Down by 12 points with three bouts left in the match, Northwestern didn't just need wins. It needed some bonus points as well.
The Tigers got them quickly. Ethan Keichel (152) scored a major decision. Mitch Evans (160) pulled off a late-match pin to get his team within two points. And Michael Ortiz (170) finished off the comeback with a decision, giving Northwestern a 37-36 win over Wilson Monday night in New Tripoli.
"We're low in numbers, but, man, we've got a lot of heart," said Evans. "We have a lot of guys really stepping up. Ethan Keichel bumped up about 20 pounds to beat his kid."
The match featured just seven contested bouts. Wilson picked up four wins by forfeit. Northwestern had two forfeit wins, and one bout was a double forfeit.
The Tigers beat the Warriors 36-30 in a tournament Saturday, but they had to make up for two Wilson wrestlers who missed the tournament but were back in the line up for Monday's match. That's two more forfeited bouts accounting for 12 points.
Starting at 182 pounds, Northwestern went up 6-0 when undefeated Levi Veppert (10-0) pinned Don Jacangelo in 1:40.
"There was some pressure there," Veppert said. "I felt like I needed to start off with six points. We need bonus points because we're giving up five forfeits."
David Tirpak (195) followed with a pin of Clyde Ice in 1:16 for a 12-0 Northwestern lead.
The Tigers forfeited four of the next five matches and fell behind 24-12.
Wilson's Anthony Calantoni (126) pinned Northwestern's David Grace and Warrior teammate Brendan Fritz (132) pinned Anthony Fillis to stretch the lead to 36-12 with five bouts remaining.
Dylan Faust (138) and Cole Moyer (145) picked up forfeit wins for Northwestern to set up the comeback.
Keichel, a senior who bumped up two weight classes to wrestle at 152, battled to a 10-2 win over Kenny Kresenics. That made the score 36-28.
"We were just hoping for a win and he ended up getting a major decision," said Northwestern head coach Jim Moll. "That was enormous. That showed a lot of heart."
Evans followed with his third-period pin of Jeff Edinger to pull his team within two points.
Clinging to a 2- or 4- point lead for most of his match, Evans knew if he didn't pick up bonus points, the whole match would ride on an Ortiz pin in the final bout. He didn't want to put that pressure on his teammate.
"I knew we were down," Evans said. "I was determined to get the six (points) the whole time."
Ortiz, who pinned Billy Christensen on Saturday to give the Warrior senior his only loss this year, knew Monday's match would be more difficult.
He was up 6-5 early in the third period and scored a take down to win the match 8-5 and seal the team win.
"A couple days ago I caught him on his back and pinned him in like 30 seconds," Ortiz said. "He's a good kid, so I knew it was going to be a tough bout this time.
"I knew that I had to get the win no matter what. Mitch came out with a tough win. That got me all pumped up."
Northwestern 37, Wilson 36
@Agate.Body:182 - Levi Veppert (N) pinned Don Jacangelo in 1:40
195 - David Tirpak (N) pinned Clyde Ice in 1:16
220 - Trevor Cook (W) won by forfeit
285 - Michael Figuero (W) won by forfeit
106 - Double forfeit
113 - Jaryd Flank (W) won by forfeit
120 - Austin Lescher (W) won by forfeit
126 - Anthony Calantoni (W) pinned David Grace in 1:03
132 - Brendan Fritz (W) pinned Anthony Fillis in 2:58
138 - Dylan Faust (NW) won by forfeit
145 - Cole Moyer (NW) won by forfeit
152 - Ethan Keichel (NW) major dec. Kenny Kernenics 10-2
160 - Mitch Evans (NW) pinned Jeff Edinginer in 4:26
170 - Micheal Ortiz (NW) dec. Billy Christensen 8-5.