No. 3 Gophers narrowly fall to No. 2 OSU

Kevin Steinhaus (top) takes down Chris Perry Sunday afternoon in the Sports Pavilion.  Steinhaus upset Perry (No. 8 in the country) with an 8-2 decision.

Kevin Steinhaus (top) takes down Chris Perry Sunday afternoon in the Sports Pavilion. Steinhaus upset Perry (No. 8 in the country) with an 8-2 decision.

by Derek Wetmore

The Gophers (3-1) entered SundayâÄôs bout with No. 2 Oklahoma State knowing they would need to wrestle a âÄúperfect dualâÄù in order to win. They didnâÄôt get one. No. 3 Minnesota would have needed to win all the matchups in which it was favored, as well as a few in which it wasnâÄôt. Things started as planned; the Gophers notched two upsets to open the dual. But No. 4 Zach Sanders (125 pounds) was upset in extra time, Cody Yohn needed a major decision he didnâÄôt get and Minnesota lost by the narrowest of margins, 17-16. Scott Glasser (174) began the dual with a 6-1 decision, and Kevin Steinhaus (184) followed with an 8-2 upset of Oklahoma StateâÄôs 8th-ranked Chris Perry. Minnesota held the lead at intermission, 9-6, but SandersâÄô loss in extra time just before the break quickly quieted the home crowd. Sanders trailed entering the third period but was able to escape and score a takedown to tie the score, forcing a sudden victory session. There, he was taken down to drop the 7-5 decision. âÄúAny time you go to overtime in a match like that, you have to win it,âÄù head coach J Robinson said. âÄúWe were on a roll; things were going good but that was a match we had to win to win [the dual].âÄù Though the Gophers still held the lead, Oklahoma State was favored in four of the final five matches. And in the first match after the break, Thane Antczak (133) gave up a technical fall to No. 1 Jordan Oliver. Minnesota trailed for the first time in the match, 11-9. Mike Thorn (141) immediately regained the lead with a major decision, but Danny Zilverberg (149) and Pat Smith (157) each dropped decisions to heavily favored opponents, and the Cowboys never trailed again. Zilverberg only lost 2-0 to the No. 5 wrestler in the country, keeping the team score within reach. Smith lost 10-3 but prevented a major decision by battling at the end of the third period. If either had been majored, the Gophers would have needed a technical fall or better in the final match to win the dual. In the final match of the afternoon, No. 9 Cody Yohn (165) faced No. 7 Dallas Bailey in need of a major decision to tie the dual. Yohn wrestled Bailey two weeks ago at the Kaufman-Brand Open, where he was pinned. However, Yohn gained confidence by dominating the match prior to being pinned, head assistant coach Joe Russell said. âÄúIt would have been nice to get the major,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúI think he was a little cautious because the kid is pretty good [with his] upper body.âÄù With a match against such a difficult opponent, the Gophers now know where they stand and what they need to work on going forward. Robinson said he was encouraged because on the whole, his team âÄúoutwrestledâÄù the Cowboys but simply couldnâÄôt find a way to win. SandersâÄô loss and giving up bonus points at 133 hurt the teamâÄôs chances, but the emergence of Steinhaus and Tony Nelson were among the encouraging signs for Minnesota. âÄúThere was a lot of positive things to look at,âÄù Robinson said, âÄúbut when you donâÄôt win, you can say, âÄòwe wrestled great, we wrestled hard, we should have won,âÄô but it really doesnâÄôt make any difference if you donâÄôt win.âÄù