March 21, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Sophomore Mathew Miller's (Edgewood, Md.) hopes of garnering All-America honors at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championship were dashed Saturday evening when he dropped a 10-6 decision to fifth-seeded and fifth-ranked Matt Brown of Penn State, falling just one match shy of the medal round.
"Mat beat some really talented wrestlers along the way and he was right there with Matt Brown tonight, but he came up a little short," said interim head coach Brian Antonelli. "He was really excited for the tournament and it showed in his performance. He competed hard in what was a really tough weight class out here in Oklahoma City.
"There are a few things we have to fix, but I certainly think there is a bright future ahead for Mat and he could very well be on top of that podium next year. I'm incredibly proud of his effort."
Miller, ranked eighth nationally at 174 pounds and seeded 16th in the tournament, stumbled in his opening match on Thursday when Illinois' Tony Dellago dealt him a 12-8 loss. Miller, however, bounced back with a 12-3 major decision over Wisconsin's Scott Liegel in the first round of consolations to extend his stay into Friday at the championship.
Miller pitched his 13th win of the season and 23rd of his career by way of fall when he pinned Billy Curling of Old Dominion in 2:48. It's tied as the 12th-most career pins in the Navy record book, while it's the most pins in a single season by a Navy wrestler since Ed Prendergast produced 15 in 2007-08.
Miller owned a commanding lead in his second bout of the day on Friday when Central Michigan's Mike Ottinger was disqualified for biting Miller, setting up his match against the Nittany Lions' Brown.
Brown scored the match's first points on a takedown 17 seconds into the match and built up 1:16 in riding time before Miller was able to escape. Miller was able to ride Brown in the opening seconds of the second period to erase Brown's advantage in riding time, but Brown was able to get the escape and score a takedown to push his lead to 5-1.
Though Miller was able to get a reversal late in the third period and get within three points (9-6), it would not be enough, as his season came to a close with a 10-6 loss to Brown. Antonelli did ask for a review as it appeared Miller had earned back points, but his protest would be for not. Brown stands 31-5 on the year for the defending National Champion Penn State Nittany Lions.
Miller closed out the season with a 24-6 record and the two-time NCAA qualifier boasts a 48-13 record over two seasons.
### Go Navy ###