Navy Wrestlers Upset No. 7 Maryland
Navy junior Matt DeMichiel turned in a 12-6 victory over Maryland's Owen Smith to clinch the win for the Mids.
"This was a huge win for our program and against a terrific Maryland team," said 10th-year Navy head coach Bruce Burnett. "We had a great crowd tonight and I really appreciate all the people who came out to support both teams. It was a great environment for wrestling."
The story of the night perhaps was the fact that Maryland wrestled without three of its ranked wrestlers - #11 Steven Bell (133), #9 Alex Krom (141), #5 Mike Letts (165) - who were suffering from various ailments. It's something Burnett is more than familiar with, as three of his starters were also sidelined for the match, two for the year.
"It's one of those things where you play the hand you are dealt," said Burnett. "We've experienced the same woes with injuries this year, but you can't let that hold you back. You have to push forward and wrestle harder. This was an important match for us to win and we were able to do that."
Perhaps it was best put by junior 174-pounder Matt DeMichiel (Whitesboro, N.Y.) who said that certainly he would have liked to have wrestled a healthy Maryland team, but "no team is carried by three wrestlers." Indeed, Maryland fielded a full squad, whose backups were well groomed for the dual.
The momentum pendulum in the opening half of the match saw the Terps take a narrow 7-6 lead after four bouts with each team winning a pair. Maryland claimed the early advantage as third-ranked Hudson Taylor pushed his record to 30-2 behind a 14-2 major decision over Navy senior Charles Carafano (Germantown, Md.) at 197 pounds.
Navy, though, took a 6-4 advantage in the match by winning back-to-back matches. After a scoreless opening period, Navy heavyweight Scott Steele (Towson, Md.), ranked fifth nationally, took a 5-1 lead heading into the final stanza en route to a 6-2 victory over Patrick Gilmore. Meanwhile, sophomore Aaron Kalil (Salem, N.H.) won his three straight dual by handing Maryland senior James Knox a 7-1 loss. Kalil scored a takedown with 32 seconds left in the second period and tacked on three more points with a near fall by the end of the period.
Suffering from flu-like symptoms, 11th-ranked Steven Bell sat out the match for Maryland at 133 pounds. Despite being replaced in the lineup, the Terps' Mookie Golden produced an escape and a late takedown in the match to overcome a 4-2 deficit and earn the 6-4 win over a struggling Pat McCaffrey (Chicago, Ill.), who has now dropped three in a row.
The turning point in the match, however was at 141 pounds. After leading 2-1 heading into the final two minutes of action, Navy senior Matt Pagan (Carteret, N.J.) put together three takedowns, an escape and built up over two minutes of riding time to beat the Terps' Matt Bogusz. That win would give the Mids a 9-7 lead in the match, a lead they would not relinquish.
Navy extended its lead to six thanks to a major decision by Shober who took Annapolis native Jon Kohler to task at 149 pounds. Though Shober held just a one-point advantage after the first period, he would come out and dominate Kohler in the second. Shober scored six points in the final minute of the second period to take a commanding 10-2 lead. Playing a game of cat-and-mouse to help gather enough points for the major decision, Shober did so by scoring two more takedowns in the final period, including his final shot at the buzzer, to score a 15-4 win over Kohler.
"It's always good to score the first point in the match because it certainly gives you a mental edge," said Shober, who stands at 15-9 overall and 1-1 in dual action this season. "I felt like his body was starting to give in a little bit in the second period and so I tried to go at him. I knew we needed the points, so getting the extra team point was what I was going for."
The Mids won their third-straight match by way of a 9-7 win by junior All-American Bryce Saddoris (Spring Creek, Nev.) at 157 pounds. A winded Saddoris was challenged throughout the match by Maryland sophomore Kyle John. John stalked Saddoris and kept him within reach and as time was running down, John struck. With 12 seconds left in the match, John scored his second takedown of the match and tied things up at 7-7. John was forced to let Saddoris out of his grasp as he trailed by over a minute in riding time. Unable to get a final takedown in the last five seconds, Saddoris managed to pull out the 9-7 win and move to within two wins of reaching 100 for his career.
Maryland was finally able to stop the Navy run thanks to 15th-ranked Josh Asper's major decision over junior Robby Neill (Brick, N.J.). Asper put Neill on the mat five times and gained a pair of points on stall warnings to cut into the Mids' lead with a 14-4 win.
With the Mids leading 16-11 with two matches remaining, Navy looked to DeMichiel to help secure the win. DeMichiel jumped out on top early with back-to-back takedowns, but a reversal with 12 seconds to go in the opening period narrowed his lead to 4-3. That lead, however, would expand to four as DeMichiel squirmed out of Smith's hold, followed by a takedown. The last 45 seconds of the third period featured a flurry of points for both wrestlers as DeMichiel tried to score enough for a major decision. He produced a pair of takedowns and gained a point for his more than three minutes of riding time, however he would fall just short of the major behind a 12-6 decision.
A decision or a major decision, however, would matter not, as the DeMichiel win sealed the Navy upset with the Mids taking a 19-11 lead heading into the final bout.
"Heading into the match, I knew I had to win," said DeMichiel. "The pressure was definitely on and I wanted to go out there and get a win for the team. It's something that really drives you."
Though Maryland sophomore Corey Peltier scored the final win of the night, an 8-2 decision over Navy junior Greg Prioleau (Poway, Calif.), it would be too little for the Terps as the Mids earned a 19-14 win. It was just the fourth blemish on paper for the Terps this season.
"It was an interesting match to watch in terms of who was controlling the pace and tempo of the match," added Burnett. "I think both teams did a phenomenal job of keeping in check the match and how it needed to flow for them to be successful. We had a lot of nice performances tonight and I have to tip my hat at some of the experienced guys we had out on the mat. Matt (Pagan) looked like he was fading and then he came on. Glenn (Shober) did an excellent job of controlling his match. Aaron (Kalil) stepped up and provided a great effort at 125 pounds.
"We have a nucleus of guys that have to step up and perform from match to match and tonight we did a good job of that. We cannot be content, however, if we want to continue to succeed. Each match we need to be focused and have discipline."
The Midshipmen will look to use the momentum gained from the win over the Terps to help leverage their way on Saturday against North Carolina and NC State. Navy plays host to the Tar Heels at Halsey Field House beginning at 3:00 pm, followed by a 7:00 pm battle against NC State. Fans should be sure to stick around after the NC State for the annual Meet the Mids autograph session.
Navy 19, #7 Maryland 14 Jan. 22, 2010 Annapolis, Md.
Wt Winner Type Loser Score N M 197 #3 Hudson Taylor (M) major Charles Carafano 14-2 0 4 285 #5 Scott Steele (N) dec Patrick Gilmore 6-2 3 4 125 Aaron Kalil (N) dec James Knox 7-1 6 4 133 Mookie Golden (M) dec Pat McCaffrey 6-4 6 7 141 Matt Pagan (N) dec Matt Bogusz 10-3 9 7 149 Glenn Shober (N) major Jon Kohler 15-4 13 7 157 #8 Bryce Saddoris (N) dec Kyle John 9-7 16 7 165 #15 Josh Asper (M) major Robby Neill 14-4 16 11 174 Matt DeMichiel (N) dec Owen Smith 12-6 19 11 184 Corey Peltier (M) dec Greg Prioleau 8-2 19 14