The Eastern Michigan University men’s wrestling team fell to the Indiana University Hoosiers Dec. 16 in their final dual meet of 2012 at Bowen Field House. The teams were tied 18-18 when the tie-breaker rules were brought out to determine a final winner.
After much confusion, the Hoosiers were declared the winners of the meet (19-18), winning by the third criteria found in the 2012-13 wrestling major rule changes: match points. The Eagles scored more total points, but the Hoosiers scored more in non-pin matches.
EMU head coach Derek DelPorto expected the meet to be very close and it was definitely nerve wracking for the team, especially because their starters Jaylyn Bohl and Nick Whitenburg still aren’t back from injuries.
This loss brought the Eagles down to 4-6 and IU improved to 6-3. Although EMU lost, this match is the closest they have been to beating IU since 2004 when they came within three points of a win (20-17).
The Eagles came to the mat prepared earning two immediate wins from redshirt juniors Phillip Joseph and Khodor Hoballah. They also notched wins from redshirt junior Jared Germaine, redshirt freshman Justin Melick and an impressive performance at the end from freshman Jacob Davis.
Joseph kicked off the afternoon at 185 pounds when he scored the first points of his match and stayed ahead of IU wrestler Luke Sheridan. Joseph finished off his opponent 10-3, earning three team points for the Eagles.
Hoballah excited EMU fans with his first period pin over Tarek Alaruri at 197 pounds. Hoballah earned the first points with a takedown within the first minute.
“I was nervous but I felt confident that I was going to wrestle my best,” Hoballah said. “I felt that he [Alaruri] wasn’t really fighting me hard.”
Hoballah’s best seemed to be enough as he kept a 10-0 lead and over two minutes of riding time when he successfully went for a pin with less than 15 seconds left in the first period. The extra points brought EMU to a 9-0 lead.
“DelPorto told me that I had to pin him,” Hoballah said.
IU claimed the 285-pound match with a 9-2 decision over redshirt freshman Anthony Abro, but the Eagles swooped in and took control of the 125-pound weight class with Germaine winning by a 5-0 decision.
The Hoosiers won four more weight classes with only three points towards the Eagles’ score from a Melick win before the final match. IU received decisions over redshirt freshman Vincent Pizzuto (133 pounds), redshirt junior Seth Schaner (141 pounds), redshirt sophomore Jacob Dorulla (165 pounds) and redshirt senior Aaron Sulzer fell to IU wrestler Taylor Walsh.
Sulzer’s loss tied the team scores at 15. EMU fan and Abro supporter Braden Price thought the score shouldn’t have been so close that late in the meet.
“I think that it’s been a very good meet but we should be winning more,” Price said.
According to DelPorto, Melick really stepped up. His score remained nonexistent until the third period when Melick not only scored, but also claimed the match with a 5-4 decision.
EMU lost their lead when IU brought the team scores to 18-15 as the last match was about to take the mat. Davis wrestled Cheney Dale in the hopes of securing a win for the Eagles.
The scoreboard remained pointless until Dale earned one point in the second period and Davis scored in the third period to tie the match and force it into overtime.
With less than 10 seconds left in overtime, Davis took down his opponent and brought the team score to 18-18.
“I felt pretty calm and I wasn’t really too nervous,” Davis said. “I knew I had to win it in order for us [EMU] to win so it was a lot of pressure but I handled it pretty well.”
Davis’ win forced the coaches to determine a winner by total match wins, falls or technical falls and match points — and IU emerged as the victors.
The Eagles finish off the calendar year at the Midlands Championship Dec. 29-30. DelPorto also plans on giving his wrestlers some much-needed rest before they take on their second hardest tournament, the NCAA tournament in March.