Photo by Jordyn Senstock/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Open Up 2019 at Home Against Northwestern

By NU Athletic Communications

#11 Nebraska Cornhuskers 5-2 (0-1) vs. Northwestern Wildcats 2-3 (0-0)

Sunday, Jan. 6

2 p.m.

Lincoln, Neb.

Bob Devaney Center

Live Streaming: Big Ten Plus

Live Stats: TrackWrestling


Lincoln, Neb. -- No. 11 Nebraska will host its second of seven home duals in the 2018-19 season as the Northwestern Wildcats come to town for a Sunday matinee at the Devaney Center.


Sunday’s dual against Northwestern is set to begin at 2 p.m. (CT) with television coverage on BTN Student U. This is a subscription-only service, however, viewers can access the match for free if they watch on university WiFi.


The Huskers lead the series between the two teams 13-2-0. Northwestern hasn’t beaten NU since 1924-25. The Huskers have won the last eleven matchups between the two teams, including all five duals since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.


Now in Head Coach Matt Storniolo’s third year, Northwestern posted a 7-8 record in 2016-17 before having an excellent 2017-18, going 11-4. Five Wildcats qualified for the NCAA Championships last year and all five return this season.


Nebraska’s five returning NCAA qualifiers Chad Red Jr. (141), Tyler Berger (157), Isaiah White (165), Taylor Venz (184) and Eric Schultz (197) all competed against Northwestern last year. They combined to go 4-1 in Nebraska’s 19-18 victory.


Nebraska’s Projected Starters:

125: #12 R-Sr. Zeke Moisey (6-4)

133: R-Fr. Tucker Sjomeling (11-4)

141: R-So. Chad Red Jr. (10-5)

149: R-Jr. Jordan Shearer (6-2)

157: #4 R-Sr. Tyler Berger (13-1)

165: #6 Jr. Isaiah White (8-3)

174: #9 R-Fr. Mikey Labriola (13-2)

184: #5 R-So. Taylor Venz (10-3)

197: #12 R-So. Eric Schultz (12-5)

285: #14 R-Jr. David Jensen (8-0)


Northwestern’s Projected Starters

125: #2 R-So. Sebastian Rivera (8-0)

133: So. Colin Valdiviez (5-5)

141: R-Fr. Yahya Thomas (6-4)

OR R-Jr. Alec McKenna (3-2)

149: Jr. Shayne Oster (4-4)

157: #2 R-So. Ryan Deakin (10-0)

165: R-So. Eric Yang (2-3)

OR R-Fr. Trevor Morland (0-1)

174: #10 R-Sr. Johnny Sebastian (2-0)

184: Fr. Brendan Devine (0-7)

197: R-Jr. Zack Chakonis (1-7)

285: #18 R-Sr. Conan Jennings (5-3)


Top Matchups to Watch:

            125: #12 Zeke Moisey (NEB) vs. #2 Sebastian Rivera (NW)

            157: #4 Tyler Berger (NEB) vs. #2 Ryan Deakin (NW)

            174: #9 Mikey Labriola (NEB) vs. #10 Johnny Sebastian (NW)

            HWT: #14 David Jensen (NEB) vs. #18 Conan Jennings (NW)


Scouting Northwestern:

• Head Coach: Matt Storniolo

• Career Record: 20-15-0 (3rd year)


            2018-19 Record: 2-3 (0-0 Big 10)

            Wins (2): #10 Virginia Tech, Cal Poly

            Losses (3): North Dakota State, Old Dominion, Stanford


            2017-18 Record: 11-4 (5-4 Big 10) - 10th in B1G, 24th at NCAA Championships

            Wins (11): Gardner-Webb, Old Dominion, Maryland, Northern Colorado, CSU Bakersfield, Cal Poly, #16 Wisconsin, at #14 Minnesota, #22 Purdue, Indiana, SIU-Edwardsville

            Losses (4): at #14 Illinois, #18 Nebraska, #19 Rutgers, at #7 Iowa


• In year two of the Matt Storniolo era at Northwestern, the team finished with an 11-4 dual record, including five Big Ten wins, which surpassed NU’s total in conference wins from the previous three campaigns combined.


• Five Wildcats made appearances at the NCAA Championships last year and all five returned to the team this season. Sophomores Sebastian Rivera (125) and Ryan Deakin (157) both made their first trip to the championships last year as redshirt freshmen. Rivera earned sixth place at the event, the best NU finish since 2015 on his way to All-America honors.


