The George Mason Patriots came into College Park and, in a thrilling dual, toppled a Terps team that had aspirations of being a top-7 Big Ten team in its first season in its new conference. They look awfully far from being able to do that after today. Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy was disappointed with the result saying, "We definitely had opportunities to win. We expect to win every time we go out there."
Even the most optimistic Maryland fan cannot help but be deeply concerned by this loss. George Mason is not a good wrestling team. The Terps had four back-ups (either second or third stringers) wrestle in this match. Because of some health concerns and decisions by the coaching staff, Maryland went through their first four matches without using a starter.
If Maryland had all of their starters in, they probably would have won the first five matches and won the dual. Maryland's lack of depth behind their starters is an absolutely legitimate concern. If they can't even get by decent teams like George Mason, how will they fare against their first two Big Ten opponents, Nebraska and Wisconsin (both of whom are ranked in the top-15 by Intermat)?
McCoy said that while he was disappointed with the loss, he is focused on the big picture, "It's November 9th. NCAA's are in March. We have to continue to improve and build off of it." From what we saw on Sunday, there is a lot of room for improvement.
Quick hits from the dual:
Maryland started their first four matches with back-ups but the first two went Maryland's way. Jhared Simmons, who is sitting behind both Tyler Goodwin and Josh Polacek on the depth chart, stepped up and got a decision to open the dual and Billy Rappo, who started at 125 last year but is behind Geoff Alexander at 133 pounds, followed with a decision as well. It was an ok opening but not a great opening for Maryland.
Sahid Kargbo earned the first team points of the day for George Mason by beating Daniel Sanchez 7-4 to close out the lightweights. The starter at 141 pounds for Maryland, Shyheim Brown, got the equivalent of an NBA "Did Not Play-Coach's Decision" that is commonly referred to as a "DNP". Sanchez couldn't get the job done against the tough Kargbo and the match moved to the middle weights.
Shane Arechiga, who is wrestling behind Ben Dorsay, lost a very close match to Ryan Hunsberger that tied the dual up at six points a piece. Lou Mascola was the first Maryland starter to see action and he beat Greg Flournoy 4-1 in his first match of the season. Patrick Davis, a transfer from N.C. State, dominated Tyler Manion with a 15-5 major decision to put the Patriots ahead for the first time in the dual going into the upper weights.
Ryan Forrest edged Josh Snook in a 6-5 nail biter that pushed the Patriot's lead to four. Fifth year senior captain Tony Gardner answered with a 12-4 major decision that tied the match at 13 points apiece. Rob Fitzgerald continued his great start to the season by beating Matt Meadows 6-3. Fitzgerald is now 5-0 on the season. That set up a showdown at heavyweight to decide the match. The Terps led 16-13 but Maryland's heavyweight, Sean Twigg, faced an NCAA qualifier in Jake Kettler. If Kettler won the match by eight or more points or got a pin, Mason would win the dual. Twigg fell to Kettler 12-6, meaning that the teams were tied on the scoreboard.
In the end, Maryland and George Mason each had 16 team points and no pins. They both had won five matches and each team won a single match with bonus points. The criteria that was used to determine the winner was the most points accumulated in the matches. So what they looked at was all of the points scored by Maryland's wrestlers against all of the points scored by George Mason's wrestlers.
In the end, the final tally was as close as the dual itself. George Mason scored 59 points throughout the dual and Maryland scored 55. George Mason was awarded an extra team point and the win. That is an incredibly close margin to lose by, making this loss all the more frustrating for McCoy, the team and the fans. "I don't think our guys were aggressive enough," said McCoy after the match.
Some of the more common criteria that are used to award the extra team point are:
Most matches won
Most matches won with bonus points (most pins, most tech falls, most majors)
The tiebreakers by criteria were designed so that every dual meet would have a winner and that there wouldn't be the possibility for a tie. There are additional criteria in the case that both teams had the same number of match points but those didn't end up coming into play.
The Matches: Maryland vs. George Mason
125: Jhared Simmons decision over Ibrahim Bunduka 8-5 Maryland leads 3-0
133: Billy Rappo decision over Vince Rodriguez 4-3 Maryland leads 6-0
141: Sahid Kargbo decision over Daniel Sanchez 7-4 Maryland leads 6-3
149: Ryan Hunsberger decision over Shane Arechiga 3-1 Maryland tied 6-6
157: Lou Mascola decision over Greg Flournoy 4-1 Maryland leads 9-6
165: Patrick Davis major decision over Tyler Manion 15-5 Maryland trails 9-10
174: Ryan Forrest decision over Josh Snook 6-5 Maryland trails 9-13
184: Tony Gardner major decision over Derek Dwyer 12-4 Maryland tied 13-13
197: Rob Fitzgerald decision over Matt Meadows 6-3 Maryland leads 16-13
HWT: Jake Kettler decision over Sean Twigg 12-6 Maryland tied 16-16