Iowa headed to West Point on Thursday night for the road half of their home-and-home series with Army and while it was far from a walk in the park, the Hawkeyes came with a relatively comfortable 28-13 dual meet win over the Black Knights. Army got a pin to start things off and won two of the first three matches of the dual meet to build an early 9-3 lead. But Iowa won six of the next seven matches and none of them were particularly close -- Iowa's average margin of victory was around 10 points (not counting a first period pin by Tony Cassioppi at heavyweight).
All three Iowa losses came from wrestlers who are back-ups or third- or fourth-string at their respective weights, too. In the competitions that matter, Iowa will not be wrestling Aidan Harris and Drew Bennett at 125 and 141, respectively; they'll have Spencer Lee and Real Woods competing at those weights instead. At 174, Carson Martinson was a late fill-in for Drake Rhodes, who is himself a back-up to Nelson Brands and Brennan Swafford. In short, I am not concerned about Army winning three matches or getting bonus points at 125 and 174. Obviously this Iowa team is not going to win Big Ten or NCAA titles. But this Iowa team shouldn't be the one on the mat come March, either.
|125||#24 Ethan Berginc||FALL (2:33)||Aidan Harris||ARMY 6-0|
|133||Cullan Schriever||DEC (2-0)||Richard Treanor||ARMY 6-3|
|141||Julian Sanchez||DEC (5-3)||Drew Bennett||ARMY 9-3|
|149||#7 Max Murin||MAJ DEC (15-5)||Matthew Williams||ARMY 9-7|
|157||Cobe Siebrecht||MAJ DEC (8-0)||#28 Nate Lukez||IOWA 11-9|
|165||#13 Patrick Kennedy||MAJ DEC (22-9)||#28 Dalton Harkins||IOWA 15-9|
|174||#21 Ben Pasiuk||MAJ DEC (15-4)||Carson Martinson||IOWA 15-13|
|184||#8 Abe Assad||DEC (12-5)||Sahm Abullrazzaq||IOWA 18-13|
|197||#2 Jacob Warner||MAJ DEC (20-7)||Kyle Swartz||IOWA 22-13|
|285||#4 Tony Cassioppi||FALL (1:15)||Kade Carlson||IOWA 28-13|
A few thoughts:
Aidan Harris, a transfer from Iowa Central, is a nice story, but he's been overwhelmed in his first two matches in the Iowa lineup. Hopefully he improves a bit with more match time -- but we also hope that Spencer Lee returns to the Iowa lineup sooner rather than later. (Neither Lee nor the Iowa coaches have provided a timetable for Lee's return.)
The competition at 133 continues; after Brody Teske got the opportunity against Cal Baptist on Sunday, Cullan Schriever got the nod here. Schriever won, but a 2-0 victory with his points coming from riding time and an escape won't do much to give him an edge in the competition at this weight. He needs to show more firepower from neutral.
Drew Bennett wrestled fairly well in the final two periods of his bout, but giving up two takedowns in the first period dug himself a hole he couldn't escape -- especially with an inability to convert attacks into takedowns. His only points came via an escape and a reversal.
Max Murin started the Hawkeye turnaround with an easy major decision win at 149; he turned his match into a takedown clinic (six) and added an escape, riding time point, and stall point as well. It was good to see Murin open up from neutral; hopefully it gives him confidence to do that more often.
Cobe Siebrecht got another opportunity at 157 and made the most of it with an impressive 8-0 major decision win. He scored three takedowns with a nice variety of offense and put on some strong rides on top as well.
Like Murin, Patrick Kennedy turned his match into a takedown clinic as well, with somewhere around 10 takedowns in the bout (I lost count, honestly). He was striving for the technical fall at the end, too, which you always like to see.
174 was the final Iowa loss of the night, as Martinson just couldn't do much against the size and experience edges that Pasiuk had in the match. He tried hard when his number was called, which is what you want to see in a situation like that.
Abe Assad ended any realistic threat of an Army upset in the dual with a comfortable 12-5 decision win. Assad got an early takedown and added several more throughout the bout to build his lead. It would have good to see him get the major decision (he was just one point away), but overall this was a pretty solid showing for Abe.
Warner provided the type of senior leadership you want to see at 197, absolutely steamrolling his opponent for a 20-7 major decision win. He wasn't able to get the technical fall, which was too bad, but it's rare to see him cut loose from neutral the way he did in his bout, so that was fun.
Iowa's wrestling on top was strong in this dual -- they earned a riding time point in six of seven wins (and the one they didn't was Cassioppi's pin) and many of the escapes were given by Iowa rather than earned by Army -- but if there was one thing to complain about, it would be the near fall points, or lack thereof. Back points could have turned Kennedy and Warner's wins into technical falls and Assad's win into a major decision, but they weren't able to expose their opponents' backs in this dual. Something to work on for the future, hopefully.
- Finally, the dual meet wrapped up with a Tony Cassioppi first period pin. Tony Pins gonna Tony Pins, right? He got a fast takedown, quickly went to work getting his opponent into position for the pin, then sealed the deal -- all in just 75 seconds. It's always good to see Tony in pure wrecking ball mode.
All told, a perfectly fine dual meet result for Iowa. No one got hurt, the guys who should win in lopsided fashion did, and some backups got a bit of mat time. No complaints here. On to ARM BAR AT THE ARMORY in Albany, NY tomorrow.