Nov. 29, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue wrestling team continues its dual campaign this Thursday, heading to DeKalb, Ill. to face Northern Illinois University (NIU) at Victor E. Court in the NIU Convocation Center at 7 p.m. (CT). The Boilermakers sit at 2-4 in dual competition after going 1-3 at last weekend's Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals, while the Huskies are 3-2 on the year following a 2-1 performance at the Hoosier Duals on Saturday.
The Boilermakers look to rebound from a disappointing performance in New York last weekend, winning just 14 matches on Saturday. Senior Matt Fields led the Purdue effort at 133 pounds, scoring 22 of a possible 24 team points with a major decision and three pins, while freshman Braden Atwood was 3-1 at 184 pounds and fellow rookie Drake Stein was 2-1 at 174 pounds.
"We weren't happy with the way we wrestled at the Northeast Duals, but we learned some things and we came away with some positives," said Purdue head coach Scott Hinkel. "Thursday is another opportunity to correct some of our mistakes and get back on the winning path."
NIU is fresh off a solid performance in Bloomington, where they posted wins over Campbell and SIU-Edwardsville, 22-14 and 25-7, respectively, but fell to the hosts, 22-12. The Huskies are led by 20th-ranked fifth-year senior 184-pounder Brad Dieckhaus, who swept his three bouts on Saturday to open his individual season. Dieckhaus won the 2011 MAC Championship en route to an NCAA Championships bid, where he finished 1-2. Others to look out for in the NIU lineup include 8-1 sophomore Nick Smith at 125 pounds, 2-0 sophomore Kevin Fanta at 141 pounds and 6-3 freshman Tyler Loethen at 157 pounds.
Boilermaker standouts Cashé Quiroga and A.J. Kissel remain questionable for Thursday's contest as neither competed at last weekend's duals in New York. Quiroga is eighth in the nation at 133 pounds, while Kissel is 11th at 197 pounds. Things get tougher for the Old Gold and Black this week as they'll be without 10th-ranked junior Ivan Lopouchanski at 149 pounds on Thursday as he was injured in loss to No. 9 Donnie Vinson of Binghamton, Lopouchanski's first loss as a Boilermaker.
Fields has been solid in Quiroga's absence, putting together an 8-4 mark including four pins and a pair of major decisions. He's given up just three escapes in 12 matches and is second on the team with six reversals. Atwood has begun tripping tongues across the nation as well, earning recognition from four national polls this week after his 15-3 major decision over No. 20 Nat Schiedel of Binghamton on Saturday. He's been ranked between 18th and 25th in the nation at 184 pounds, and looks to takedown his second ranked opponent of the season in Dieckhaus.
Other Boilermakers to keep an eye on this weekend include Stein, sophomore Kyle Mosier and senior Roger Vukobratovich. At 6-3 on the season, Stein has five bonus-point victories, and his three falls are good for second on the team. Mosier is 7-4 on the year at 165 pounds, including an 11-7 decision over returning NCAA Qualifier Matt Kaylor of Binghamton. Mosier was second at the Eastern Michigan Open this year and three of his four losses have come to Top-15 ranked opponents. Vukobratovich is 6-4 so far this season, including a 5-3 victory over No. 17 Mike McClure of Michigan State, and has surrendered just three takedowns in his 10 contests. One of those came at the hands of sixth-ranked Levi Cooper of Arizona State and the other two to fourth-ranked defending NCAA Champion Zach Rey of Lehigh, while Vukobratovich has amassed 16 takedowns of his own.
Thursday's match will be webcast live by the Huskies at NIUHuskies.com, while live results will be available courtesy of TrackWrestling.com. In addition, there will be live play-by-play updates at the @PurdueWrestling Twitter account.