Down 18-16 to Rider with just one match remaining, heavyweight Parker Robinson was Maryland wrestling’s last chance at ending the regular season with a win to end its losing streak.
But Bronco Ryan Cloud scored a total of five takedowns, never giving Robinson a chance on his feet in a 12-4 major decision.
The Terps once again fell short of success in their 22-16 loss to Rider University on Senior Day Saturday, suffering their 13th straight defeat and second this season at the hands of the Broncos.
“It was tough,” head coach Alex Clemsen said when asked how the regular season as a whole turned out. “I’m not used to ending up on the short end of the stick like we did. I know my assistant coaches aren’t either.”
The dual began with the 125-pound bout with Maryland’s Brandon Cray facing off against Rider’s Jonathan Tropea, who quickly scored the first points of the evening with a takedown after rolling around in a scramble. Cray quickly escaped from bottom and finished the first period down 2-1.
Cray started on top in the second period and rode out Tropea for a majority of the period, but Tropea eventually escaped, advancing his lead up 3-1. Cray pushed for a takedown from neutral in the third, but after a failed scramble attempt, Tropea scored another takedown and finished the match with a 5-1 decision over the Terp.
“[Tropea] was a tick ahead of Cray, credit to him,” Clemsen said.
The Broncos used their momentum from their first match going into the 133-pound bout. Maryland’s King Sandoval was unable to hold onto his lead as a last minute throw from Rider’s Richie Koehler resulted in a 6-3 loss. Sandoval took the lead to start the bout with a takedown in the first period, but an escape from Koehler tied the score at two in the second.
Sandoval was up 3-2 with 10 seconds left in the final period after earning an escape, but Koehler caught Sandoval off-balance and threw him to his back for a four point move to close out the bout.
“[Sandoval] gave it away,” Clemsen said. “Wins are so hard to come by in this sport, and he knows that. He is young and is learning.”
The 141-pound match brought another loss for the Terps with Hunter Baxter falling 4-3 to Rider’s Peter Lipari. The 141-pound Bronco executed a takedown in the first, but Baxter decreased the deficit to one with a crafty escape. Lipari earned a reversal in the second period to go up 4-1 but was called three times while getting set in the refereees position, gifting Baxter a point. Baxter also earned a point at the end of the match for riding time, but was not enough to win him the bout.
The Terps put Peter Tedesco in the lineup at 149-pounds for his first dual start this season. Even with the hype of his last dual bout, Tedesco was unable to come away with a victory. Rider’s Gino Fluri took the lead with a takedown in the first period but could not holed Tedesco down as the Terp earned an escape. Tedesco could not hold Fluri down in the second period as he escaped and advanced his lead 3-2.
Tedesco escaped at the start of the third, but Fluri countered with a takedown and rode him out for the remainder of the period to win by a 6-2 decision with riding time.
Just before intermission, the Terps looked to score their first team points of the match in the 157-pound bout — Lucas Cordio would do just that and more.
With a very stale match tied at 1-1 in the third period both Cordio’s and Travis Layton’s points came from one escape each, but the Terp was just seconds away from lighting up the Maryland crowd. With just over a minute left in the final period Cordio caught Layton in a front headlock in the neutral position and thew Layton to his back for the pin. Cordio’s win cut Maryland’s deficit in half — now only down 12-6 — going into intermission.
“I have been in a little bit of a downswing recently losing a few in a row,” Cordio said. “To come out here in our last dual and pull off a big win like that against a team that has kind of become one of our rivals felt really cool and to do it in front of our home crowd, you can’t really beat that.”
Maryland continued to gain on the Broncos in the 165-pound bout following intermission. Maryland’s Kyle Cochran earned more bonus points for the Terps in his 11-2 major decision over Rider’s Joe Casey. The first period left both wrestlers tied at zero with neither one able to score a takedown. Cochran sped up the pace in the second scoring a total of three points from an escape and a takedown on Casey.
The third and final period is where Cochran displayed his talent though, scoring three more takedowns on Casey. Cochran also earned a point from two stall calls on Casey and a point from riding time.
“At first when I was wrestling him he felt pretty strong, [Casey’s] gas-tank was still pretty good,” Cochran said. “But Clemsen told me from the start ‘Just keep chopping at the tree, just keep chopping at the tree. If it doesn’t come down the first time then it will come down the second.’”
Redshirt senior Josh Ugalde made the starting lineup for the second dual in a row to be featured on senior day, but was outmatched in the 174-pound bout.
Rider’s Dean Sherry started off with a commanding lead due to a takedown right to Ugalde’s back in the first period for a four-point move. Ugalde earned an escape to cut Sherry’s lead down just 4-1. Sherry reversed Ugalde in the second period scoring him two more points while Ugalde earned only one from another escape.
Ugalde tried to make a late comeback in the final period with two points from a reversal on Sherry, but he came up short dropping a 7-4 decision — his seventh point came from Ugalde locking hands while in the top position in the third period.
Rider continued to advance its lead with George Walton’s victory in the 184-pound bout. Maryland’s Philip Spadafora never had a chance in the 12-5 loss. Over three periods, Walton scored five takedowns, one escape and a point from riding time to beat the Terp. All five of Spadafora’s points came from escapes.
Maryland’s Jaron Smith earned a forfeit in the 197-pound bout giving six points to the Terps, but Parker couldn’t get it done when it mattered most.
Three things to know
1. The Terps end the regular season 2-17 in dual play. With Saturday’s loss to Rider in its last dual, Maryland finished the season on a 13-match losing streak. Maryland’s only wins this season came from Southern Virginia (42-6) on Nov. 2 and Fresno State (22-18) on Jan. 10.
This is the third season in four years that Maryland has garnered a mere two wins in regular season play.
2. Inability to fight back when starting behind. The Terps started off behind in six-of-ten of their individual bouts against Rider. In all six of those matches, Maryland was unable to fight back to overthrow its opponents lead. These failed efforts of comebacks certainly helped Rider come away with the dual victory.
3. Big Ten Championships will start the post-season. After Saturday’s dual the Terps will have ample time away from competition to regroup and prepare to bust brackets at the Big Ten Championships in hopes for a ticket to the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Big Ten Championships take place March 7-8 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
“We won’t be relaxing,” Clemsen said when asked how they will prepare for the Big Ten Championships. “Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be rough.”