Drexel came into the Xfinity Pavilion in College Park after knocking off a ranked Northwestern squad at the Grapple at the Garden. The Dragons were looking to take down yet another Big Ten team.
Maryland honored former NCAA runner-up and two-time All-American Jimmy Sheptock before the match. Sheptock is getting his masters degree at Drexel and is a member of their wrestling staff.
The dual started at 174 pounds and Josh Snook got it started for the Terps.
Josh Snook vs. Nick Elmer
Both wrestlers were hit for stalling just a minute and a half into the match. Elmer got in on a double but Snook rolled through. Elmer hit his head on the way down and Snook covered easily for the takedown. The refs called time to make sure that a concussion didn't occur and they cleared Elmer to continue. Snook went to the second period with a 2-0 lead.
Elmer took bottom and escaped in about 20 seconds to cut the deficit to one. In the third period, Snook reversed Elmer to take a 4-1 lead but gave up an escape. Elmer then took Snook down to tie the match at four.
After a stalemate call, Elmer cut Snook to put the pressure on himself to score. Snook got in on a low shot and ran out the clock to get the 5-4 decision win.
Jaron Smith vs. Stephen Loiseau
Smith and Loiseau ended up in a scramble position in the first period. The refs awarded Smith control and then gave him two near-fall points. Loiseau elevated his hips and reversed Smith, cutting the deficit in half. Smith needed injury time and Loiseau reversed him after the restart to tie the match at four apiece.
Smith had accumulated a little over a minute of riding time but Loiseau started on top in the third period and erased it. He built up 59 seconds of riding time and both wrestlers ended up in a scramble where both nearly earned back points.
Neither wrestler scored in the sudden death overtime period, and the match went to rideouts. Smith took bottom to start the ride-outs and ended up in a scramble where he pinned Loiseau, giving the Terps a 9-0 lead in the dual.
Garrett Wesneski vs. Nazar Haddad
Haddad missed on a shot in the first period and Wesneski scored on the reshot. Haddad got a quick escape to make it 2-1. Haddad escaped in the second period to tie the match but not before Wesneski built 1:02 of riding time.
Wesneski had a beautiful shot and took Haddad down easily on a low single to take a 4-2 lead going into the third and final period.
Haddad got in on a shot in the third period but couldn't finish. Wesneski added a takedown in the final 15 seconds and tacked on the riding time point for a 7-2 decision win.
Youssif Hemida vs. Joey Goodhart
Goodhart got an early takedown and built up 45 seconds of riding time before Hemida escaped. Hemida escaped in mere seconds to tie the match at two in the second period.
Goodhart took bottom to start the third and escaped quickly to take a 3-2 lead. He also picked up a late takedown and conceded an escape to win 5-3 and get Drexel on the board.
Jhared Simmons vs. Zack Fuentes
Fuentes fought off a great reshot from Simmons early in the first period. Simmons again showcased great shot defense when Fuentes tried to score on an inside trip. Simmons scored instead and took a 2-0 lead.
Fuentes escaped before the end of the period and escaped quickly to start the second. He then scored a takedown of his own to take a 4-2 lead. Simmons hit a reversal to beat the buzzer to tie the match at four.
Fuentes had over a minute of riding time to start the third period and locked it up, meaning he held a 5-4 de facto lead in the match. Both wrestlers went out of bounds and they restarted in the center with 15 seconds left. Fuentes rode Simmons out to get the 5-4 decision win.
Tyler Goodwin vs. David Pearce
Maryland took a 12-6 lead into the intermission.
Goodwin came out on top in a crazy scramble and added four near-fall points with a tilt to take a 6-0 lead into the second period. Pearce rode Goodwin out for the whole second period to erase Goodwin's riding time. Trailing 6-0, Pearce took bottom to start the third period.
Pearce got a reversal and promptly cut Goodwin. Neither wrestler scored again, and Goodwin won 7-2.
Alfred Bannister vs. Kevin Devoy Jr.
Bannister picked up an early takedown and built up 49 seconds of riding time before cutting Devoy Jr. He escaped quickly to start the second period and took Devoy Jr. down with just under 50 seconds left in the period. Devoy Jr. reversed Bannister and trailed 5-3 going to the third period.
