SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — No. 1 UNO won the anticipated showdown between the top two teams in the nation handily on Wednesday night with a 22-9 victory against No. 2 Augustana in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Mavericks finished the regular season with a 12-1 dual record, while the Vikings finished 14-2 with both losses coming at the hands of the nation’s top team. UNO beat Augustana at the NWCA National Duals in November, 17-15.
The dual got off to a good start for Augustana, as No. 3 Jason Jeremiason decisioned Trent Cox 7-3 to get the Vikings on the board first at 133 pounds.
At 141 pounds, in a rematch of last year’s national championship, No. 1 Mario Morgan knocked off No. 4 Jay Sherer 5-4 to even up the team score at 3-3. Morgan has now beaten Shearer four out of five times in his career and twice this season.
No. 1 Esai Dominguez then avenged a loss to No. 5 Nate Herda earlier this season with a 3-2 decision at 149 pounds. Dominguez escaped five seconds into the third period to account for the winning point.
No. 1 George Ivanov extended the Mavs’ lead in the team score to 9-3 after a 4-3 decision against No. 3 Marcus Edgington. Edgington had defeated Ivanov earlier this year 5-3 at the Daktronics Open, but Ivanov never trailed in this match.
No. 4 Gavin Nelson got Augie back in the dual with a 6-3 decision against Nathan Sigman at 165 pounds. Nelson earned a takedown at the last second of the match and added the riding time bonus point for the final margin.
No. 3 Ryan Pankoke continued his dominance of late at 174 pounds with a 3-1 win versus No. 7 Carl Serck, who he earned an 11-1 major decision win against at the NWCA National Duals in November. Pankoke has now won 26 consecutive matches.
No. 3 Aaron Denson added the only bonus points of the night for either team with a 12-3 major decision against Augustana’s Tom Davies at 184 pounds. Denson’s win gave the Mavs a 16-6 lead heading into the final three weights.
Augustana drew within 16-9 after No. 2 Ty Copsey beat No. 4 Matt Baker 3-1, with a takedown 37 seconds into overtime.
Taylor Escamilla sealed the win for UNO, though, with a 5-0 decision versus heavyweight Lance Peters, who Escamilla is now 3-0 against all-time.
With the win assured, UNO’s true freshman Josh Keszler ended the night in spectacular fashion with a come-from-behind 4-2 sudden victory win against Augustana senior Al Meger at 125 pounds. Keszler earned a takedown with 49 seconds left in the third period to tie the match, then got another takedown 18 seconds into overtime. Keszler’s win gave him a 22-9 record this year and gave the Mavs the 22-9 victory.