The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team snagged its first MAC win beating Northern Illinois, 24-12 on Friday, January 8, 2016.

The Panthers only gave up four weight classes to improve to 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the MAC.

Jake Koethe knocked off his second top-20 opponent of the year to spark UNI. As the lead-off wrestler of the dual, his decision over No. 15 Steve Bleise put the Panthers up 3-0 over the Huskies.

Koethe led the entire match and put Bleise on his back just as the whistle blew, but he had to settle for the 8-4 decision.

Koethe beat No. 17 Anthony Abidin of Nebraska at the Midlands Championships last week.

After a loss at 149 pounds, UNI went on to take the next two matches.

True freshman No. 20 Bryce Steiert picked up a first-period fall against Austin Culton in 2 minutes, 12 seconds. It was Steiert's second pin of the year, and he stays perfect in the MAC (3-0).

Taylor Berger got his first MAC dual win of the year over Shaun'Qae McMurty, who is ranked third in the MAC at 165 pounds. His decision put the Panthers up 12-3.

Kyle Lux built up a 6-3 lead and nearly two minutes of riding time heading into the third period. Just as he locked up riding time with a minute left in the match, Trace Engelkes got a quick reversal and earned back points to take the match, 10-9.

Cody Caldwell had a flurry of points in the first period with a quick takedown and four near fall points, but Caldwell wasn't able to secure the fall. An escape in the second period and a final takedown in the third gave him the 9-5 decision over Quinton Rosser.

The 197-pound match went into sudden victory, but Jared Bartel eventually fell to returning NCAA qualifier Shawn Scott, 3-1.

Heavyweight No. 15 Blaize Cabell gave the Panthers a big boost by pinning Arthur Bunce in 2:27. It was Cabell's first fall of the season, and it kept him perfect in the MAC (3-0).

Despite a loss at 125 pounds, the dual was locked up for UNI heading into the final match of the night. Alber went on the offensive and led 6-1 after the first. He would go on to win 9-3.

Several Panthers will head to Dubuque Saturday to compete unattached in the Flash Flanagan Open hosted by Loras College.

The next dual for UNI is on the road against No. 5 Virginia Tech. The Panthers will be at home 7 p.m. Jan. 29 when they host Central Michigan in the West Gym.

RESULTS: UNI 24, Northern Illinois 12

141 – Jake Koethe (UNI) dec. #15 Steve Bleise (NIU), 8-4
149 – Gabe Morse (NIU) dec. Jake Hodges (UNI), 5-3
157 – #20 Bryce Steiert (UNI) pinned Austin Culton (NIU), 2:12
165 – Taylor Berger (UNI) dec. Shaun'Qae McMurty (NIU), 6-5
174 – Trace Engelkes (NIU) dec. Kyle Lux (UNI), 10-9
184 – Cody Caldwell (UNI) dec. Quinton Rosser (NIU), 9-5
197 – Shawn Scott (NIU) dec. Jared Bartel (UNI), 3-1 SV1
285 – #15 Blaize Cabell (UNI) pinned Arthur Bunce (NIU), 2:27
125 – Alijah Jeffery (NIU) dec. Leighton Gaul (UNI), 10-3
133 – #18 Josh Alber (UNI) dec. Austin Eicher (NIU), 9-3.