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Without top 3 wrestlers, Maryland falls 26-9 to Central Michigan

The Terps were shorthanded again, and couldn’t keep up with the Chippewas.ipp

Maryland wrestling Noah Niederhoffer

Orion Anderson, Jahi Jones and Philip Spadafora each earned their first dual victories of the season, but the Maryland wrestling team fell by a score of 26-9 to Central Michigan on Sunday.

The loss drops Maryland to 0-3 in the dual season, while Central Michigan earned its first win, improving to 1-2. The Chippewas’ victory sees them avenge their 23-15 loss to Maryland in the 2011-12 season, the last time these sides met.

The home side was once again without stars Youssif Hemida and Ryan Diehl, as well as Alfred Bannister, who was still banged up from his individual 5-4 decision victory in Fridays 31-6 loss against Navy.

“He got a little banged up on Friday [against Navy], if he had to go … he would have been able to go,” Maryland wrestling coach Kerry McCoy said. “Everything’s practice and we want to be ready for March, so we’d rather be more conservative now so when we get to March our guys are ready and ready to go. If it was a necessity for him to go today we would have put him out there.”

“If we have a full lineup, I think we’re going to be a totally different team this year,” Anderson said.

With their veterans out of the lineup, it was up to the Terps’ young prospects to fill in the missing pieces. Anderson, Jones and Spadafora certainly rose to the occasion. Anderson and Spadafora picked up their first collegiate dual wins.

Anderson, a freshman, earned a thrilling 10-8 decision victory in the 133-pound weight class, besting the Chippewas’ Brock Bergelin. A near-pin in the first period saw Anderson take a commanding advantage, leading 7-3 going into the second. Bergelin was able to cut into the lead by pressuring Anderson, bringing the score to 8-6 with one period left to play. A late scare brought the score within one in the third, but Anderson was able to hold on for a 10-8 decision victory. This brought the Terps to a 3-3 tie after two bouts.

“It’s just a confidence booster for me,” Anderson said. “[The] beginning of the year was a little rough. Just knowing I’ve gotta go out and attack and be who I was in high school and have it carry over.”

Three bouts later, in the 157-pound weight class, redshirt junior Jahi Jones earned an 8-6 sudden victory over Chippewas challenger Logan Parks.

A pair of takedowns from Parks followed by as many escapes from Jones saw Parks leading 4-2 at the end of the first period. Another Jones escape followed by a Parks infraction saw Jones bring the score level at four apiece. Midway through the round, it looked like Jones was destined to be taken down, but he utilized some great takedown defense followed by a takedown of his own, which not only gave him his first lead of the match at 6-4, but also brought the previously quiet Xfinity Pavillion crowd to life.

“It wasn’t really technical, it was more of just wrestling,” Jones said of the pivotal turn of events.

Parks responded with two escapes in the second and third periods respectively, deadlocking the score at 6-6 going into a sudden victory round. Jones was ultimately able to capitalize off an offensive position, earning him the 8-6 sudden victory. This cut into the Chippewas’ lead, bringing the score to 11-6 in favor of the visitors.

Spadafora, a sophmore, earned the Terps’ third and final individual victory of the day, besting Bret Fedewa by a score of 5-3. Spadafora relied on a great first-round output, and held on for the remaining two periods to edge out Fedewa.

This would bring the team score to 11-9 in favor of the Chippewas, the closest the Terps had been to leading since being tied at 3-3. However, Central Michigan would win the remaining four bouts, highlighted by a dominant pin victory for No. 19-ranked sophomore Matt Stencel, to cruise to victory and silence the home crowd.

The 0-3 Terps next will next participate at the Patriot Open, hosted by George Mason University, hoping to rebound from this loss.