EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern closed out the Big Ten regular season with a dominant performance against No. 24 Illinois Friday evening at the new Welsh-Ryan Arena, winning seven of the ten bouts en route to a 25-12 victory.
No. 3 Ryan Deakin got the Wildcats on the board early with a 6-1 decision over No. 13 Eric Barone. The triumph gave Deakin nine ranked wins on the season, including four in his past six matches.
Tyler Morland followed up Deakin with another victory, recording his second Big Ten win in the past three duals. The redshirt first year brushed off a third-period injury to defeat Nick Gasbarro by a score of 5-2.
At 174, Johnny Sebastian made it three-straight for NU with a decision over UI's Carver James. Sebastian got off to quick start with two early takedowns and maintained the momentum throughout, recording a 10-5 victory to stretch the hosts' lead to six team points.
Taking on Andree Lee at 197, Zack Chakonis notched a huge result for the 'Cats with a second-period win by fall. After a scoreless first period, Lee chose to start the second on bottom, and Chakonis took advantage. He turned Lee onto his back and got the pin in just under 30 seconds, giving Northwestern a six-point team lead that it would not relinquish.
No. 12 Conan Jennings made it five wins for Chicago's Big Ten Team with a hard-fought decision in his matchup with Deuce Rachal. Jennings recorded an escape in the final period for what turned out to be the bout's only scoring, sealing a 1-0 victory over the Illinois grappler.
Sebastian Rivera continued his season-long dominance, staying undefeated at 125 lbs. with a major decision over No. 13 Travis Piotrowski. Rivera, ranked first in the country, has now beaten seven opponents appearing in the national polls.
In the final bout of the evening, Alec McKenna put the finishing touches on the NU victory, defeating Abdullah Assaf via 7-4 decision. The result gave McKenna a pair of home conference wins this month and stretched the final score to a 13-point margin in favor of the home squad.
The contest made it three ranked wins on the season for the 'Cats, including two at home in the new Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern previously took down No. 10 Virginia Tech in Evanston in November before upsetting No. 11 Wisconsin in Madison on Jan. 18.
Next up for NU is a home dual against SIUE on Senior Day in the final regular season action of the season. The match will take place at Ryan Fieldhouse and is set to start at 2 p.m. CT.
149: Christian Kanzler (ILL) dec. Shayne Oster (NU), 9-6 | ILL 3, NU 0
157: #3 Ryan Deakin (NU) dec. #13 Eric Barone (ILL), 6-1 | ILL 3, NU 3
165: Tyler Morland (NU) dec. Nick Gasbarro (ILL), 5-2 | NU 6, ILL 3
174: Johnny Sebastian (NU) dec. Carver James (ILL), 10-5 | NU 9, ILL 3
184: #5 Emery Parker (ILL) Fall Brendan Devine (NU), 4:50 | NU 9, ILL 9
197: Zack Chakonis (NU) Fall Andre Lee (ILL), 3:29 | NU 15, ILL 9
285: #12 Conan Jennings (NU) dec. Deuce Rachal (ILL), 1-0 | NU 18, ILL 9
125: #1 Sebastian Rivera (NU) maj. dec. #13 Travis Piotrowski (ILL), 14-5 | NU 22, ILL 9
133: Dylan Duncan (ILL) dec. Colin Valdiviez (NU), 6-5 (TB-1) | NU 22, ILL 12
141: Alec McKenna (NU) dec. Abdullah Assaf (ILL), 7-4 | NU 25, ILL 12