Ashland University's wrestling team took on Notre Dame College on Friday (Jan. 13) night at Kates Gymnasium in the Eagles' 2016-17 home opener.
The No. 13-ranked Eagles (2-2) took the No. 2-ranked Falcons to the final match before losing, 22-15. It was Ashland's closest match against NDC since the two teams began grappling during the 2012-13 season, but Ashland head coach Josh Hutchens doesn't want any talk of moral victories.
"A little disappointed," Hutchens said. "I thought we had a chance to win the match. We gave up too many bonus points early on, and just didn't have enough in the tank in the end."
In a matchup of nationally-ranked opponents at 133 pounds, Ashland senior Michael Labry improved to 22-1 thanks to an 11-3 major decision over David Bavery. Labry is the top-ranked 133-pounder in NCAA Division II.
"Labry continues to impress. He went out there and just dominated him," Hutchens said. "Even though he does it all the time, it is impressive."
Senior 149-pounder Brent Fickel, ranked No. 8 in the country, moved his record to 13-6 after a 7-2 decision over Cobey Fehr. That put the Eagles within two points at 9-7 before the Falcons ran off three straight wins.
Junior Jordan Murphy (2-0) earned a 7-3 win over Tony Vezzetti at 184 pounds, then junior Luke Cramer (16-3), No. 9 in D-II at 197 pounds, put the Eagles within striking distance at 19-15 after a 17-1 technical fall over Trent Allen.
"I was pretty happy with it," Cramer said. "Haven't really wrestled for three days on the mat. I felt pretty good."
Said Hutchens, "We needed it for the team. He was trying to get the fall. He almost had it there at the end. He went out and just pushed as hard as he could.
"We're getting there. We're not where we need to be."
UP NEXT: Wednesday (Jan. 18) at home against Lourdes.