Seth Nevills had a chance to come up with a massive moment for the Terps in his first home match.
Facing No. 13 Dayton Pitzer, Nevills only needed a decision to give the Terps an upset win. The Penn State transfer faced a deficit early in the second after Pitzer picked up a reversal to take a 2-0 advantage. A Nevills reversal tied things up at two, but Pitzer escaped for a 3-2 lead heading into the final period.
The entire Pavilion crowd was imploring Nevills to get up at the start of the third. An escape while Nevills held the riding time advantage would’ve won the match for Maryland. But Pitzer’s top pressure was too much.
Pitzer picked up enough riding time in the third to take the lead, and when Nevills escaped it was too late. No. 22 Maryland was defeated by the No. 18 Panthers, 21-16. The Terps surrendered a lead they held at the intermission of the dual and couldn’t overcome a late deficit that would’ve allowed them to pull off an upset similar to last year’s win over the Panthers (3-1) — their first win over a ranked opponent since 2013.
Braxton Brown’s debut at 133 is a success
Redshirt sophomore Braxton Brown typically represents Maryland (1-1) at 125 pounds. He’s one of the nation’s best there, ranked No. 22 by Intermat. But against Pittsburgh, Brown weighed in before the match at 133 and got the start over fellow ranked Terp King Sandoval.
Brown’s debut at 133 came against a tough opponent in Pittsburgh’s No. 13 Vinnie Santaniello. The redshirt sophomore opened the match with a quick shot, which he eventually finished to take an early 3-0 lead. Santaniello escaped to make it 3-1 at the end of the first, but Brown answered in the second.
With Santaniello starting in top position, Brown reversed him and got him down near the edge of the mat to extend his lead to 5-1. A Santaniello escape made it 5-2 heading into the third, a period where Brown has typically struggled this year.
Brown started the third from the top position in explosive fashion, lifting his opponent off the mat and slamming him down four straight times to bring The Pavilion crowd to their feet. Santaniello escaped again to make it 5-3, but Brown had enough left to hold on and take a 6-3 decision.
“We’ve been working a lot of third period type wrestling to make sure I’m not gassing out in the third period,” Brown said.
Kal Miller continues to dominate
Kal Miller aimed to continue his momentum from last weekend’s first place finish at the Tiger Style Invite against his toughest opponent so far this season in No. 7 Cole Matthews on Monday.
Within the first minute, Miller shot for a single leg and proceeded to slam Matthews straight onto his back. Miller held Matthews on his back while he struggled and eventually escaped, but not before Miller picked up three points for the takedown and four nearfall points to take a 7-1 lead at the end of the first period.
Eighteen of Matthews’ 21 wins last season came by decision, and Miller’s quick start forced him to wrestle a match that he wasn’t as familiar with due to his typically defensive style. It showed in the second and third.
The second period involved a lot less action compared to the first. Miller was mostly on the defensive after Matthews escaped, but he maintained a 7-2 lead heading into the third. There, Miller went back on the offensive after an escape from bottom position, finding another takedown off of a double leg shot.
Matthews escaped and desperately searched for a takedown, but Miller held him off as time expired to take a 12-4 majority decision and give the Terps a 7-5 advantage, their first lead of the match.
Jaxon Smith kept the Terps alive in penultimate match
After three straight losses for Maryland, Jaxon Smith came up with the dual on the line against No. 18 Mac Stout. A win would keep Maryland in contention, while a loss would end any shot the Terps had at pulling off the upset.
After a brief feeling out period in the first, Smith had picked up enough reads. He stalked Stout down, shooting a single leg and securing a takedown late in the period for a 3-0 lead. Stout started the second in the bottom position and escaped, making it 3-1, but Smith held him in check to keep the rest of the period scoreless.
In the third, Smith immediately escaped for a 4-1 lead. The redshirt sophomore was on the defensive for the first minute, but he changed his strategy near the end of the period. He exploded through Stout with a double leg takedown, lifting him off the ground in the process to keep the Terps alive.
“He needed a gritty win,” coach Alex Clemsen said. “I feel like sometimes we see fireworks from him, we see tricks and slicks from him. We just saw him finish two really good single legs, saw him fight off a couple of good double legs.”