Gophers close season with victory

Minnesota finished its regular season with 32-12 victory versus Rider University.

Owen Mageau

The No. 19 Gophers finished their regular season on a positive note.

Minnesota (8-6, 4-4 Big Ten) knocked off Rider (13-5, 5-1 MAAC) 32-12 Friday in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

It was Minnesota’s third consecutive victory, which has head coach Brandon Eggum feeling good about his team heading into the Big Ten Championships.

“We were impressed with the way the guys intensity was,” Eggum said. “From the very beginning of the dual, I think the guys were good in all three areas, top, bottom and on their feet.”

Minnesota won seven of the 10 matches in the dual. Ethan Lizak got Minnesota on the board first with a 15-0 tech fall at 125. Mitch McKee added to Minnesota’s early lead when he won via the pin at 133 pounds right after Lizak’s victory. Minnesota had three more falls later in the dual.

The Gophers also got victories from Miles Patton, Jake Short and Rylee Streifel. Patton won a 10-6 decision at 149, Short won an 8-2 decision at 157 and Streifel won an 8-2 decision to close out the evening at HWT.

The Gophers who came up short were Ben Brancale at 141, Nick Wanzek at 165 and Chris Pfarr at 174.  Brancale lost a 6-2 decision, Pfarr lost a 3-2 decision and Wanzek was pinned.

The injured Steve Bleise, Bobby Steveson and Owen Webster, Tommy Thorn missed Friday’s dual. Eggum said Thorn probably could have wrestled, but they didn’t want to risk anything. They’d rather have him healthy for the Big Ten Championships.

The Gophers are off until March 3, when they travel to East Lansing, Michigan for the conference championships. Eggum said the weeks ahead will look like for his team, as they prepare for the upcoming postseason.

“We will use [Saturday} for a recovery lift for the guys and Sunday we will be off,” Eggum said. “We will be off the mat for a few days and then we will get back to work. Everyone is a little bit different, so we sometimes tailor our training based on the individual. We will make sure to try and get them together as a team.”