Wrestling: Bulls fall to Northern Illinois

USA TODAY Sports

At Senior night, the Bulls came up short against MAC Rival Northern Illinois losing 20-14.

Heading into the final match of the night, the Bulls were down 17-14 and were one victory away from picking up their first dual-meet win in MAC competition and sending the five man senior class out with a victory in their final dual at Alumni Arena. However, the end result was not what the Bulls had hoped it would be.

After starting the match on fire with three straight victories by Max Soria, Justin Farmer, and Nick Flannery, and building a 11-0 lead, the Bulls would only win 1 other match the rest of the night as Sophomore Tony Lock picked up his team leading 18th victory of the season.

The Bulls struggled in the middleweight classes dropping four straight decisions; including two nail-biters at 149 and 174. Ryan Todora fell to Rob Jilard of NIU by a score of 6-4, and Billy Chancey of NIU eked out a 2-1 decision over UB's Rrok Ndokaj. Then, with UB down 14-11, sophomore superstar Tony Lock stepped up to the plate as he has all season and pulled through for the Bulls. He scored a breath-taking takedown on NIU's Caleb Busson as the buzzer rang to win by a decision of 3-1.

Finally, heading into the final two matches of the night, the Bulls needed Angelo Malvestuto and James Benjemin to pick up victories to secure the upset win over the Huskies. But, as the final score indicated, neither picked up a victory. Malvestuto dropped a 6-1 decision to Shawn Scott at 197; while, Benjamin dropped a 7-4 decision to Jarred Torrence.

The Bulls finished out the regular season with a 3-17 overall record, with an 0-8 mark in MAC competition. Coach Stutzman's first regular season at the helm was rocky given the learning curve and lack of experience across many of the weight classes fielded by UB. Coupling the inexperience with an absolutely brutal schedule involving several teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation, and the Bulls struggled to produce team wins. However, despite the lack of wins as a team, Coach Stutzman has instilled a good attitude in the team and every wrestler has wrestled hard against difficult competition and this UB squad will only get better as Stutzman builds his program.

The Bulls are not done yet, though; they have a week off before heading to the MAC Championships at Kent State on March 9th. From there, any Bulls qualifying for NCAA's will be heading to Oklahoma City to compete in the National Tournament on March 21st.

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