Libertyville holds off Stevenson in NSC showdown
There was a raucous crowd in place when No. 8-ranked host Libertyville met rival squad Stevenson in their North Suburban Conference wrestling season-opener Friday night.
The fast-paced, high-scoring dual meet came down to the last two matches, but the host Wildcats held off the pesky Patriots for an exciting 41-32 NSC victory.
Starting at 132 pounds, Libertyville (2-1, 1-0) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as Trevor Jean posted a 13-6 decision over Stevenson's Everett Ciezak.
The 11th-ranked Patriots (2-1, 0-1) responded with a technical fall by No. 3-ranked Cole Rhemrev at 138 before the Wildcats got a 15-2 major decision by Michael Rocco at 145 to regain a 7-5 edge.
Stevenson's Thomas Schoolman gave the Pats the lead back with an 11-3 major decision at 152, but Libertyville's upper weights took command of the meet after that bout.
A pin in 1:39 by 160-pounder Matt Kubas was followed by a technical fall by Austin Gomez at 160, a pin by Josh Knudten at 170, and a technical fall by Cole Matulenko at 195 to stake the Wildcats to a commanding 29-9 lead with six matches remaining.
"Obviously Libertyville is not just one of the best teams in the conference and Lake County, but in the state of Illinois," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook, whose team is at the Grant triple-dual meet on Saturday.
"We gave it everything we had, but Libertyville just has a stronger lineup top to bottom than us at this point in the season."
Stevenson freshman Jacob Whiting (220) pinned his opponent in 3:13, but Libertyville's Caleb Christensen (285) answered that with a pin in 1:40 to maintain the Wildcats' 20-point lead.
The Pats made a huge late surge with their powerful lower weights as pins by Andrew Chamkin at 106, and Yash Jagtap at 113, cut the Wildcats' lead to 35-27 with two bouts left.
But a pin by Libertyville's Caelan Riley (113) in 3:59 sealed the Wildcats' victory as they held a 41-27 lead with one match to go. Stevenson standout Lorenzo Frezza closed out the meet with a technical fall at 126 to account for the final score.
"We won the coin flip and got the draw that we wanted at 195 and that helped a lot," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert, who recorded his 619th career dual-meet victory.
"As it turned out we won eight matches to their six, and that was one (195) that we were not really sure on unless we got the right matchup."
Libertyville got its 2021-22 season off to a great start last weekend with a second-place finish at the powerful, 32-team Barrington tournament followed closely by Stevenson in third place.