ZIONSVILLE – The Zionsville wrestling team saw how the little things can make the difference on Wednesday night when they faced eighth-ranked Avon.

The Eagles and Orioles each had five pins in the match, but the Orioles won all four of the close decisions and won 42-30.

“This dual came down to bonus points,” Zionsville head coach Doug Welch said. “Our guys that found success focused on the right things – scoring points, giving their best effort and having fun. We have to work on some things, and it is still early in the year. We are aiming to peak at the end of the year. I liked our performance, our guys gave everything they had, and I am proud of them.”

It was the third ranked opponent the Eagles have faced so far this season.

Welch said that he loves the way the schedule is set up for his team, giving them benchmarks throughout the season to see where they are at.

“They took second in the state last year, so you see where you’re at,” Welch said. “It shows what we need to work on and improve. Our guys gain confidence facing good teams. They see they can compete with the top guys. I think we have one of the toughest schedules in the state, if not the toughest, and if really helps our guys.”

The Eagles got off to a good start in the dual, with Chase Poynter winning by pin at 170.

But Avon won the next six matches, including three decisions between 195-285 – two of which were decided by three points or less, to take a 27-6 lead.

Zionsville got back in the win column at 120 pounds, when Aiden Dorsey won by pin over Zajvir Mahli.

“He changed the momentum for us,” Welch said. “He really stepped up for us. He showed a lot of heart, got after it and didn’t let the kid frustrate him. He stayed focused on giving 100 percent effort and getting after his attacks. I was proud of him.”

Avon’s top-ranked Ray Rioux won by pin at 126 pounds to put Avon up 33-12.

Zionsville’s Hudson Harreld gave fourth-ranked Tyler Conley everything he could handle at 132 pounds, but couldn’t complete a couple of strong attempts at takedowns and lost a close 4-2 decision.

Zionsville’s Logan Wagner won by pin at 138 over Colton Roberts.

Avon won by pin at 145 to clinch the win, but Zionsville’s Vincent McDonald and Shane Bates closed the match out with pins at 152 and 160 pounds over Hampus Westanau and Alec Plummer respectively.

“Those guys are great leaders, and teach our guys how to compete hard,” Welch said. “They show how to give everything you have and give everything you have on and off the mat. They are great all-around leader, and we have a lot of those. I am thankful for our team, they train hard, work hard and compete hard.”

Zionsville will head north to the Penn Super Duals on Saturday.

Welch said it is another good test for his team at the midway point of the season.

“I just want our guys to fight and compete hard,” Welch said. “I want them to give their best effort and have fun. Sometimes we get so caught up in everything and forget why we got started in this sport. The Penn trip and the Al Smith Invite our great, because we are traveling together, staying in the hotel and building relationships. I want them to enjoy it and have fun.”

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Zionsville Times Sentinel and Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.

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