Mizzou wrestling edges out Eastern Michigan, 18-15

Story and photos by Ryan Shiner

Missouri's Lavion Mayes (black) dominates his opponent, Nicholas Barber in the 141 match. Mayes won the match 14-4.

Missouri’s Lavion Mayes (black) dominates his opponent, Nicholas Barber in the 141 match. Mayes won the match 14-4.

COLUMBIA — After pounding Buffalo 41-0 on Friday night and even with four nationally ranked wrestlers taking the mat, the Missouri wrestling team found itself in a tight dual against Eastern Michigan. The Tigers and the Eagles were tied going into the final match, Missouri’s Devin Mellon against Eastern Michigan’s Khodar Hoballah.

After a scoreless first period, Mellon was able to pull out the 5-2 win, giving Missouri the victory 18-15.

Coach Brian Smith said this is the second week in a row that the Missouri wrestling team
underperformed on the second day of back-to-back meets.

“I’m frustrated as a coach, I take responsibility,” Smith said. “We’re not showing up the second day. I don’t like losing matches we shouldn’t.”

Missouri found itself in a hole early in the meet when EMU won the first two matches, but Missouri fought back to win the next three bouts. The run started in the 141-pound weight class when No. 19 Lavion Mayes (24-9) won 14-4 over EMU’s Nick Barber (9-9).

Missouri’s No. 1-ranked Drake Houdashelt (29-1) followed with a technical fall in the 149-pound weight class against Mike Leholm.

Joey Lavallee (23-7) kept the streak alive for Missouri, winning a close match over Brandon Zeerip (17-9) in a 3-1 decision.

However, after Lavallee, Missouri dropped the next three bouts.

With the score 15-12 in favor of EMU at the start of the 197-pound match, No. 3-ranked J’den Cox (28-2) walked onto the mat to face Anthony Abro (13-5). At one point, Cox lifted Abro into the air and slammed him to the ground, causing the crowd to erupt in cheers. Cox won the match by a 9-4 decision.

Then came the meet-deciding heavyweight match with Mellon (20-9) against Hoballah (10-8). With the match tied at 2, and 30 seconds remaining, Mellon landed a takedown to go up 4-2, eventually winning the bout 5-2 and securing the win for the Tigers.

Match results

125: No. 19 Jared Germaine (EMU) won by decision against Barlow McGhee (Missouri), 7-1. (3-0 EMU)

133: Vincent Pizzuto (EMU) won by decision against Matt Manley (Missouri), 8-3. (6-0 EMU)

141: No. 19 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) won by decision against Nicholas Barber (EMU), 14-4. (6-4 EMU)

149: No. 1 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) won by technical fall against Mike Leholm (EMU), 5:42, 18-3. (9-6 Missouri)

157: Joey Lavallee (Missouri) won decision against Brandon Zeerip (EMU), 3-1. (12-6 Missouri)

165: Dean Vettese (EMU) won by decision against Jordan Gagliano (Missouri), 8-6. (12-9 Missouri)

174: Jacob Davis (EMU) won by decision against Mike England (Missouri), 10-7. (12-12)

184: Phillip Joseph (EMU) won by decision against Cody Johnston (Missouri), 5-2. (15-12 EMU)

197: No. 3 J’den Cox (Missouri) won by decision against Anthony Abro (EMU), 10-4. (15-15)

285:  Devin Mellon (Missouri) won by decision against Khodar Hoballah (EMU), 5-2. (18-15 Missouri).

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