Iowa made their first-ever trip to College Park, Maryland on Friday night to welcome one of the Big Ten's newest members to the nation's toughest wrestling conference. Although maybe "haze" would be a more accurate term to use than "welcome" because there was nothing welcoming about Iowa's dual meet with Maryland. Iowa won nine of ten matches against Maryland and picked up bonus points in five of those nine wins (including the injury default at 165). The outcome of this dual was never in doubt -- Iowa is very, very good and Maryland is... not -- so the only real questions where whether Iowa could keep a shutout (nope) and how many bonus points they could accumulate (quite a few).
The dual started at 141, getting the dual started off with... an expected lack of action. Jeva and Brown spent most of the first three periods warily circling one another and tying up. Brown got in on a deep shot as time expired in the third period, but couldn't finish. Brown took the decisive shot in sudden victory as well, but Dziewa was able to counter off that shot and score the winning takedown seconds before time expired in the overtime period. It was hardly an impressive performance, but it was very typical Dziewa match. Brandon Sorensen's match came next and he more than made up for the lack of action at 141 with a dominant showing at 149. After a few matches where Soresen's offense looked a little blunted, he broke out in a big way here, recording multiple takedowns in all three periods to cruise to an 18-6 major decision win.
Alas, 157 lbs featured the only disappointing result of the night for Iowa, as Mike Kelly dropped a 5-4 decision to Lou Mascala. A week ago, Kelly takes #1 Dylan Ness to the wire. This week, he loses to an unranked guy with a record around .500. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Kelly struggled to escape from the bottom position against Mascala a few times (Mascala's winning point came via riding time, in fact) and wasn't able to finish on a few takedown attempts in the third period. Nick Moore got things going Iowa's way in the very next match, picking up six team points via an injury default win. It looked like Maryland's Tyler Manion might have rolled an ankle during a takedown by Moore.
Iowa recorded back-to-back major decisions at 174 and 184, with Mike Evans and Sammy Brooks both using a series of takedowns and nearfall points to rack up big victories. Brooks' match featured some wild action at times and provided another example of his penchant for putting himself in danger -- while trying to horse Gardener down with a big throw, he wound up getting taken down himself and gave up a takedown and nearfall points before reversing into points for himself. It didn't matter against an opponent as overmatched as Gardener -- Brooks went out and rattled off a few more takedowns after that -- but it could prove costly against better opponents (as it did against Oklahoma State's Nolan Boyd). Overall, Brooks' aggressive style is definitely a good thing, but there are times when it puts him in unnecessary danger, too. Meanwhile, Evans had a much more straightforward major decision -- well, minus the chippiness that ensued between The 'Stache and Josh Snook; both wrestlers ended up getting tagged for unsportsmanlike conduct points for some extracurricular shoving and Evans' post-match taunting ended up getting a team point deducted from Iowa's total. Mike Evans, making all kinds of new friends in new Big Ten states!
Nathan Burak got a rest at 197, which allowed Kris Klapprodt to step in and get his first win in a Big Ten dual meet, taking an easy 9-3 decision. Klapprodt showed some solid offense from neutral -- and some of that South Dakota farm boy strength, too:
Bobby Telford kept things rolling for Iowa at heavyweight, knocking off another ranked heavyweight in Maryland's Spencer Myers, 4-0. It was a very workmanlike performance from Telford: 0-0 after the first period, a second period ride-out, a quick escape in the third period, and then a late takedown to polish things off. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting, but nevertheless effective.
On the other end of the excitement scale was Thomas Gilman, who continued his recent trend of turning his matches into takedown clinics with a 20-9 demolition of Josh Polacek. As fun as it's been to watch Gilman plow through the opposition over the last month and string together takedown after takedown on overmatched opponents, the real test is going to be what he looks like against higher-quality opponents. Too often in the past he's shut his offense down against those guys, which has been extremely frustrating to watch. He's shown tremendous variety over the last month -- leg attacks, duck unders, slide-bys -- so it would be great to see him utilize it against the better wrestlers he comes up against.
Cory Clark finished the night off with Iowa's ninth win of the dual, although it was anything but easy work. He (again) gave up a first-period takedown as well as a reversal late in the third period, which ended up making the score closer than it really needed to be. In-between, Clark looked good and showed off some good offense in taking down Alexander, though it was frustrating to see him spending so much time working ineffectually from top in the third period instead of letting Alexander up and going for more takedowns. He could stand to take a page out of Gilman's book on that front.
For his part, Tom Brands wasn't particularly impressed by Iowa's lopsided win over Maryland and it wasn't hard to see why. Iowa did what they should have done against an opponent that had far less talent across the board, but they were still sloppy in several matches. That sloppiness didn't matter on Friday, but it could in future duals. Let's hope they really were just looking ahead to Sunday's big showdown with Penn State.
#1 IOWA 33, UN MARYLAND 3
141: #6 Josh Dziewa DEC (3-1 SV) UN Shyheim Brown (IOWA 3-0)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen MAJ DEC (18-6) UN Ben Dorsay (IOWA 7-0)
157: UN Lou Mascala DEC (5-4) #14 Mike Kelly (IOWA 7-3)
165: #7 Nick Moore INJ DEF UN Tyler Manion (IOWA 13-3)
174: #2 Mike Evans MAJ DEC (17-5) UN Josh Snook (IOWA 16*-3)
184: #8 Sammy Brooks MAJ DEC (19-8) UN Tony Gardener (IOWA 20-3)
197: UN Kris Klapprodt DEC (9-3) UN Rob Fitzgerald (IOWA 23-3)
285: #2 Bobby Telford DEC (4-0) #13 Spencer Myers (IOWA 26-3)
125: #5 Thomas Gilman MAJ DEC (20-9) UN Josh Polacek (IOWA 30-3)
133: #3 Cory Clark DEC (7-5) #20 Geoff Alexander (IOWA 33-3)
* Iowa was deducted a team point for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Mike Evans for some post-match antics.
The top-ranked Hawkeyes beat Maryland 33-3 Friday. Iowa is at Penn State Sunday at Noon (CT) on BTN: http://t.co/A1tb8dPuLI— Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 7, 2015
NEXT: Iowa heads to Happy Valley to take on #6 Penn State in a big-time dual meet on Sunday at 12 PM CT. BTN will air the dual live.