Mega Victory at 125 as Lions Roll

Nico Megaludis avenged his 2013 NCAA final loss as No. 1 Penn State dominated Illinois before a packed house at Rec Hall Friday night.

It's said that revenge is a dish best served cold. It was plenty cold for Nico Megaludis Friday night at Rec Hall.

The Penn State junior avenged a 2013 NCAA final loss to Illinois' Jesse Delgado with a fast paced 5-4 decision at 125 pounds en route to a 31-3 victory for the Lions over the visiting Fighting Illini.


Man of the Match: The nod goes to Megaludis, who picked up his 20th victory of the season by scoring a reversal and takedown in the second and third period, respectively, before escaping from Delgado's grasp with 54 seconds to wrestle.

"I want to do it when it matters," Megaludis said. "He has a thing I want and I want to take it so it's going to be more satisfying when I do it.}

Delgado left Des Moines last winter with his arm raised after beating Megaludis 7-4 in the final, but the Penn State grappler said in the days leading up to the dual that he was ready for the challenge.

He was, including knowing when to get away from a dangerous spot like the one he found himself in Friday — which was fairly similar to the one that allowed Delgado to lock him in a cradle at nationals. This time, there was no locking to be done.


Match of the Night: The opening bout would be the easy pick. But the pick instead falls to 149 pounds, where Penn State freshman Zack Beitz held on for a 4-2 win over No. 19 Caleb Ervin by making a first-period takedown and third-period reversal stand-up.

"I'm very happy with the way he's competing, very comfortable," PSU head coach Cael Sanderson said of Beitz. "He's leading the charge [for the 149-pound job]. It's a tricky situation at that weight class with James English, who is very good and just trying to get healthy, and also Andrew Alton, who's also trying to get back."

Beitz has filled in fine in the place Alton, and in our view, it's about time for him to enter the world of the ranked. He nearly toppled No. 4 Jason Tsirtsis against Northwestern last Sunday, and is 10-7 on the season.


Steamrolling Along: If Illinois was to have a shot to unseat the top-ranked team in the land, it would have had to pick up some toss-up matches before intermission. It didn't.

After Delgado was dropped to kick things off, the Fighting Illini earned their only win of the night when Zane Richards drove through a double in sudden victory to beat Jimmy Gulibon 3-1 at 133-pounds after each earned an escape through the first seven minutes.

From there, it was business as usual. Zain Retherford won 15-3 at 141-pounds, Dylan Alton won 5-2 at 157-pounds, David Taylor (165 pounds), Matt Brown (174 pounds) and Ed Ruth (184 pounds) all picked up majors, before Morgan McIntosh won 10-3 at 197 pounds and Jon Gingrich 6-1 at heavyweight.

"I think we wrestled OK; we wrestled well in some matches, but I think we need a little more urgency," Sanderson said. "That's a tough team; they're a little tricky, but you have seven minutes. We want to use every minute. I don't feel like we used every second of all our matches tonight."


Notes

• Despite losing Friday, Sanderson believes Gulibon's "reaction" was positive afterward, leading him to believe the 133-pounder is close to turning a corner.

• With an undefeated mark and seemingly only Oklahoma State standing in the way from an undefeated dual season, Sanderson said it wasn't necessarily a goal heading into the season, yet certainly something the Lions wouldn't mind obtaining.

• Illinois mustered one takedown, which is no surprise as many PSU foes have seen low totals in that category. What was surprising is that it came against David Taylor, who was taken down by Jackson Morre in the second period.

• The announced attendance as 6,480.


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