Gophers end 17-meet win streak

Minnesota, the country’s top team, fell to No. 2 Iowa in a well-attended match Friday.

Senior Chris Dardanes wrestles during his match in the Williams Arena on Friday evening, where the Gophers took on the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Liam James Doyle

Senior Chris Dardanes wrestles during his match in the Williams Arena on Friday evening, where the Gophers took on the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Danny Chen

With each Minnesota takedown Friday night, fans at Williams Arena stood up and cheered, creating an electric environment.

But in front of 13,630 fans, No. 1 Minnesota was unable to extend its 17-match winning streak, losing to No. 2 Iowa 23-12.

“We came here to wrestle, and some of our guys didn’t wrestle tonight,” head coach J Robinson said. “I thought that was pretty apparent.”

Minnesota started the meet with three consecutive losses, including a pin in the very first match.

“In any dual meet, you’re not expecting it and you get caught,” Robinson said. “It’s a 2-1 matchup at that point. [If] you take that out, it would be a completely different match.”

In the second loss, there was a controversial takedown in a sudden victory overtime that gave Iowa’s Mike Evans a 3-1 decision over senior Logan Storley.

As the takedown occurred, Storley rolled Evans over and got on top of him.

The officials called the takedown in favor of Evans initially, but they went to the officials’ table for a video review.

After the review, the officials stuck with the initial call, and Storley lost the match.

Robinson did not seem happy with the call.

“There wasn’t a stop,” Robinson said. “There was continual movement all the way through. So I don’t think it was a two-[point takedown for Iowa].”

But Robinson said he understands and his team won’t make any excuses about it.

“Things are going to happen in dual meets, in the Big Ten and the national tournament,” Robinson said. “[But] you can’t let it affect you.”

Down 12-0 after losing the first three matches, redshirt senior Scott Schiller stopped the bleeding after beating Nathan Burak in the 197-pound dual.

Schiller, ranked sixth in the nation, upset No. 3 Burak with a 3-1 decision.

Even with an individual victory, Schiller said the team has to do better.

“We didn’t come out and wrestle the way that we should have tonight,” Schiller said. “[We] kind of started off on the wrong foot, and it’s hard to come out of the hole like that. We [have] to find ways to win.”

Following Schiller’s win, the Gophers lost their next two matches at 285 and 125 pounds, and the deficit widened to 20-3.

Even with the score being lopsided and seemingly out of reach, redshirt seniors Chris Dardanes and Nick Dardanes won their matches 5-3 and 7-3, respectively.

With the victories from the Dardanes brothers, the Gophers closed the gap to 20-9.

The Gophers had two wrestlers left — Jake Short and Dylan Ness — but the hopes of a dual meet victory quickly evaporated when Short lost to Brandon Sorensen 4-0.

Even with the meet out of reach, No. 1 Ness, who Robinson said had been sick all week, managed an 11-9 victory over Iowa’s Michael Kelly.

Robinson said Ness showed a tremendous amount of courage to wrestle and win his match.

“If you go back and watch the match, you can tell by the first minute or minute-and-a-half that it wasn’t Dylan Ness,” Robinson said. “That’s a great example of a heart of a champion. It would have been easy for him to forfeit. He did it for himself, and he did it for his team.”

Robinson said with the loss to Iowa, his team will be making some adjustments.

“You have a way that you have been doing things, and you have to change [some of it],” Robinson said. “Starting tomorrow, we will be changing some things.”