SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Northern Illinois won key matches down the stretch Saturday and topped SIUE 18-16 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.
SIUE dropped to 1-8 overall while Northern Illinois improved to 4-4.
"We definitely have some bright spots and continue to get better as a team," said SIUE Head Coach Jeremy Spates.
Rodriguez, a 125-pounder, bested Northern Illinois' Kirk Johansen 14-4. John Muldoon added a 5-3 victory over Alijah Jeffrey at 133 pounds.
SIUE's Karsten Van Velsor provided the biggest score of the day with a pin over Caden McWhiter in 4:51 at 157 pounds. Jake McKiernan added his 18th victory of the season, 7-0 win over Caleb Gossett at heavyweight.
Four of SIUE's losses were by three points or less and all six were by six points or less.
"Those close ones hurt," said Spates. "We have to find a way to win those."
Spates said the continued improvement health-wise has been a booster for the Cougars with Muldoon back in the lineup and John Fahy showing signs of wrestling better. Fahy dropped his matched in overtime 4-2 to Zack Velasquez.
SIUE returns to Southern Conference action next weekend with Chattanooga Saturday and Davidson Sunday. Both matches will be held at the Vadalabene Center.
Northern Illinois 18 SIUE 16
125 Freddie Rodriguez (SIUE) over Kirk Johansen (Northern Illinois) (MD 14-4)
133 John Muldoon (SIUE) over Alijah Jeffery (Northern Illinois) (Dec 5-3)
141 Zack Velasquez (Northern Illinois) over Trevor Feagans (SIUE) (Dec 9-3)
149 Steve Bleise (Northern Illinois) over John Fahy (SIUE) (SV-1 4-2)
157 Karsten Van Velsor (SIUE) over Caden McWhirter (Northern Illinois) (Fall 4:51)
165 Shaun`Qae McMurtry (Northern Illinois) over Clayton Bass (SIUE) (Dec 4-0)
174 Trace Engelkes (Northern Illinois) over Jake Residori (SIUE) (Dec 3-1)
184 Bryce Gorman (Northern Illinois) over Jake Godinez (SIUE) (Dec 3-0)
197 Shawn Scott (Northern Illinois) over Jake Tindle (SIUE) (Dec 4-1)
285 Jake McKiernan (SIUE) over Caleb Gossett (Northern Illinois) (Dec 7-0)