Up 16-11 with two matches remaining against George Mason, Maryland wrestling was on the cusp of winning its first dual meet since Jan. 10.
But the Terps dropped both of their last two bouts to fall 18-16 to the Patriots. They’ve now lost 12 straight.
“Its unacceptable,” head coach Alex Clemsen said. “I don’t care if we have two starters, three starters out, I don’t care if we have seven starters out. We are a program of better resources, we are a program of better talent, we are a program of better coaching, we were better prepared and we didn’t act like it tonight, shame on us.”
Sandoval faced off against George Mason’s Josh Jones in the 133-pound bout with his team up 16-11. He was unable to put together any offensive moves throughout three periods and was shutout in a 2-0 loss against Jones. Jones scored one point from an escape in the second period and one point from riding time.
Baxter was then Maryland’s last hope to win the match with the Terps still up 16-14. But Patriot Alex Madrigal shut out Baxter in his 9-0 major decision to close out the dual. Madrigal was quick on his feet and did not let Baxter get anywhere close to scoring a takedown, while he himself scored off multiple takedowns and tilt points, along with riding time, to earn bonus points for the Patriots and hand Maryland the loss.
The dual began at 149-pounds with Maryland’s Ryan Garlitz facing off against George Mason’s Colston DiBlasi. After suffering a takedown in the first period, Garlitz was called for stalling three times throughout the rest of the match. His opponent was victorious by a 5-0 decision with riding time — giving the Patriots all the momentum to start.
George Mason capitalized and was able to come away with another close individual win in the second bout. At 157-pounds Maryland sent out Lucas Cordio to wrestle Kolby Ho in a showdown that was worth all seven minutes. Ho caught the first lead with a quick takedown in the first few seconds of the first period, but Cordio escaped to earn a point, decreasing his deficit to just a single point at the end of the first period.
Cordio earned another escape to start off the second period and tie the score at two, but Ho countered with a double leg takedown to regain the lead. Cordio, again, escaped from bottom which led to a shot deep in on a single leg. Cordio doubled-off on Ho’s legs and scored a takedown to go up 5-4 at the end of the second.
Ho started on bottom in the final period and earned an escape to tie the score at five. Cardio scored a takedown off of a sweep to take the lead again. But Cordio’s gas tank started to deplete and his defense became a little sloppy. Ho reversed Cordio off of a mat return and tilted the Terp to his back as time ran out in the final period. Ho won in a hard-fought 11-7 decision.
The 165-pound bout was nowhere near as exciting as the bout before, but still ended in more team points for George Mason. Maryland’s Kyle Cochran seemed stale as he dropped a 2-1 decision to Neil Schuster. All of the points were scored in the second period, which only included a takedown from Schuster and an escape from Cochran.
“I think 157 and 165 got out of their game plans,” Clemsen said. “They got stopped early, they got shut down early and it affected them and it affected their match. They didn’t do a great job of wrestling.”
The heavyweight bout featured Maryland’s Parker Robinson against George Mason’s Jake Slinger. Robinson was unable to score any offensive points — with his only point from an escape — while he allowed Slinger to score two takedowns and earn an escape in Robinson’s 5-1 loss.
Maryland’s loss, however, did have a few matches that went in its favor.
In his first dual-start since the Terps wrestled in the Cavalier Duals on November 2, redshirt-senior Josh Ugalde earned the Terps first bout-victory of the night.
Ugalde proved he was ready for competition through his 4-1 decision over Tony Lombardo in the 174-pound bout. Ugalde scored the first takedown off of a scramble initiated by a shot originally from Ugalde in the first period. Ugalde gained the lead at 2-0 and ignited a cheering riot in the stands.
In the second period Ugalde’s movement on bottom was too much for Lombardo to control. Lombardo was caught riding high and Ugalde was able to slip out the back door to score a reversal.
The only point scored in the final period was off of a stall called on Ugalde for backing up in neutral to prevent his opponent from scoring a takedown.
“[Ugalde] deserves that for the work he’s put in,” Clemsen said. “Just because you deserve it doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. He made the most of his opportunity. Im proud of him and I’m happy for him.”
George Mason lost a team point after the match due to head coach Frank Beasley’s unshared words with the referees following Lombardo’s loss.
Maryland’s Philip Spadafora usually competes at 174-pounds, but was bumped up to 184-pounds to allow Ugalde to enter the starting lineup on Senior Day. Spadafora scored a takedown in the first period to gain the lead over George Mason’s Ali Salem and followed with an escape in the second period to go up 3-0. Salem earned a takedown in the final period, but Spadafora hung in to win by a 4-2 decision with riding time.
Jaron Smith kept the winning streak alive for the Terps with a big 22-7 technical fall to earn bonus points. He earned a total of nine takedowns, mostly blast doubles, in his dual against Ramses Montalvo in the 197-pound match. Smith cut his opponent multiple times in order to rack up points from takedowns, also earning a two-point tilt and multiple stall calls in his favor, in his dominant win over the Patrio.
“It was definitely a bit more of a rollercoaster than other matches,” Smith said referring to the dual against George Mason as a whole. “We fell into a little bit of a hole, we ended up taking it back and taking a bit of a lead and then we kind of slipped up and let the match go.”
Another big win, that gave the Terps their first team lead in the dual, came in the 125-pound bout with a quick first period pin from Brandon Cray. Cray quickly put his opponent, Tahla Farooq, in a front headlock and threw him to his back. Cray pinned Farooq in under a minute and earned big bonus points for the Terps.
“It was awesome,” Cray said. “It was a close match and the team needed me. I got it done.”
Unfortunately, as Cray stood up it appeared that he slightly pushed down on Farooq, and the referees deducted a team point from the Terps — leaving them leading 16-11 with two matches left. But the deducted point would play a huge factor in their ultimate loss.
Clemsen said he did not witness the push by Cray due to him warming up King Sandoval to compete at 133-pounds.
“I didn’t see it,” Clemsen said. “My guys thought that it was a little egregious, maybe the call was a little over-reaching. Maybe it was a make-up call for the point that was deducted on the George Mason head coach.”
“No comment,” Cray said when asked about what occurred after he pinned Farooq.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s inability to flip close matches led to the loss. The Terps lost three bouts, 133, 157 and 165, by a two-point or less margin that could have easily gone in favor of the Maryland wrestlers. If only one of these close matches were won by Maryland then the team would have come away with a victory, but a lack of effort, stamina and technique lead to their demise.
2. Smith, again, puts on Maryland’s best performance. The 197-pound Terp was one of only two Maryland wrestlers who earned bonus points for their team tonight. Smith gave Montalvo all of his points through cutting him, giving Montalvo an escape point, just to take the Patriot down for another two points. With tonight’s win Jaron Smith advanced his dual record to 8-5.
3. Maryland seeks revenge against Rider. The Terps will wrestle Rider Saturday at 6 p.m. in College Park to close out the regular season. The last time the two teams met was on January 11 at the Virginia Duals when Rider won 24-8. Maryland will look to break their now 12-match losing streak.