The No. 10 Gophers overpowered Fresno State on Sunday afternoon at Maturi Pavilion. Minnesota won all but two matches en route to a 38-7 victory. As a team, they had two pins, two technical falls and four major decision victories.
The Gophers were looking to make it to their third consecutive Final Four over the weekend, but USC proved on Friday that a different kind of Minnesota team does not lead to postseason success.
USC eliminated Minnesota from the NCAA tournament by sweeping the team in the Sweet 16 in Gainesville, Florida to end its season. The Trojans won 3-0 — 25-23, 28-26, 25-16 — and will face Florida in the regional final tomorrow.
Sophomore Owen Webster is living his childhood dream with Minnesota, but that was not always the case. Webster transferred to Minnesota after a successful year on the mat with Division III Augsburg. Even though he had a good time at Augsburg, it was always a goal for Webster to wrestle at Minnesota, and now he is a starter in his first year with the team.
The seventh seeded Gophers (28-5) will be playing in the Sweet 16 for the third time in as many years. Minnesota heads to Gainesville, Florida, where they play tenth seeded USC Friday at 6 p.m. This season marks the first time the Gophers are not the No. 2 seed in the bracket since 2014.
Minnesota didn’t bring some of its starters to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational and by the end of the tournament, it showed. No. 3 Ethan Lizak at 125 was the only Minnesota wrestler to finish in the top-three for their weight, finishing in third place. The next best Gophers wrestlers were No. 9 Nick Wanzek, who finished sixth at 165 and No. 8 Tommy Thorn, who finished seventh at 141.
Minnesota swept its first round opponent — North Dakota — on Friday. However, Northern Iowa put up more of a fight in the next round.
The Gophers defeated the Northern Iowa Panthers (27-8) 3-1 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night at Maturi Pavilion. The Gophers won the first set 25-18, lost the second 25-20, won the third 25-19 and won the fourth set 25-17.
Minnesota advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament Friday night with a 3-0 sweep over North Dakota at the Maturi Pavilion. The Gophers won the first set 25-20, the second set 25-15 and the third set 25-21.
Minnesota is trying to reach the Final Four for the third consecutive season when it takes on North Dakota at 7 p.m. at the Maturi Pavillion Friday. The No. 7 Gophers have been relying on strong play from their underclassmen this season. They don't have as much experience as previous teams, however, their youth has provided them with an unknown ceiling.