For the second straight dual meet, Iowa won four of the first six matches to take a lead heading into the 174 lbs match. Unfortunately, for the second straight dual meet, Iowa lost the final four matches of the dual and coming out on the losing end of the dual itself. This looked like a tightly-contested dual meet going in, with both teams loaded with ranked wrestlers and several very tight match-ups at multiple weights, and that's largely what transpired. Unfortunately, Iowa's upper weights couldn't get takedowns -- which killed their ability to get victories.
The dual started off very well, with Spencer Lee jumping out to a 14-0 lead after the first period and locking up a technical fall victory with an escape to start the second period. Iowa nearly gave all of those team points right back at 133, but Paul Glynn managed to just barely hold Stevan Micic to a major decision (19-5). 141 was one of the coin-flip weights for the dual and the match itself backed that up as it was a wild, back-and-forth affair that saw seven takedowns combined and a slew of points from both guys -- Iowa's Vince Turk came out on top, 13-11 in sudden victory. Bonus points figured to be critical in this dual, especially for Iowa given their weakness at some of the upper weights, and Brandon Sorensen came through in a big way for Iowa in that department, taking a narrow 2-0 lead after one period and ballooning it into a big lead before locking up a pin with seconds remaining in the second period. Jaren Glosser subbed for the resting Michael Kemerer at 157 lbs and held #7 Alec Pantaleo to a 5-2 decision, which gave Iowa a 14-7 lead at intermission.
The post-intermission half of the dual started well for Iowa, with Alex Marinelli grabbing a narrow 3-2 win over Top 10 165er Logan Massa to boost Iowa's lead to 17-7 with four weights remaining. At that point they really just needed to win one of the remaining four bouts to secure a dual meet win, assuming they could avoid giving up a slew of bonus points in the losses. Unfortunately, they never got that win. Kaleb Young dropped a 3-1 decision to #6 Myles Amine, while Mitch Bowman lost a 4-1 decision to #5 Domenic Abounader. Iowa's best shot at a win in the final four weights was at 197, where #5 Cash Wilcke was taking on #14 Kevin Beazley. Wilcke got the first takedown, but gave up two takedowns in the second period and wasn't able to get any more offense of his own in the final two periods. That meant that the dual came down to 285, where Sam Stoll was outpowered by #2 Adam Coon in a 3-2 loss.
|125||#3 Spencer Lee||TECH FALL (15-0)||#9 Drew Mattin||IOWA 5-0|
|133||#5 Stevan Micic||MAJ DEC (19-5)||Paul Glynn||IOWA 5-4|
|141||Vince Turk||DEC (13-11 SV)||Sal Profaci||IOWA 8-4|
|149||#2 Brandon Sorensen||FALL (4:54)||Ben Lamantia||IOWA 14-4|
|157||#7 Alec Pantaleo||DEC (5-2)||Jaren Glosser||IOWA 14-7|
|165||#9 Alex Marinelli||DEC (3-2)||#8 Logan Massa||IOWA 17-7|
|174||#6 Myles Amine||DEC (3-1)||Kaleb Young||IOWA 17-10|
|184||#5 Domenic Abounader||DEC (4-1)||#20 Mitch Bowman||IOWA 17-13|
|197||#14 Kevin Beazley||DEC (6-5)||#5 Cash Wilcke||IOWA 17-16|
|285||#2 Adam Coon||DEC (3-2)||#3 Sam Stoll||MICH 19-17|
A few thoughts:
- Spencer Lee is ridiculous. Matlin is having a fine true freshman season in his own right -- he was 16-6 entering yesterday, fresh off a win over a Top 10 125er in Ethan Lizak, and ranked around the fringes of the Top 10. And Lee just thrashed him. He was nearly able to take Matlin to his back -- and a likely pin -- with a whip-over in the first 30 seconds but wasn't quite able to hold him down. It didn't really matter: he got a takedown a few seconds later and then went to work on top, racking up three four-point nearfall sequences to amass a 14-0 lead by the end of the period. Lee's grip strength and ability to bridge are unreal, which makes his tilts absolutely wicked.
- A week after Glynn held #2 Luke Pletcher to a decision, he got absolutely wrecked by Stevan Micic, although he did manage to hold off the technical fall in the third period by the slimmest of margins. The disparity in those two matches may say more about the differences in Pletcher and Micic, and their respective abilities and mindset, than it does about Glynn, though. Iowa doesn't have a very good answer at 133 lbs right now, unfortunately.
