MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- A pillar of coach Tom Borrelli's philosophy with his wrestlers is aggression and bonus points.
That made the difference on Friday at McGuirk Arena.
CMU's Matt Stencel recorded a first-period pin in the 285-pound match and those six team points proved to be the difference as the Chippewas topped Northern Illinois, 18-15, in CMU's first Mid-American Conference dual of the season.
The teams split the 10 matches, but Stencel was the lone wrestler on either side to record bonus points.
"We knew this was going to be a real close match and we figured it would come down to bonus points," Borrelli said. "We actually had it going five and five and bonus points would win it. And that's what happened."
It was the second straight dual victory for the Chippewas, who are 2-2. NIU is 2-5.
PIN TO WIN
It was the eighth pin of the season for Stencel, who improved to 9-3 and is ranked 16th nationally. It came in 42 seconds, his second fastest of the season. Seven of his pins have come in the first period.
Stencel's victory put the Chippewas ahead, 15-9, with three matches remaining (the meet began at 149).
CMU sophomore Landon Pelham (197) preceded Stencel's match with a 3-2 victory, his second consecutive and the first of his career on his home mat. He improved to 3-6 and his victory evened the meet score at 9-9.
"That was probably the match of the dual meet for us," Borrelli said. "Pelham's going in 2-6. That's a big win for him and the team. That was a tossup match, a really big tossup match."
The Chippewas also got victories from Drew Hildebrandt (125), Logan Parks (157) and Jordan Atienza (184). It was the fourth straight win for Hildebrandt, who improved to 8-4; Parks has won five of his last six matches and is 8-5; Atienza is also 8-5.
The Chippewas' Brock Bergelin (133), Drew Marten (141) and Collin Lieber (174) -- all three of whom are redshirt freshman -- lost close matches in battles that went down to the wire.
None of the three surrendered bonus points, a critical factor in a tight dual, and both Bergelin and Lieber were facing opponents they had lost to earlier this season.
Bergelin dropped a 7-4 decision to senior Alijah Jeffery, while Lieber fell, 4-2, to Brit Wilson, who entered the meet 8-1 and ranked second in the MAC at 174.
Bergelin had lost to Jeffery, 9-2, earlier this season at the Michigan State Open; Lieber had dropped a 9-3 decision to Wilson at the same tournament.
"Wilson's the best kid on their team," Borrelli said. "He beat Lieber pretty good at Michigan State. Collin closed the gap really well. Bergelin really closed the gap on (Jeffery). He took the kid down and it was 5-4 (late in the third period) and he was thinking, 'Hey I can win this thing.' He's thinking right. That's what you want.
"We wrestled (NIU) a good bit at the Michigan State Open. When we walked away from that tournament we were like, we probably can't beat them in the dual meet. We saw a lot of improvement."
125: Drew Hildebrandt (C) def. Bryce West, 8-4
133: Alijah Jeffery (N) def. Brock Bergelin, 7-4
141: Anthony Cheloni (N) def. Drew Marten, 3-0
149: McCoy Kent (N) def. Dresden Simon, 5-3
157: Logan Parks (C) def. Mason Kauffman, 3-1
165: Kenny Moore (N) def. Bret Fedewa, 7-2
174: Brit Wilson (N) def. Collin Lieber, 4-2
184: Jordan Atienza (C) def. Will Feldkamp, 5-3
197: Landon Pelham (C) def. Max Ihry, 3-2
285: Matt Stencel (C) pinned Caleb Gossett, 42 seconds