Tonight’s Dual: Sparta vs. Aquinas

The Spartans prepare to take on La Crosse Aquinas tonight at home in their third MVC dual of the year.  Aquinas enters the match with a 2-1 MVC record having defeated Central 49-27 and Logan 39-30.  Aquinas’ sole conference loss came at the hands of Holmen by a score of 53-14.  Sparta enters the dual with a 2-0 MVC record having defeated Holmen 35-27 and Logan 67-9.

There will be a number of good matches on the night, but the marquee match will likely come at 215 pounds when Sparta’s Tom Tourdot takes his 22-1 record and top-ranking in division two against Lucas Shappell who enters the dual with a 21-1 record and third-overall ranking in division three.  Shappell finished second at the Bi-State classic this year.  Last year he was pinned in the second period by Sparta’s Steven Stevenson.

Other matches that look like they could be entertaining will be at 103, 119, 140 and 285.  In these matches, the wrestlers have similar records.  In a projected rematch from last year’s dual, Michael Murnane will take on John Paul Soldner.  Soldner came out on top in that match last year pinning Murnane in 5:23.  At 160 last year, Tom Tourdot defeated Danny Mullaney 7-4 and this year Morgan Leis has Mullaney at 152.  At 171, Brandon Brueggen defeated Jimmy Coady 4-2 while this year Xavier Lopez has Coady.  Finally, at 119 pounds Bryce Nowaczyk faces Mason Miller in a match that was won last year by Jacob Denton by a 4-0 score.

Here are the projected matchups for tonight’s dual…

103  —  Dylan Winchel (17-7) vs. Jordan Corcoran (15-8)
112  —  Tristan Zurfluh (15-9) vs. Connor Morgan (5-4)
119  —  Bryce Nowaczyk (13-12) vs. Mason Miller (11-8)
125  —  Derek VonRuden (17-7) vs. Hank Lichter (0-1)
130  —  Nick Winchel (20-3) vs. Jake Flatten (1-2)
135  —  Paul Van Tassel (18-8) vs. Max Irons (9-9)
140  —  Mike Murnane (17-7) vs. John Paul Soldner (14-7)
145  —  Toby Mosley (19-4) vs. Auston Stenger (4-3)
152  —  Morgan Leis (16-3) vs. Danny Mullaney (13-7)
160  —  Alex Hemmersbach (11-13) vs. Nick Poellinger (4-10)
171  —  Xavier Lopez (13-10) vs. Jimmy Coady (21-2)
189  —  Kyle Burkhalter (4-6) vs. Anthony Arbanas (6-10)
215  —  Tom Tourdot (22-1) vs. Lucas Shappell (21-1)
285  —  Chris Beeler (16-8) vs. Kyle Sieck (10-7)

I’m projecting a Spartan win, but the final score should be somewhere in between the Holmen and Logan finals.  This is a relatively young Aquinas team led by some great seniors.  I think they are only going to get better in the next couple years, but I think Sparta is a little too much for them right now.

The action starts at 6:15 for JV tonight followed by the varsity at 7:30pm.  There will be a live blog of the dual led once again by Mike Montgomery.  Live blog action will start somewhere between 7:20 and 7:30pm.

Finally, one other dual to keep an eye on is the Tomah-Holmen dual at Holmen.  If Holmen beats Tomah, the Spartans are in great shape to secure at least a share of the MVC title before they finish out the MVC season at Tomah on February 10th.  Of course, that means they have to take care of business tonight and the rest of the season, but things get a little easier if Holmen pulls out the victory tonight.  Go Spartans!

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