Peters and Correll] both fought really hard, and worked hard in their matches," Beasley said. "It's unfortunate that the outcome wasn't what we had hoped for."
The Bulls will look to end the regular season on a high note and go into the MAC Tournament with a victory when they take on Northern Illinois next Sunday at Alumni Arena.
"We need to go out there and win, and we're looking to dominate," Beasley said. "Our goal in that match is to end the dual meet season in dominating fashion in front of a great home crowd. That should give us momentum going into the MAC Tournament. There's a lot of parity in the MAC and I really feel, if we wrestle to our potential, we can win a championship."
The final home meet of the season will begin at 1 p.m.