- They also have question marks at 141 lbs and I'm not sure they're any closer to being answered, even after Turk's thrilling 13-11 overtime win. Turk's aggressiveness in the first period was great to see and kudos to him for willing himself to the winning takedown in overtime, when all the momentum had flipped to Profaci with his last-second takedown in the third period to tie the match. But Turk was a little too passive at times in the second and third periods, which allowed Profaci back in the match; he also let Profaci get to his leg way, way too easily. I was glad to see Turk get the win here and it was a fun match, but it also showed a lot of things that Turk needs to improve on.
- Sorensen gave the performance that Iowa needs out of its senior leader, especially against a weaker opponent: dominating and full of bonus points. That wasn't quite the script that was playing out in the first period, when it took Sorensen a while to get his first takedown and then just rode him for the duration of the period. A 2-0 lead after one is not a great recipe for bonus points. But he upped his tempo in the second period and started stringing takedowns together, which was very encouraging. And then horsing Lamantia over into a pin to wrap things up... beautiful. We can quibble about the first period, but Sorensen was flawless in the second period and gave Iowa exactly what they needed in the dual.
- As noted, Glosser got the nod instead of Kemerer at 157 lbs. He was able to stymie Pantaleo for a while, but eventually Pantaleo's size and strength was too much for Glosser and his mullet. As far as Kemerer goes, he had flagged in the third period of his last two matches and seemed to be in pain leaving the match after beating Micah Jordan last week. In his post-match comments, Brands said he's "healthy," but "nicked up a little bit." He emphasized that Kemerer would be good to go for the postseason, but we'll still need to keep an eye on his situation. Brands would probably call a gunshot to the chest "just a flesh wound," so we should probably take his comments about injuries with a few grains of salt. Obviously, Iowa badly needs Kemerer to be as healthy as possible come March.
- Marinelli charged out of the opening whistle against Massa like, well, a bull and was rewarded with a nice opening takedown to go up 2-0 just seconds into the contest. And outside of a trio of escape points (two for Massa, one for Marinelli), that was it for scoring in the match. That said, Marinelli has a knack for making low-scoring, tight matches seem far more exciting than they ought to be (compare the 3-2 match here versus the 3-2 match at heavyweight). Marinelli does a good job of constantly exerting pressure on his opponent and he always seems like a coiled spring, waiting for the right moment to erupt and attack an opponent. His quick reflexes and strength also makes it incredibly hard for opponents to put him in danger, let alone score on him. He needs to work at scoring more points, certainly, but the foundation for his game is tremendous.
- Young got the start again at 174 and while he displayed some good defense from neutral, he wasn't able to finish any shots on Amine and gave up a damaging reversal when he was on top. I still like Young's potential at 174, but he certainly needs to get some more size and strength to effectively compete at that weight.
- Bowman also looked a bit undermanned at 184 against the bigger, stronger Abounader. Bowman had particular difficulty getting off the mat and getting escapes. Abounader is very tough on top, but after the display Bowman put together in the final two periods against Myles Martin last week, it was a little disappointing that he wasn't able to do much of anything against Abounader here.
- Wilcke started the match well at 197, but after that opening takedown, things went downhill for him. Giving up two takedowns in the second period really hurt, as did his inability to get any more takedowns of his own. He was very close to one in the waning seconds of the third, but close unfortunately doesn't cut it. This loss will hurt Wilcke in seeding at the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament, but that isn't going to matter much if he can't find more of his own offense. He has one takedown in his last three matches, which isn't going to cut it.
- That said, Wilcke's takedown was Iowa's only takedown of the final four matches. Sam Stoll faced Adam Coon for the first-time ever -- and suffered his first loss of the season in the process. Once again, Stoll's struggles to score from neutral came to play as he was not able to get Coon to the mat. Stoll's Greco-based offense works well against many opponents, particularly smaller or less-skilled heavyweights, but it's not effective enough against the top guys at the weight. Until he can figure out ways to score on them, I fear he's always going to come up short in matches like this.
- BTN had a riding time clock! That was nice. Now make sure it stays there for all future broadcasts, okay?
NEXT: Iowa welcomes #14 Minnesota to CHA on Friday night (8 PM, BTN).