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Maryland wrestling loses its first Big Ten match to Rutgers, 28-11

The Terps continued their Big Ten struggles into the 2019-20 season.

Maryland wrestling Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Entering the 157-pound bout, Maryland wrestling was without a single point, trailing Rutgers 18-0.

But Jahi Jones defeated Michael Van Brill in a tight match to finally get the Terps on the board. Jones dominated the first period after securing a takedown on Brill and continued to add to his riding time through the second. Ahead 4-2 towards the end of the third, Jones was able to secure a last second takedown to win 6-2.

Maryland built off the victory with 165-pounder Kyle Cochran up next. It was scoreless through the first two periods, but the third allowed Cochran to escape and receive a takedown to go up 3-0. The redshirt sophomore kept Scarlet Knight Brett Donner scoreless through three periods and earned riding time for a 4-0 decision.

The match was now within reach, 18-6, but the Terps (1-3) couldn’t build off their momentum to pull off the comeback, ending the night with a 28-11 loss to the Scarlet Knights to kick off Big Ten play.

With a roster full of ranked wrestlers, Rutgers (6-0) minimized Maryland’s points in a dominant fashion, making a win far out of reach from start.

The night began with the 125-pound bout. Maryland’s Brandon Cray was pinned by Rutgers’ No. 12 Nicolas Aguilar to give the Scarlet Knights an early lead at home. With momentum in their favor, Rutgers continued to lay the points on Maryland.

Maryland’s 133-pounder King Sandoval dropped a 9-4 decision against No. 19 Sammy Alvarez. Sandoval was hampered by takedowns in his match as Alvarez was quick on his feet to bring Sandoval to the mat.

The 141-pound bout concluded with Maryland’s Hunter Baxter losing a close 2-0 match against JoJo Aragona. Baxter was unsuccessful in his takedown attempts and escaping from the bottom position, never able to put up a point.

Following Baxter, the Terp’s 149-pounder Michael Doetsch was pinned in a cradle by Gerard Angelo in the second period, adding to Maryland’s deficit.

The Terps finally got some points to go their way with victories in the 157-pound and 165-pound matches and it looked like things may have shifted their way.

Maryland 174-pounder No. 20 Philip Spadafora held his own against Rutgers’ No. 18 Joseph Grello to start. Both wrestlers show tough defense, with neither able to score multiple takedowns, but Spadafora couldn’t keep the Terps’ on the right track, losing in a 3-2 decision.

From there, Maryland’s Kyle Jasenski lost in a 7-2 decision against Billy Janzer in the 184-pound match. Unable to score on his feet, Jasenski could not setup any moves to put him in contention of victory, putting the Terps in a 24-6 hole.

And though it was likely too late for Maryland to get a comeback back on track, 197-pounder Jaron Smith took the spotlight with a pin over No. 14 Jordan Pagano in the next match. Caught in a front headlock after a missed shot, Pagano was thrown to his back by Smith and he was able to stay on top for the pin.

The heavyweight matchup concluded the dual with Rutgers’ Christian Colucci earning a 13-4 major decision over the Terp’s Parker Robinson. Colucci racked up the points against Robinson with an aggressive offense to receive bonus points for the Scarlet Knights.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland’s first Big Ten matchup ends in a loss. Going into the match, Maryland lacked points on paper and the final score did not differ. The Terps’ losing streak in the Big Ten hits 34 matches with the 28-11 defeat, and they are just 1-45 since switching over to the new conference. Rutgers displayed an impressive performance with help from its ranked wrestlers.
  2. The Terps’ next matchup against Pittsburgh will be held at home in College Park. Maryland’s match against Pittsburgh on Dec. 20 will be the Terps’ first dual at home. Having the home advantage will hopefully improve the Terps’ odds. With an overall record of 3-1, with their only loss to No. 3 Ohio State, Pitt will serve as tough competition for the Terps.
  3. Almost two weeks without competition allows the Terps to regroup and refocus. Head coach Alex Clemsen has ample time to whip his team into shape with time out of the spotlight. The Terps’ losing streak — now at three — adds pressure on Clemsen and his staff to improve the wrestling program. Focusing on the little things in the practice room should help Maryland’s performance when it comes back to battle on the mat.