By Duncan Irvine
For the third time in three meets, Zach Schrader had a chance to win it for Maryland wrestling.
With the visiting Navy Midshipmen clinging to a one-point advantage heading into the last bout of the evening, a late takedown as the clock dwindled in the final moments secured yet another victory for the Terps, 18-16.
“We’re tough. We’re real tough. We compete,” Schrader said following his team’s improbable win.
Zach Spence opened things up for the Terps at 125 pounds where he took on 28th ranked Jacob Allen. Allen took down Spence early in the first to give him a lead that he would not give up. Allen dominated Spence for the entire match, winning 18-2 via technical fall.
King Sandoval looked to keep up last weekend’s success against 27th ranked Josh Koderhandt at 133 pounds. Sandoval trailed 2-1 heading into both the second and third periods. Unfortunately for Sandoval, Koderhandt proved to be too much, stifling Sandoval’s usually electric moves.
Koderhandt defeated Sandoval, 7-1, giving Navy an 8-0 lead.
Danny Bertoni looked to get the Terps going at 141 pounds where he faced Jonathan Miranda. Bertoni got out to a 5-0 lead and didn’t look back, defeating Miranda, 7-3.
Michael North looked to follow up on Bertoni’s victory against PJ Crane at 149 pounds. The score was tied at two heading into the final period.Neither wrestler was able to gain a true advantage, but North rode Crane for over a minute in the third period to earn him a ride time point, enough for a 3-2 victory.
“I’m just really proud of him and happy for him,” coach Alex Clemsen said. “They have a saying in their house… that ‘North’s never quit’ and he didn’t quit tonight.”
Lucas Cordio looked to rebound from last week’s 0-2 showing against 18th ranked Andrew Cerniglia. Cerniglia showed that he has earned his ranking, jumping out to a 7-0 first-period lead. Cordio led 10-0 at the end of the second and held on to win 12-4.
Heading into the back half of the meet, Maryland trailed 12-6.
Gaven Bell filled in for John-Martin Best who tore his ACL in last week’s match at 165 pounds against Val Park. Bell was never really able to get his ground and lost 10-2 via major decision.
174 pounds saw Dom Solis face Shane Finney. Solis had a 2-1 lead going into the second period but trailed 5-4 heading into the third. Finney protected his lead but was called for stalling with under five seconds to go, sending the bout to a sudden-victory period.
Using this momentum, Solis took down Finney, giving him an 8-6 victory. With the win, Maryland trailed 16-9 with three matches remaining.
Kyle Cochran took on 25th ranked David Key at 184 pounds looking to repeat his momentous victories from last week.
The upset bid looked promising early on, as Cochran led 2-1 heading into the second period and 4-3 heading into the third. Another takedown gave Cochran the 8-3 upset victory to chip into the Terps’ deficit.
For the third straight meet, Jaron Smith was in a position to set Zach Schrader up for the win. Smith had to take on 24th ranked Jacob Koser at 197 pounds.
Smith wasted no time getting two takedowns in the first period and he led 4-2 going into the second period and 4-3 heading into the third. The two exchanged takedowns in the final period, but Smith’s riding time was enough to earn him a 7-6 victory. Navy led 16-15 heading into the heavyweight bout.
32nd ranked Schrader and the hero of last week’s dual-meets took on 33rd ranked Riley Smith to finish out the night.The first period was scoreless, but Schrader opened up the third period with an escape.
Schrader maintained his 1-0 lead into the third period but Smith got an escape of his own.The score remained tied 1-1 at the end of the third, sending the match to a sudden-victory period. Fans were on their feet chanting Schrader’s name as the period began.
Dom Solis said it was an atmosphere like no other.
“I haven’t competed in a wrestling match with that atmosphere in I don’t even know how long. It was just an amazing feeling.”
He used this support to takedown Smith, sealing a 3-1 individual victory and 18-16 team victory. For the third straight time, a back-half rally ended with dominant Terps’ performances and a team victory.
“Just because we win three dual-meets doesn’t mean we’re all of a sudden good, right? We still got a lot of work to do. I think we’re getting better, and we’re going to continue to do that,” Clemsen said.
The Terps’ next competition will be the Southern Scuffle hosted by Chattanooga on January 1st and 2nd. After that, Clemson’s squad will take on Penn State at home to open up Big Ten play on January 7.
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