No. 19 Illinois wrestling falls to No. 17 Purdue, extends conference losing streak to three matches

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Photo courtesy of Illini Athletics

Illinois wrestling Luke Luffman pins down his Purdue opponent during a match from a previous season. Luffman won one of the four matches against Purdue.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

No. 19 Illini dropped their third match in a row, this time falling to Big Ten rival No. 17 Purdue on Friday night by a final score of 25-13.

The Illini won four bouts in the match, including a major-decision victory from sophomore Luke Luffman, who continues to provide his team points in the heavyweight bracket. 

Redshirt sophomore Justin Cardani lost a close one at 125-pounds against Purdue’s Devin Schroder to begin the night, 1-0. Illinois’ redshirt freshman Lucas Byrd followed with a big 5-0 win to even the score at three. 

Purdue’s Parker Filius dominated We Rachal in a technical fall, 16-0. The pattern continued at 149-pounds, as the Illini’s Christian Kantzler defeated Alec White in a last-second, 3-1 decision, which gave Illinois three points. 

Like it had been doing all match, Purdue answered back with a Kendall Coleman victory over Joe Roberts at 157-pounds. Roberts battled but lost by a decision and made the score 10-7 in favor of the Boilermakers. 

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    The Illini failed to bounce back when redshirt sophomore Dan Braunagel lost to Hayden Lohrey at 165-pounds, 7-5, and gave the Boilermakers an eight-point lead. Purdue was able to capture back-to-back wins after the intermission after a loss that stung for the Illini when Illinois’ sophomore DJ Shannon lost by fall. Despite things looking inadequate for the Illini, redshirt sophomore Zac Braunagel picked up a 5-2 decision win at 184-pounds. 

    Redshirt junior Nikita Nepomnyashchiy lost by tech fall, making the score 25-9 heading into the final match of the evening. Luffman finished the night off with a win similar to the one against Rutgers where Luffman allowed the Illini to end on a high note in a match that was one-sided for the majority of the night. 

    The Illini will look to end their losing skid as they prepare to take on another highly touted Big Ten rival in Northwestern next Saturday at State Farm Center.

     

    @NickKane__

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