Coming off of a dominant win against Gardner-Webb, John Stutzman's squad looked to carry that momentum into Kent, Ohio, taking on the #20 ranked Golden Flashes in their second MAC dual meet of the season. But, nothing seemed to go UB's way outside of one match this afternoon.
Kyle Akins started the action at 125 pounds, taking on 5th year senior Del Vinas and couldn't overcome giving up an early takedown as he lost a close 3-2 decision. Then, Bryan Lantry fought hard against #10 Mack McGuire, overcoming an early deficit to pull within 1 with less than 30 seconds remaining, but was unable to get the match tying takedown and he fell to the former national qualifier 9-7.
Brandon Lapi would then take on Chance Driscoll looking to get UB on the scoreboard; after a scoreless first period Lapi took advantage of a poor shot by Driscoll to open a 3-0 lead heading into the 3rd. Lapi then rode out the 3rd period racking up 2 minutes of riding time en route to his 4-0 shutout victory. However, that's as close as UB would come to Kent State in the team points, with UB losing the remaining matches.
Then, things got heated between Colt Cotten and #13 Mike DePalma as DePalma was assessed 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after repeatedly shoving Cotten to the mat after the whistle had blown. Cotten couldn't hang on to a 7-6 lead late in the 3rd, however as DePalma scored a takedown and rode out the closing seconds. DePalama then shoved Cotten to the mat again after the final whistle was blown but the referee didn't asses a team point penalty to Kent State.
After Tim Schaefer put up a valiant effort against #2 Ian Miller in a 15-4 major decision loss, Tyler Rill lost a heartbreaker in overtime to #32 Tyler Buckwalter. Rill appeared to have an escape at the end of regulation but it was ruled that time had expired.
And the theme of the match continued as Muhamed McBryde lost a very close 3-1 decision to Mike Vollant in the closing seconds of their match. And like clockwork, Joe Ariola was in a nearly identical situation as McBryde tied 1-1 with less than 30 seconds to go and he gave up a takedown.
Like those before him, James Benjamin was 8 seconds away from victory but allowed an escape to send his match into overtime. Then, he was called for a headbutt as he lead with his head while looking for a takedown and made contact with his opponent's head.
Last, but certainly not least Jake Gunning was tied 4-4 with less than 20 seconds remaining and he had a standing cradle locked up but Stephen Suglio managed to break away and take Gunning down with less than 5 seconds remaining to win the match.
It was a frustrating meet to watch and while there are some positives to take away, I really feel like this one slipped away from UB with the amount of close matches that they lost. Don't get me wrong, keeping nearly every match within 2 points against a nationally ranked opponent is great, but giving up late takedowns and not finishing matches absolutely killed UB. Kent State's experience in their roster (nearly their entire starting lineup was comprised of 5th year seniors) definitely took over when it counted most and that's what made the difference.
UB will have the week off for finals before hitting the mat again next weekend to take on Clarion and Appalachian State in a tri-meet at Clarion.
125: Vinas (KSU) dec. Akins (UB), 3-2
133: #10 McGuire (KSU) dec. Lantry (UB), 9-7
141: Lapi (UB) dec. Driscoll (KSU), 4-0
149: #13 DePalma (KSU) dec. Cotten (UB), 8-7
157: #2 Miller (KSU) maj. dec. Schaefer (UB), 15-4
165: #32Buckwalter (KSU) SV-1 Rill (UB), 5-3
174: Vollant (KSU) dec. McBryde (UB), 3-1
184: #25 Baxter (KSU) dec. Ariola (UB), 3-1
197: Conel (KSU) SV-1 Benjamin (UB), 9-8
285: Suglio (KSU) dec. Gunning (UB), 6-4