The Maneater

No. 4 Missouri wrestling routs No. 10 Virginia Tech to improve to 5-0

Highlights of the dual included a victory by fall for Willie Miklus and a dominant performance by Joey Lavallee.

Missouri Tigers wrestler Willie Miklus gets his arm raised after securing seventh place Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Maneater File Photo

After trailing his opponent for much of the first two periods, a sudden pin by redshirt senior Willie Miklus cemented No. 4 Missouri wrestling’s victory over No. 10 Virginia Tech Saturday.

The Tigers improved to 5-0 on the season after its 22-12 victory on Saturday against the Hokies, winning six of the 10 individual matches, even with redshirt sophomore Jaydin Eierman missing from the usual lineup.

“It was really exciting to see, because when you're on the road in a hostile environment, you never know how it will go,” head coach Brian Smith said in a press release. “But our team showed up and fought for every point, they were shooting the entire time and that aggressiveness paid off, as we found a way to win."

Miklus only wrestled in two matches last year before suffering a season-ending injury on Nov. 20, 2016, in a match against Virginia Tech. Missouri won that one, too, but in a much closer margin, edging out a 23-19 victory.

This year, Miklus, ranked No. 3 in the 197-pound weight class, faced redshirt senior Jared Haught, who entered the match 6-0 and was ranked No. 2 prior to Saturday’s match. The first period brought limited scoring and a bloody cut above Miklus’ eyebrow. Haught led 7-1 after the second period after a burst of offense. The match paused for an injury break for Miklus, this time for his leg.

Shortly after the injury break, down 7-2, Miklus pinned Haught for a sudden victory by fall. The fall gave Mizzou another six points, bringing the team’s lead to 22-9.

"We talk about it all the time and coach it in the practice room, you wrestle the whole go. Whether it's a 30 second go, or a seven minute match, you wrestle the entire time,” Smith said. “It is something we did today and we proved it's important."

The 22-9 lead was shortened to 22-12 after heavyweight redshirt sophomore Austin Myers finished the meet by going quietly in a 3-1 loss.

Mizzou led from the first match, starting with 125-pound redshirt senior Barlow McGhee’s victory. In the 133-pound weight class, redshirt junior John Erneste earned bonus points for his 11-2 victory, which awarded four points for a major decision to Missouri’s overall team score instead of the usual three for Erneste’s individual victory.

In one of the most dominant matches of the dual, redshirt senior Joey Lavallee earned 3:36 in riding time for the 157-pound weight class. Lavallee is one of four Missouri wrestlers who have competed this season and remain undefeated. (The other three are Eierman, Erneste and redshirt junior Daniel Lewis.)

Missouri faces Virginia on Sunday at noon. The team will then return home to face Old Dominion in a conference meet on Dec. 2.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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