After 125-pounder Brandon Cray secured his second straight dual victory, Maryland wrestling was looking to continue its momentum against Rutgers with 133-pounder Orion Anderson’s match against No. 4 Nick Suriano.
But unlike last Sunday against George Mason, Anderson couldn’t build off Cray’s win, and was pinned less than two minutes into his bout.
Anderson’s defeat was the start of an avalanche by the Scarlet Knights on Friday as Maryland (1-12, 0-9 Big Ten) lost on its Senior Day to No. 16 Rutgers (12-6, 5-4), 25-12.
“We’ve been focusing on attitude and effort and trying to get the guys to work harder in practice,” McCoy said. “If we win [one more] match we get 5-5 split with a top-20 team, which is a pretty good situation to be going into the postseason.”
Before Anderson’s loss, Cray delivered an impressive performance against Rutgers’ Shane Metzler.
The two battled to a 3-3 score heading into the third and final frame, with Cray starting the period on top. Metzler could do absolutely nothing as Cray held firm and didn’t give up the escape for the entire two minutes.
With Cray having ridden Metzler for more than a minute, he was awarded a riding time point and walked away with a 4-3 victory.
McCoy has praised Cray’s surge in the later part of the season but knows that he can be even better.
“He’s still got a lot of areas to improve on,” McCoy said. “He did a great job on top. It really takes a lot of guts to ride a guy for as long as he did to win the match.”
After Cray’s win, though, the Terps dropped their next four matches.
141-pounder Danny Bertoni was taken down at will by Rutgers’ Peter Lipari, en route to a 12-6 victory for the Scarlet Knights.
Senior 149-pounder Alfred Bannister had the tough task of facing No. 1 Anthony Ashnault and from the beginning of the match, it was clear that Ashnault was a step above.
The vaunted Scarlet Knight took Bannister down three times in the first period, and that’s all he would need as he cruised to an 11-3 victory.
After a technical fall loss by 165-pounder Adam Whitesell to No. 16 John Van Brill, 165-pounder Philip Spadafora stepped onto the mat looking to break Maryland out of the slump.
The Terps’ redshirt freshman did just that, using a takedown in the second and timely defense in the third to fend off Rutgers’ Stephan Glasgow and win, 6-4.
The most exciting match of the night came in the 174-pound weight class as Maryland’s Josh Ugalde took on Joseph Grello.
Ugalde suffered a lower-body injury early in the match, but he fought through and saw himself down only 1-0 late into the third period.
With just seconds remaining, Ugalde escaped from the down position and swiftly took Grello down which sent the match to overtime tied at two. After no one scored in sudden victory, Ugalde failed to escape in the thirty-second ride outs while Grello ultimately did.
Behind 3-2 with just seconds left, Ugalde managed one last takedown attempt but after a video review, the referees deemed that no points should be awarded and Ugalde lost, 3-2.
After an 8-0 loss by 184-pounder Kyle Jasenski, 197-pounder Niko Cappello wrestled Rutgers’ Nick Wright, and it turned into Cappello’s best performance of the year.
After a scoreless first period, Cappello managed to score the first takedown of the match and took a 2-1 lead into the final period. With time running out, Cappello sprawled out of a takedown attempt, flipped his hips and secured the winning takedown with just 8 seconds remaining.
The home crowd and the Maryland bench exploded after Cappello’s first career Big Ten victory — and it didn’t go unnoticed.
“Personally, this means a lot,” Cappello said. “Especially against Rutgers, you know, my home state. [Seeing my teammates cheer] was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”
Cappello’s win was the first by a 197-pounder this season and the victory means that every single weight class has registered at least one win on the dual season.
McCoy knows what a win like that can do for Cappello especially right before the postseason tournaments.
“To do that in front of his home crowd, it was huge,” McCoy said. “I’m excited for that and hopefully he continues to build off that momentum.”
After Cappello’s thrilling 4-2 win, No. 9 Youssif Hemida stepped onto the Xfinity Pavilion mat for the final time as he took on Christian Colucci.
A late takedown in the first gave Hemida the early 2-0 lead and the senior didn’t look back. After two more dominant periods, Hemida breezed to a 7-2 win.
Hemida admitted that while he’s satisfied with his win, there’s only one thing he wants during his last career dual match as a Terp.
“I want to get a pin,” Hemida said. “Obviously I want to get a win but I just want to get a pin.”