It was the ultimate test
My team's best versus your team's best.
In the case of the Menomonee Falls wrestling team in its thrilling 33-25 WIAA state team quarterfinal victory over area rival Oak Creek March 3 at the UW-Fieldhouse in Madison, that was a moment for the Indians senior trio of Matt Anderson at 120 pounds, Austin Lasanske at 126 and Eric Wunsch at 132 to answer the bell against the Knights' powerful state level trio of Mitch Landgraf, Matt Berlin and Veliko Kochiu, respectively.
Falls went into those final three matches down, 26-24, but after Anderson earned a stunning reversal on Landgraf to pull out a 2-1 victory, Lasanske used a first-period takedown as a linchpin for a 4-3 victory over Berlin and Wunsch dominated the state 132-pound runner-up Kochiu, 5-1, Falls had won its first state team tournament match in four trips to the event.
Knights coach Matt Sommerville was stunned by the outcome.
"I was really comfortable going into 120, 126 and 132 with a lead," Sommerville said. "But I give a huge amount of credit to Anderson, Lasanske and Wunsch. They were ready, and they brought it against the best wrestlers we had. They've been doing it all season for them, and they had it again tonight."
McMahon was impressed by his senior leaders.
"It was going to come down to those three (against our three), and if you looked at all of those matches closely, you would have called Oak Creek the favorite in all of them, " he said. "But those were just awesome matches, awesome efforts ... it was just a great dual meet."
Wunsch's victory at 132 was probably the highlight. He finished third last week in the state individual tournament while Kochiu was the state runner-up in the same class.
Falls lifted its game to a whole another level against the third-ranked Oak Creek team, which was making its first state team appearance in 10 years. The Knights had beaten the Indians in the Homestead Highlander Scramble a month ago, but Sommerville knew that was a different Falls team back then and his squad would need to be at its best to win.
It almost was.
Joey Colla at 138 pounds (9-0 major decision), Nate Berlin at 145 (9-1 major decision) and Jesse Kovnesky at 152 (9-3 decision) helped stake the Knights to an 11-0 lead.
Falls senior 160-pounder Josh McMahon, Jim's son, got the Indians on the board with a pin, but the Knights' Nolan Paar countered that with a stick of his own at 170 to make it 17-6, Knights. Jon Thomas started the Falls rally in earnest with a pin at 182 to make it 17-12.
Both coaches pointed to the 195 and 220 matches as critical, and when the Knights' John Wright at 195 (6-4 sudden victory decision) and Enrique Acevedo at 220 (3-2 decision) pulled out wins to make it 23-12, Oak Creek, Sommerville was feeling good about things.
"Because going into those matches, we weren't sure that we could win either one (195 or 220)," he said. "So when we came out with wins in both, I felt very comfortable."
But then Falls 285-pounder Logan Fallon came up with a pin, as did 106-pounder Ethan Pogorzelski, to put Falls ahead for the first time, 24-23. When the Knights' Randall Hunt pulled out a wild 14-9 decision over the Indians' Alec Lind, Oak Creek was back up again (26-24) and feeling good going into its power trio.
But Falls, it turned out, had a power trio of its own.
"They just won all the one-point matches when they needed to," Sommerville said.
Coach McMahon just saw the win as an extension of a great last six weeks of the season for his team.
"Our kids have overcome so many obstacles this season," he said.