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.
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’s J’den Cox won this match over Anthony Abro, with included this crowd-pleasing move.
Missouri’s Jordan Gagliano (black) struggles to break the hold by Dean Vettese. Gagliano lost the match 8-6.
Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt (black) won his match against Mike LeHolm by a technical fall.
Neither Missouri’s Joey Lavallee, left, nor Brandon Zeerip was able to dominate in the match. After two periods Zeerip led 1-0 but Lavallee came back to win 3-1
Missouri’s Matt Manley (black) struggles to escape a hold by Eastern Michigan’s Vincent Pizzuto. Manley lost the match 8-3.
Missouri’s Devin Mellon (black) takes down Khodar Hoballah. Mellon’s 5-2 win gave Missouri the win in the dual meet.
Missouri coach Brian Smith (white vest) looks on as Joey Lavallee (black) wrestles Brandon Zeerip on Feb. 8, 2014 at the Hearnes Center. Lavallee won the match 3-1.
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.
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).