By the time Maryland wrestling’s Philip Spadafora walked onto the mat to face Michigan’s Max Maylor in the 174-pound bout, his team was already in a colossal hole. The Terps dropped their first six matches of the night, facing a 22-0 deficit on the scoreboard.
When the two met in the Black Knight Invite back on Nov. 17, Spadafora pinned Maylor in the second period. This time around, Spadafora wasn’t as dominant, but he came back from a deficit to receive a second escape and a takedown to ride out the third period and close the match.
“As long as the effort and fight is good I don’t care how they win. It was a good win,” head coach Alex Clemsen said.
While Spadafora’s performance ensured Maryland wouldn’t be shut out by the Wolverines, it was too little too late as the Terps were eviscerated, 34-3, in Ann Arbor on Friday night.
“I feel like they executed their game plan a little better”, Clemsen said. “We let matches slip away at 133, 149, 165 and 197 — they were all within striking distance.”
The Terps kicked the night off with Brandon Cray squaring off against Jack Medley started off the dual meet in the 125-pound bout. Medley was dominant from all positions as he secured a total of four takedowns, one escape, four back points off a tilt and an extra point off of riding time. He finished the match with a 16-2 major decision over Cray.
At 133 pounds, Maryland’s King Sandoval faced off against the Joey Silva. A stagnant first period of hand fighting and few missed shots led to an escape by Silva in the second. The matchup ended with a close single-leg attempt by Silva that was ruled no takedown after review by the referee.
Sandoval was able to receive an escape in the third period to tie the score at 1-1, but he was taken down in a messy scramble giving Silva a two-point lead. He was able to get in one more escape, but Silva emerged victorious in a 3-2 minor decision, giving Michigan an early 7-0 lead over Maryland through two matches.
Michigan’s Cole Mattin dominated in his 141-pound match against Hunter Baxter — he received a takedown in the first period and got four back points off of a vicious suck-back while on top.
After Mattin secured an escape, two more takedowns and a stalling call, Baxter finally received his first point of the match with a generous escape in the third period, making the score 12-1. Mattin would go on to win the match with a 15-2 major decision with riding time.
With three losses on the night and zero points on the scoreboard to that point, Maryland turned to Michael Doetsch to make something happen. He had a tough task ahead of him, as his opponent was Kanen Storr, the No. 9 wrestler in the weight class.
Doetsch kept things close throughout, as he allowed just two takedowns, escaping both. However, after failing to pick up more points late, the match resulted in a 5-3 minor decision for Storr with riding time.
Maryland’s Lucas Cordio faced Will Lewan, the No. 12 wrestler in the 157-pound weight class, and was completely eviscerated.
Lewan swiftly put up multiple takedowns and received back points off of a headlock throw, continuing his dominant performance in the third period with an escape, two takedowns and back points from a near-side cradle. Cordio wound up losing with a 19-4 technical fall.
At 165 pounds, Michigan’s Tyler Meisinger broke Kyle Cochran’s four-win streak following the Virginia Duals.
Meisinger threw Cochran in a cement mixer early in the first period that was called a pin, but the ruling was overturned once it was confirmed that the referee interfered with the wrestlers through accidental contact. To begin the second period Cochran was down 10-3, and he ultimately lost in a 12-9 decision.
Michigan’s Jelani Embree, No. 16 in the 184-pound weight class, won comfortably with an 8-3 minor decision after losing to Kyle Jasenski earlier this season at the Black Knight Invite. He relied on his aggressive offense and lockdown defense to lead him to victory over Jasenski for the second time this season.
In the 197-pound match, Maryland’s Jaron Smith fell to Jackson Striggow for the second time this season. After he took down Striggow in the first period and rode him out for roughly two minutes, he gave up a takedown in the second and third period, which resulted in a 4-2 minor decision for the Wolverines.
The night concluded with No. 2-ranked heavyweight Mason Parris pinning Parker Robinson in the second period, securing a 31-point victory for the Wolverines.
“Michigan wrestled better. They wrestled a little harder and a little smarter,” Clemsen said. “That’s what makes the difference between good teams and great teams.”
Three things to know
1. The Terps continue to struggle with Big Ten opponents. Entering Friday, Maryland had struggled immensely in conference play since leaving the ACC, to say the least. Before their defeat at the hands of Michigan, the Terps had lost 34 straight against Big Ten foes and were 1-45 since the realignment. In Ann Arbor, Maryland suffered another dominant beating, and it was completely outclassed by the Wolverines.
2. Maryland’s losing streak continues. Maryland’s last win was on Jan. 10, when it beat Fresno State in a close 22-18 victory at the Virginia Duals — the Terps went on to lose the remaining three matches against Rider, Kent State and Old Dominion. Friday’s loss against Michigan brings Maryland’s losing streak to four, tying its longest mark of the season.
3. The team has an opportunity to bounce back this weekend. It’s a quick turnaround for the Terps, who will travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State on Jan. 19. The Spartans are just 4-4 on the season, and both teams will battle for their first conference win as they stand at 0-2 in the Big Ten.
“They need to execute the game plan we are putting in front of them a little better,” Clemsen said. “They are hungry for growth, development and wins.”