Gophers advance to quarterfinals in NWCA national duals

The Gophers won seven of their 10 matches against NDSU on Sunday.

Redshirt senior Dylan Ness wrestles during his match in the Williams Arena on Friday, Jan. 30 against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Daily File Photo, Liam James Doyle

Redshirt senior Dylan Ness wrestles during his match in the Williams Arena on Friday, Jan. 30 against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Danny Chen

Another year, another spot in the quarterfinals.

The Gophers officially advanced to the next round of the NWCA national duals, defeating No. 23 North Dakota State with a score of 26-9.

Minnesota will look for its fourth title in as many years next weekend.

Head assistant coach Brandon Eggum said he thought his teamed performed very well overall.

“I thought we did a good job of scoring on the first takedown with most of our opportunities,” Eggum said. “We wanted to do that, and we talked about trying to score earlier.”

Redshirt senior Dylan Ness scored early with a pin just 1:11 into his meet.

Ness, No. 1 in the 157- pound weight class, remained undefeated in the season and is now tied for ninth on the Gophers’ career falls list.

“He went out there in the match, and [he] ended up in a favorable position by putting his opponent on his back,” Eggum said. “He’s been kind of on fire, and he just do[es] what he does.”

In front of his home crowd, the West Fargo, N.D., native Scott Schiller had a good performance with a 12-3 decision.

The redshirt senior said it felt good to wrestle one last time in front of his family and friends.

“Especially being in my hometown, [this meet] was a cool experience,” Schiller said. “It felt good to get out there and score some points. Overall, I would say it was a pretty good day.”

The Gophers won seven of the meet’s possible 10 matches.

One match, in particular, stood out to the team.

“We had a nice upset at the 125-pound [weight class] in [Ethan] Lizak,” Eggum said. “It was a great win for him, and it was great to see him be on top. He was one of our highlights today.”

Schiller also praised his teammate’s performance.

“I was impressed with our 125-pounder, Ethan Lizak,” Schiller said. “He just had a win over a ranked guy, and that was great.”

Lizak, a redshirt freshman for the Gophers, took down No. 13 Josh Rodriguez in a tough 2-1 decision victory.

Lizak said he has been wrestling better lately.

“I have been working a lot with [our volunteer assistant coach] Jayson [Ness] and some of our other coaches on getting better on my feet,” Lizak said. “[They] even helped me tweak some things. I think it has really helped.”

The victory over North Dakota State advances the Gophers to the NWCA quarterfinals in Iowa City next weekend.

Their opponent is not yet set, but the NWCA will announce the bracket this week.

In the meantime, Eggum said his team will make some adjustments.

“In a couple of our matches, we could’ve probably finished stronger,” Eggum said. “We didn’t finish every one of them the way that we hoped to, so hopefully we can make some changes before the next meet.”