It may seem a bit strange for me to write this but although the Maryland wrestling team dropped their match at thirteenth ranked Virginia Friday night, the season seems to be improving. Yes, the Cavaliers nipped the Terps by a 16-15 final but the Terps again got wins from some of the lighter weight classes that had been missing earlier in the season.
At 125 pounds, Billy Rappo couldn't build on his upset of then twentieth ranked Natahan Kreisser at North Carolina last week and lost a 5-1 decision to Nick Hermann. However, Tyler Goodwin quickly turned things around for the Terps picking up his second straight dual match win and fourth of the season taking a 12-6 decision at 133 pounds over Virginia's Joe Martinez. Goodwin's win evened the team score at three all.
Maryland's Shyheim Brown got back on the winning track in his match at 141 pounds. The sophomore from Harrisburg broke a three match losing streak upsetting seventeenth ranked Joe Spisak. Brown's 5-2 win was aided by four stalling calls against Spisak. It lifted the Terps to a short lived 6-3 team lead.
Virginia's comeback started at 149 pounds. Ninth ranked Gus Sako dispatched Maryland's Frank Goodwin in an 8-3 decision. The Terps Danny Orem wrestled fifteenth ranked Blaise Butler at 157 pounds. Orem had a great effort, taking the match into overtime before falling seven to six. The Cavs Nick Sulzer demonstrated why he is ranked second in the country at 165 pounds. The redshirt junior won an 18-5 major decision over Ben Dorsay capturing the only bonus point of the night and the one that proved crucial in the team score. At 174 pounds, Virginia's Stephen Doty took an 8-2 decision over Ty Snook handing the senior his first dual meet loss of an injury shortened season. The four wins and the bonus point propelled the home squad from a 6-3 deficit to a 16-6 team lead.
The outcome of the match would rest on the shoulders of the three heaviest weight classes. However, the Terrapins' wrestlers had an added layer of pressure. They not only lad to win their matches but at least one would have score a minimum of one bonus point to square the team score. Their Virginia counterparts, conversely, had the advantage of knowing that as long as they didn't yield a bonus point, they could lose all three matches and still secure a team win.
Maryland's attempted comeback started as it usually does in the 184 pound weight class with top ranked Jimmy Sheptock. His opponent, John Fausey, ranked eighteenth in the country, was no pushover, though. Still, Sheptock remained unbeaten on the season pushing his dual meet record to 22-0 with a 3-1 decision.
Thirteenth ranked Christian Boley, back on the mat after missing last week's match at North Carolina and ceding an injury default at Virginia Tech, took a 5-1 decision over Zach Nye at 197 pounds but fell three critical points short of earning a much needed major decision and a bonus point.
With the Terrapins trailing 16-12, the meet would come down to the final match of the night - the heavyweights. A simple decision wouldn't be enough for Maryland's eighth ranked Spencer Myers to lift his team to victory. Myers would need to score a major decision, a near fall or a fall. Though he won the match 4-3 over Ethan Hayes, it wasn't quite enough and the Terps fell to 1-3 in ACC matches.
The Terps will be home for three of their final four dual meets beginning Saturday, February 8 at 7 pm when they host Duke at Comcast Center.