Feb. 3, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue wrestling team will close out it's Big Ten dual schedule this Sunday, traveling to Indiana University for the 98th meeting between the intrastate archrivals in series history. Sunday's dual is set for 2 p.m. (ET) as the Boilermakers look to improve upon their 7-9 (2-5 Big Ten) record, while the Hoosiers enter the weekend 6-6 (0-6) Big Ten and travel to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday before hosting Purdue.
The Hoosiers lead the all-time series, 62-32-3, including a 29-15-2 advantage in Bloomington, dating to the inaugural matchup on Feb. 24, 1914. Purdue hasn't won on Indiana's home turf since 2003, but the two schools have split the last four meetings with the Boilermakers winning in 2008 (18-16) and 2011 (21-12), and the Hoosiers taking the victory in 2009 (21-12) and 2010 (22-17).
While Indiana is in search of its first conference victory this season, the Boilermakers look to finish the conference dual schedule at 3-5 for the second straight season with a win on Sunday. It would pull the Old Gold and Black within one win of a .500 record as Purdue looks for its sixth straight season with a .500-dual mark or better. In addition, the winner earns a point in the Crimson and Gold Cup standings; the annual all-sports trophy between the Boilermakers and Hoosiers. Indiana currently leads this year's race, 4.0-to-3.5, and there will be a half-point at stake in Saturday's men's basketball meeting at Mackey Arena.
"There's a lot on the line Sunday," said Purdue head coach Scott Hinkel. "We always want to beat our rival school and earn that point for Purdue, but this is also our last conference dual and we want to end on a high note."
Despite a narrow loss to 18th-ranked Northwestern last Sunday, the Boilermakers had a lot of positives come out of the weekend. Senior Roger Vukobratovich led the group with his 3-1 upset victory over 13th-ranked freshman Mike McMullan, earning his first career national ranking from InterMat as he grabbed the No. 20 spot at heavyweight. Fellow senior A.J. Kissel, junior Ivan Lopouchanski and freshman Braden Atwood were victorious as well as the Boilermakers were just three points shy of topping the Wildcats. Atwood moved into a three-way tie for the team pin lead with fellow rookie Brandon Nelsen and senior Matt Fields with his eighth of the season. Yielding the starting nod to Fields at 133 pounds on Sunday, ninth-ranked sophomore Cashé Quiroga competed in the Ashland University Simonson Open on Saturday, winning the tournament title with a fall, a technical fall and a pair of major decisions.
Indiana will wrestle in a pair of duals at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday before hosting the Boilermakers Sunday in University Gymnasium. The Hoosiers are led by their pair of nationally ranked grapplers in third-ranked 197-pound senior Matt Powless and 18th-ranked 149-pound freshman Taylor Walsh. Powless is an impressive 24-3 on the season, including an 11-0 dual record, eight major decisions and four falls, while Walsh is 22-7 overall with an 11-1 dual mark and 10 falls. Other noteworthy individuals in the lineup include senior 141-pounder Matt Ortega, sophomore 174-pounder Ryan LeBlanc and sophomore heavyweight Adam Chalfant. Ortega is 20-10 overall, including a 4-3 victory over Nelsen at the Eastern Michigan Open in November, LeBlanc is 21-9 and Chalfant is 15-8, joining the Hoosier roster at the semester after transferring from Harper College.
Updates from Sunday's dual will be available via TrackWrestling.com and the @PurdueWrestling Twitter Page, in addition to a live blog courtesy of IUHoosiers.com.