A comparable sentiment has been felt after each of IU's Big Ten wrestling matches.
The same wrestlers for the Hoosiers pick up points for their team while the rest do not. But, with two big matches at home versus Illinois and rival Purdue, the Hoosiers were almost shut out and ended the weekend with very few positive results.
On Friday, IU fell to No. 14 Illinois 33-9. On Sunday, the Purdue Boilermakers came to town, and the Hoosiers were not able to figure out how to get any points on the board to beat Purdue, as they got the loss 34-3.
On Friday night, a few of the always-reliable Hoosiers fell to the Illini. It was a difficult match for IU, and they were lucky enough to get the points that they did, three of them coming through a weight class forfeit for the Illini.
After Purdue on Sunday, IU Coach Duane Goldman explained why his team didn’t come out with the energy needed to get the win.
“I think they were more aggressive when it got down to the really nitty gritty, someone’s got to score,” Goldman said. “They just took more risks than we did. I think that we didn’t execute late in the match when we needed to. We were waiting for the right time or right situation, rather than just going in there.”
The Hoosiers have looked over matched in each of these conference matches. Last month, the Hoosiers emphasized improvement for the end of the season. So far, they have looked completely flat in each of their match-ups. Perhaps it is because their conference foes are difficult, but each of the matches have seemed to skew more and more toward their opponents than toward the Hoosiers.
No. 13 junior Cole Weaver, who has been consistent and reliable all season, couldn’t get anything done against either of his opponents. These were big duals for the junior, as he needs all the wins that he can get as seeding for the NCAA tournament becomes more important.
No. 18 sophomore Devin Skatzka got a big win against Illinois and scored the Hoosiers' first points of the night. However, against Purdue, Skatzka couldn’t figure out how to finish as he lost a tough fight in a revenge match against No. 9 Dylan Lydy.
The only positive on the weekend goes to sophomore Buddy Conley as he picked up two wins.
The first versus Illinois came because the Illini couldn’t field a wrestler in his weight class. However against Purdue, Conley was the lone performer and scored IU's only three points.
This brings his season dual totals to 7-8 with a chance against Northwestern to finish the year at .500. He was content with his outing over the weekend and mentioned his mentality as one of the reasons he has been able to succeed lately.
“Coach has helped me a lot with my effort and mentality during the match,” Conley said. “It feels pretty good. It’s a long season, we still have the postseason and the Big Ten. So I'll be wrestling all these guys again. I have to have a good attitude and not get complacent.”
The attitude that the team gets all comes from the coaching staff and the outlook they give the team on the rest of the season. Goldman emphasized this inspiration after the match.
“I think there can be a lot of inspiration in just effort,” Goldman said. “There’s guys like Buddy who’s a walk on. And Raya who last year was seventh in the state in California, and now he’s wrestling some of the best guys in the country toe to toe. There’s a lot of inspiration in that for me.”