• Seniors Johnny Sebastian (174) and Conan Jennings (285) each made their second appearance at the NCAA Championships a year ago. Sebastian went 2-2 while Jennings lost both matches he competed in. Both won their matches last year against Nebraska, defeating Beau Breske and Patrick Grayson, respectively.


• Sophomore Colin Valdiviez (133) was the fifth NCAA qualifier for Northwestern in 2017-18. He went 2-2 in Cleveland, bringing his record on the year to 23-18. As a true sophomore, he has won half of his ten matches this year, with two wins coming by bonus points.


Quick Notes:

• Nebraska has outscored its seven dual opponents by a combined score of 150-106

• Nebraska has won 42 of 70 individual matches in dual competition

• Although the Huskers have a 5-2 record, both losses (22-21 vs. #10 Wisconsin and 18-17 at #7 NC State) came by criteria after being tied after ten matches.

• Returning All-American Tyler Berger (157) won his 100th career match on Dec. 15 against UNC’s Sawyer Davidson. He’s the 28th Husker to hit the 100-win mark and holds a 7-0 dual record this year.

• Redshirt freshman Mikey Labriola (174) leads the team with 39 dual takedowns in just seven bouts. Labriola is 13-2 on the season (6-1 in duals) and earned the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week award on Nov. 13 after going undefeated at the Northeast Duals.

• After starting the season 1-3, junior Isaiah White (165) has won his last seven matches, going 4-0 in his last four matches against top 20 ranked opponents. He went 5-0 to win the Cliff Keen Invitational Dec. 1.

• Returning All-American Taylor Venz (184) has lost his last two dual matches after starting the season 10-1. He will look to bounce back this weekend against the Wildcats.


Berger Beats Opponents, Bests School Records

• After winning his 100th and 101st career matches against #12 North Carolina and #7 NC State, redshirt senior Tyler Berger sits just eight wins away from entering the top-15 in the all-time wins list at Nebraska.


• His top victory of the season came against #4 Hayden Hidlay of NC State. Hidlay, who lost just one match last year on the way to a national runner-up finish, defeated Berger twice in 2017-18.


• Long awaiting revenge, Nebraska’s 157-pounder earned a 5-2 decision over Hidlay on Dec. 16 in Raleigh, N.C., beating his fist on the mat in the bouts waning seconds as he celebrated a hard-fought victory.


• Berger has been unshy about stating that being the national champion at 157 pounds is his goal this year. After beating Hidlay on Dec. 16, Berger will face another stiff test this weekend against Northwestern. #2 Ryan Deakin (10-0) comes to town hoping to knock off the Husker veteran.


Eight Huskers Ranked in Intermat, OpenMat, FloWrestling Rankings

• Eight Nebraska wrestlers are currently ranked in the top 20 of their weight class by the weekly rankings services. Tyler Berger (157) is the highest-ranked Husker, standing as the No. 3 wrestler in his weight class in the OpenMat and FloWrestling rankings.


• Zeke Moisey (125) checks in at No. 12 in the InterMat rankings, No. 11 in the OpenMat rankings and No. 15 on the FloWrestling rankings.


• Taylor Venz (184) ranks as the No. 5 wrestler by both InterMat/OpenMat while coming in at No. 4 on FloWrestling’s rankings. Eric Schultz (197) is a consensus top-15 wrestler in his weight class.


• Chad Red Jr. (141) ranks as the No. 20 wrestler in the country in the OpenMat rankings.


• Isaiah White (165) ranks as the No. 5, 6 and 7 wrestler in his weight class in the FloWrestling, InterMat and OpenMat rankings, respectively. David Jensen (HWT) is the No. 14 wrestler in his class after defeating UNC’s Cory Daniel on Dec. 15, who was previously ranked in the top 15.


• Last Time Out: The Huskers went 1-1 on a road trip to North Carolina on Dec. 15 and 16. NU defeated No. 12 UNC 22-15 to begin the trip, but lost on criteria (18-17) to No. 7 NC State in its last match of 2018.


• Up Next: Nebraska takes on Northern Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 12 in the annual Tumble N’ Rumble with the Nebraska Women’s Gymnastics team. The dual begins at 7 p.m. and television coverage will be had by the Big Ten Student Network.


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