Bulls Hold Off Eagles for Season's First Win
BUFFALO, NY - Last weekend was a frustrating one for the Buffalo wrestling team, with two of the three matches wrestled at the Virginia Duals being lost in the final bout of the match - heavyweight - to fall to 0-7 on the season. On Friday night, though, both monkeys were taken off UB's back and thrown to the mat, as the Bulls (1-7, 1-1 MAC) beat the Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-10, 0-2 MAC) 19-14 at Alumni Arena.
It was not just the team's first win of an injury-riddled season, but the dual fittingly came down to heavyweight Justin Heiserman. The sophomore won 3-1 over Khodor Hobollah to seal the win. After going up 1-0 with a quick escape in the second period, Heiserman then came out on top of a scramble to finish the second period up 3-0 and held off his opponent for the final two minutes.
"We have had a lot on his (Heiserman's) shoulders this year, and it's nice to see him come up on the good end of it," head coach Jim Beichner said. "As the heavyweight, a lot of times it comes down to you, and he handled it well tonight."
The dual started on a similar note the team has seen for the past month, with the two teams trading decisions in the lower weights. Max Soria controlled the pace in a 10-5 win over Alexander Calandrino to open the dual, and after a UB loss at 133, Erik Galloway and Blake Roulo won close matches at 141 and 149, respectively. Eastern cut into the 9-3 lead with a win at 157, but the senior leaders for UB would help extend the lead back out.
Mark Lewandowski had little trouble winning his 165-pound match, just missing his attempted major decision with a 10-3 win. Then it was time for John-Martin Cannon to show that he was not only healthy, but motivated to lead the way. After missing last weekend's action because of his third major injury within the course of the season, the senior 174 pounder was flat-out explosive in his 17-5 major decision over Jacob Davis. He recorded seven takedowns to give him 133 for his career, moving him into fifth place in the program record book.
"It would've been easy to just give up and quit because nothing was going his way," Beichner said about his senior leader, Cannon. "He's had as many significant injuries as I've ever seen an athlete suffer in a single year, but he's going out there and battling and looks great. He dominated his opponent like I've never seen him dominate anybody. He inspires me as a coach."
Cannon was happy with his result, and was encouraged by his effectiveness after the recent injury.
"The one thing that I've learned is to not feel sorry for yourself. Guys know that I'm hurt and they're going to come after me, and I think that's helped my mindset," Cannon said. "My mindset now is that I can hang with any guy in the country and everything that has happened to me this season is now a motivation for me."
The major decision gave the Bulls a 16-6 lead overall, and after the Eagles won major decisions at 184 and 197 pounds, it cut the lead to two and put the must-win pressure back on Heiserman, who came through. Coach Beichner hopes the dual's result will lead to bigger and better things for the team as a whole.
"I'm proud of our guys, they battled tonight," he said. "Eastern Michigan and Buffalo have been fighting through the same things this season - injuries - so we know what they're going through because we're going through the same thing. We weren't thinking we would be getting our first win at this point in the season, but hopefully this is a turning point for the guys."
The Bulls will head back on the road as Mid-American Conference action continues. Next will be a trip to Athens next Saturday for a 7 pm dual against the Ohio Bobcats.
Buffalo 19, Eastern Michigan 14 :: Match Summary
125: Max Soria (Buffalo) won by decision over Alexander Calandrino (Eastern Michigan) 10-5.
133: Jacob Byers (Eastern Michigan) won in sudden victory 1 over Justin Farmer (Buffalo) 3-1.
141: Erik Galloway (Buffalo) won by decision over Seth Schaner (Eastern Michigan) 3-0.
149: Blake Roulo (Buffalo) won by decision over Michael Shaw (Eastern Michigan) 2-1.
157: Aaron Sulzer (Eastern Michigan) won by decision over Wally Maziarz (Buffalo) 6-3.
165: Mark Lewandowski (Buffalo) won by decision over Jaylyn Bohl (Eastern Michigan) 10-3.
174: John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo) won by major decision over Jacob Davis (Eastern Michigan) 17-5.
184: Phillip Joseph (Eastern Michigan) won by major decision over Jarred Lux (Buffalo) 20-7.
197: Nick Whitenburg (Eastern Michigan) won by major decision over Jeff Palmeri (Buffalo) 16-5.
285: Justin Heisermen (Buffalo) won by decision over Khodar Hoballah (Eastern Michigan) 3-1.