Illinois won four of its first five matches as they cruised to a 31-9 win over in-state rival Northwestern on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The win snapped the No. 4 Illini's (9-4, 3-3 Big Ten) three meet losing skid and brought them to .500 in Big Ten conference action. It was Illinois' third victory over Northwestern in men's sports with the football and basketball team also defeating the Wildcats in Evanston.
Kyle Langenderfer nearly knocked off top-ranked Jason Tsirtsis at 149. Tsirtsis gained a 2-1 lead after the first and Langenderfer tied it with an escape heading into the third. Langenderfer pushed the action with several shots, but Tsirtsis fended him off for a 4-2 win, the Wildcats first of the afternoon.
Redshirt freshman No. 3 Isaiah Martinez continued to show his offensive prowess by jumping out to a 14-5 first period lead. Martinez wasted little time in the second, pinning Ben Sullivan in 3:43 for his 22nd victory on the season. Martinez's win ties him with Mike Poeta's 22-0 start to the 2007-08 season.
The only match featuring two ranked opponents was at 165 with No. 8 Jackson Morse vs. No. 5 PIerce Harger. Morse escaped after being taken down to trail 2-1 heading into the second. Harger rode out Morse in the second and Morse did the same in the third, but was unable to turn him to drop a 3-1 decision.
Jeff Koepke suffered the third loss for the Illini, a 6-1 decision to No. 9 Alex Polizzi. Koepke scored his only point in the first period on an escape.
Illinois hits the mats again Friday against Maryland at 7 p.m. in Huff Hall.
125: Dominic Olivieri (ILL) dec. Garrison White (NW), 5-2, 3-0
133: No. 2 Zane Richards (ILL) major dec. Dominick Malone (NW), 14-5, 7-0
141: No. 13 Steven Rodrigues (ILL) dec. Jameston Oster (NW), 8-6, 10-0
149: No. 1 Jason Tsirtsis (NW) dec. Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 4-2, 10-3
157: No. 3 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) fall Ben Sullivan (NW), 3:43, 16-3
165: No. 5 Pierce Harger (NW) dec. No. 8 Jackson Morse (ILL), 3-1, 16-6
174: No. 8 Zach Brunson (ILL) FF, 24-6
184: No. 15 Nikko Reyes (ILL) dec. Mitch Silga (NW), 4-1, 27-6
197: No. 9 Alex Polizzi (NW) dec. Jeff Koepke (ILL), 6-1, 27-9
HWT: Brooks Black (ILL) FF, 31-9