After getting out to a 25-3 lead early on, it looked like visiting Libertyville might be able to coast to victory Friday night at Mundelein in this North Suburban Conference wrestling dual meet.
But the host Mustangs did make things interesting as a 15-point run cut the gap to 25-18 with five matches remaining.
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That was as close as Mundelein (9-3, 0-2) would get, though, as the Wildcats (6-1, 3-0) pulled away in the end for a 39-25 NSC Lake Division victory.
Starting at 160 pounds, Libertyville jumped ahead 4-0 on senior Colton Bast's 10-0 major decision.
Senior Kayne MacCallum (11-1) pinned his opponent with 54 seconds left in the third period at 170 before a forfeit victory by 182-pound teammate Austin Koziol staked the Wildcats to an early 16-0 advantage.
Esteban Guzman got Mundelein on the scoreboard with an 8-2 decision over Jordan McInerney at 195. But Libertyville 220-pounder Kevin Barbian got those 3 team points right back with a 5-2 decision over Cesar Obispo, making the score 19-3.
Then 285-pound senior Chris McDermand recorded a pin in 3:03 and Libertyville had a commanding 22-point lead.
"Mundelein is definitely a tough team to go against and we look forward to this meet," said McDermand, who reached the Class 3A state meet last winter. "I thought it went really well tonight for what we had, and hopefully we can continue on this path."
The Mustangs began their comeback with a forfeit win by Ray Ceniceros (11-1) at 106 as Libertyville sophomore Joey Locascio was among the three key Wildcats who were out of the lineup Friday.
Sophomore Alec Riportella followed with a pin in just 48 seconds before teammate Jon Avila pulled out a hard-fought 5-2 decision over Dan Schilling at 120 benefitted by an insurance takedown with eight seconds left.
With the lead cut to just 7 points with five bouts remaining, Libertyville senior Steve Polakowski (12-1) moved up a weight class to 126 where he got a pin in 2:46 to give the Wildcats some breathing room with a 31-18 lead.
But Mundelein's Sam Riportella (11-1) kept up the pressure as his 14-4 major decision over Will Johnson at 132 cut the gap to 31-22.
Senior Tyler Brooks came up with a huge 3-2 decision over Mundelein's Matt Hutchison at 138 and the Cats led 34-22.
Mundelein's Joey Laurie did record a 7-4 decision over 145-pounder Nick Andrews, but that bout clinched the Cats' team win as they led 34-25 with one match to go.
Libertyville junior Joey Gunther looked very sharp in that last match as he recorded a technical fall in 4:49 to account for the final score.
"It was a very competitive meet and Mundelein always comes to fight," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert, who has 496 career victories heading into the Barrington double-dual meet Saturday. "I thought McDermand had a really good takedown and he played his cards right to get the pin. Brooks won a tough match and McCallum finished off really well with the pin in the end."
Mundelein coach Vinny Jiuditta was quite pleased with his squad's overall effort against a perennial power like Libertyville as the Mustangs were especially competitive at the lower weights.
"I thought all the kids battled hard and we knew we had a great team that is well coached to go against," said Jiuditta, who wrestled for Eggert during his high school days at Libertyville. "We're getting better every week, their technique is getting better, and our intensity is getting better."
Eggert is being projected to get coveted career win No. 500 on Jan. 4 at Schaumburg, when he will join a very elite group of IHSA coaches to reach that plateau.