Bannister gave up an escape but led 5-4 and had 1:02 of riding time. He hit a low blast double but conceded another escape. Even though he got hit for stalling, Bannister was able to run out the clock and win 8-6.
Bannister's decision win made it 18-6 in favor of Maryland. Drexel need 12 points to tie and had only three matches to do it.
Wade Hodges vs. Matthew Cimato
Cimato picked up a takedown with a minute left in the first period to take a 2-0 lead and added a four point near-fall. He also added two near-fall points at the buzzer to push his lead to eight.
Cimato got hit for stalling for the second time but still led 8-1 going to the third period. He picked up a takedown at the buzzer to get a 10-2 major decision but the Dragons still trailed by eight points going into the match at 157.
Lou Mascola vs. Ryan O' Connor
O'Connor picked up a two takedowns in the first period but Mascola hit a reversal. He trailed 5-3 going into the second period. Mascola cut O'Connor but hit an inside trip to cut the deficit to one.
Mascola nearly got put to his back but only allowed the one escape point. The Terrapin senior was down two points heading into the third but hit a reversal to tie the match at seven all. Mascola cut O'Connor, putting the pressure on himself to shoot in and score.
After a stalemate, the match restarted with 21 seconds left. O'Connor got in deep on a single but Mascola snapped him down and circled behind to score and win at the buzzer. Mascola's 9-8 decision win sealed the dual win for Maryland.
Brendan Burnham vs. Austin Rose
The dual score was 21-10 going into the final bout of the dual and Maryland had already wrapped up the win.
Burnham, another one of Maryland's promising freshmen, couldn't score in the first period but escaped in seven seconds to start the second frame. Rose scored a takedown but couldn't ride Burnham out. The match went to sudden death overtime.
Burnham shot in and scored on a great second effort to win the match, 4-2, and finish off the dual.
Maryland beat Drexel, 24-10, to move to (3-4, 0-1) on the season.
"This was a great win for our guys. They've been working really hard," said head coach Kerry McCoy after the dual. "We've had to rattle the cage a little in practice but they just want to get better."
A showdown with top-five Nebraska looms on Friday. The Cornhuskers embarrassed Maryland, 42-3, in Lincoln last year but this Terps team is a more talented group. While Maryland almost certainly won't beat Nebraska, this year's matchup should be much more competitive.
3 Things You Need to Know
1) There were a lot of matches that could have gone either way
The score was not indicative of how close the match was. Snook almost let Elmer come back on him. Mascola needed a late takedown to beat O'Connor. Rose failed to execute basic shot defense and Burnham made him pay in overtime. Smith got a big pin but both wrestlers fell into that position. Smith used his instincts to get into great position that resulted in the fall. Simmons got ridden out in the third period and lost by a single point. This was a very close dual match.
2) Maryland is winning the key situations and positions that they weren't a year ago
Last year against Rutgers (and throughout the season), there were key moments in individual matches that decided the outcomes of the matches and, by extension, the dual. Maryland lost those key moments and lost the dual by double digits to Rutgers. This year against Hofstra and Drexel, they have been winning those key positions. I don't expect them to win them consistently against their top Big Ten competitors but Maryland's execution on the mat has been much better.
3) Lou Mascola needs to make some adjustments if he is to become an All-American
Let's be clear. Mascola doesn't need to make wholesale changes to his game. He showed great mental toughness by digging deep and coming back to beat Ryan O'Connor. He was confident in his ability to cut O'Connor and then go get the takedown he needed to win. It very nearly backfired. Mascola was lucky in that O'Connor decided not to switch off to a double leg and stall out the clock in the final seconds. O'Connor stuck to the single leg and couldn't hold on as Mascola circled around. Had O'Connor switched off to a double, Mascola probably would have lost.
If he wants to end up on the podium, he'll have to start faster. You can't warm up to underdogs or better wrestlers at the NCAA Championships. You have to be in attack mode from the second the whistle blows. Mascola has the stuff to get on the podium but he has to start matches quicker and make some slight technical changes.