MORRIS — There are 14 matches in a dual wrestling meet, and they are all important when it comes to the final score.
The Morris wrestling team proved that Wednesday in a tightly contested 39-37 win over Joliet Catholic Academy, a victory that put the Redskins' dual-meet record at 7-2 for the season.
The meet began and ended with thrilling outcomes, each of which helped Morris earn the victory, even though one of the matches was a loss.
In the 182-pound opener, Robert Bates did battle with JCA's Blair Dietenbach. Bates led 5-1 entering the third period, but Dietenbach rallied with an escape, a takedown and three near-fall points to take a 7-5 lead. Bates then got a point when Dietenbach used a full nelson hold and got two points on a reversal to take an 8-7 lead. Dietenbach then escaped with 2.0 second left to force overtime. Bates then won by fall with 37.2 seconds left in the one-minute overtime period.
In the 170-pound closing match, Morris' Mason Lewis took on JCA's John Kapushman with the Redskins leading 39-33. Kapushman took a 3-0 lead after one period and was very close to winning by fall in the second period, an outcome that would have tied the team score. Lewis was able to extricate himself from that situation and score two points on a reversal to end the period trailing 10-2. He was then able to keep Kapushman from scoring in the third period and, Kapushman's major decision earned his team four points rather than the six that a fall would have received and Morris won the meet.
"Mason did a great job," Morris coach Jon Lanning said. "That whole third period, it almost seemed like he was winning because he was fighting to not get pinned. The bonus points we got and the points we didn't give up were a key. We have been working on not giving up those bonus points and it showed tonight.
"Robbie Bates got us off to a great start in that first match, and Jakob Eisenbeis and Jacob Barkley had some big wins for us. We are still getting into shape, but the guys have been working really hard and doing a great job so far."
After Bates' win at 182, Cody Baldridge won by forfeit at 195. JCA's Nick Spreitzer then pinned Zach Bankowski at 220 and Matt Spreitzer pinned R.J. Roderick at 285 to tie the match at 12. JCA took a 24-12 lead when D.J. Hamiti pinned Tristan Martin at 106 and Jack Finnegan pinned Brandon Mazzoni at 113. Morris got forfeit wins at 120 by Bryce Claypool and at 126 by Logan Severson to tie the match at 24.
Dan Grant then pinned Grant Cameron at 132 to give Morris a 30-24 laed and Luke Singletary pinned Tony Martinez at 138 to tie the match at 30. Eisenbeis then pinned Donnie Dorich at 145 to put Morris ahead, 26-30. Cam Turner then beat Mason Young, 14-7, at 152 to pull JCA to within 36-33, but Barkley beat Jason Kapishman 4-0 at 160 to give Morris a 39-33 lead.
"We've been doing well in duals," Lanning said. "We can field a full lineup and have been beating the teams we should beat. It's going to get rougher as the season goes on, but we are getting better."