For the second time in less than 30 days, the Loras College Duhawks hit the mats to faceoff against the Central College Dutch. Tonight, the teams would fight for a fifth place finish in the Iowa Conference.
Despite adding Reuben Reyes at 125-pounds, Loras was once again forced to forfeit after Reyes was deemed ineligible to wrestle. Nick Steger jumped up at 133-pounds and defeated Aaron Anderson 3-1 to get Loras on the board. Following his pin of TJ Peretti a month ago, Evan Weaver was able to earn Loras three points in a close and hard fought match with a final of 5-4.
In what could be considered the biggest match of the night, Greg Vance returned at 149-pounds to wrestle Ryan Davis. In their first match this season, Davis won by major decision 15-7. This time around, Vance put together a game plan and executed to near perfection. Vance took this victory 15-3 and scored four points for Loras. Little did he know at the time that it would be that extra point that helped bring Loras to victory.
"Greg's performance was huge. Coming back after the major decision last month took a lot on his part," Head Coach Randy Steward said.
Coming off a 13-10 victory Thursday night against UW-Platteville, Joe Butler earned three points at 165-pounds for the Duhawks with his 7-3 victory over Jon Heffner. At 174#, Stephan Birt brought home four points for the Duhawks with his 11-3 major decision over Greg Barner. The extra point earned, in addition with the extra point that Vance earned would prove to be the difference in the match.
With the score 18-17 in favor of the Dutch, James Buss stepped up to the mat, hoping to replicate the result of his previous encounter with Jake Crawford. Knowing that the match and Loras' final conference position was on the line, Buss came flying out with a huge adrenaline spike, leading to an early point lead. Despite being down, Crawford refused to be pinned, leading to a full-time match, with Buss coming out on top 10-6.
The victory marks only the second back-to-back win for the Duhawks, and couldn't have come at a better time. With only two duals remaining on their schedule, the focus will quickly turn to individual performances at the NCAA Regionals on March 2nd, which will be held at the Five Flags Center.
"We need to win the duals that we have a chance to win; we knew tonight was going to be closer than it was in January," Steward said.
Loras will close out their home schedule next Tuesday as they host Augustana on Senior Night. Steward knows the importance of Tuesday's match, not only in terms of his team's future, but also for his wrestlers gaining momentum going forward.