Iowa traveled to West Point Thursday night for the halfway point of their home-and-home series with Army, and while it was far from a walk in the park, the Hawkeyes pulled off a relatively comfortable 28-13 double win over the Black Knight. Army got a pin early, winning two of the first three matches of the doubles meet to establish an early 9-3 lead. But Iowa won six of its next seven games, and none of them were particularly close — Iowa’s average win percentage was about 10 points (not counting a first period pin from heavyweight Tony Cassioppi).
All three Iowa losses came from wrestlers who are also backups or third or fourth strings at their respective weights. In the major contests, Iowa won’t wrestle Aidan Harris and Drew Bennett at 125 and 141, respectively; Instead, Spencer Lee and Real Woods compete with those weights. At 174, Carson Martinson was a late replacement for Drake Rhodes, who is himself a replacement for Nelson Brands and Brennan Swafford. In short, I’m not worried about Army winning three games or getting bonus points on 125 and 174. Apparently This The Iowa team will not win any Big Ten or NCAA titles. but This The Iowa team shouldn’t be the one on the mat in March either.
|125||#24 Ethan Berg Inc||AUTUMN (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||MAY DEC (15-5)||Matthew Williams||ARMY 9-7|
|157||Cobe Siebrecht||MAY DEC (8-0)||#28 Nate Lukez||IOWA 11-9|
|165||#13 Patrick Kennedy||MAY DEC (22-9)||#28 Dalton Harkins||IOWA 15-9|
|174||#21 Ben Pasiuk||MAY DEC (15-4)||Carson Martinson||IOWA 15-13|
|184||#8 Abe Assad||DEC (12-5)||Sahm Abullrazzaq||IOWA 18-13|
|197||#2 Jacob Warner||MAY DEC (20-7)||Kyle Swartz||IOWA 22-13|
|285||#4 Toni Cassioppi||AUTUMN (1:15)||Kade Carlson||IOWA 28-13|
Aidan Harris, a transfer from Iowa Central, is a beautiful story, but he was overwhelmed in his first two games in the Iowa lineup. Hopefully he improves a bit with more playing time – but we also hope Spencer Lee returns to the Iowa lineup sooner rather than later. (Neither Lee nor the Iowa coaches have provided a timeline for Lee’s return.)
The competition at 133 continues; After Brody Teske had the opportunity against Cal Baptist on Sunday, Cullan Schriever got the nod here. Schriever won, but a 2-0 win with his driving time points and a breakaway won’t matter much at this weight to give him a competitive advantage. He needs to show more firepower from neutral.
Drew Bennett wrestled fairly well in the last two periods of his fight, but when he gave up two takedowns in the first period, he dug a hole from which he couldn’t escape — particularly with his 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 a vanishing point, drive timing, and stall point. It was good to see Murin opening up from neutral; hopefully it gives him the confidence to do that more often.
Cobe Siebrecht got another chance at 157 and made the most of it with an impressive 8-0 major decision win. He hit three takedowns with a nice variety of attacks and put up some strong drives to boot.
Like Murin, Patrick Kennedy turned his match into a takedown clinic, with around 10 takedowns in the bout (I’ve lost count, to be honest). He also aimed for that technical fall at the end, which is always nice to see.
174 was the last Iowa loss of the evening as Martinson just couldn’t do much against Pasiuk’s size and experience in the match. He made an effort when his number was called, which is what you want to see in a situation like this.
Abe Assad ended any realistic threat of Army upset in the duel with a comfortable 12-5 decision win. Assad got an early takedown and added several more throughout the fight to extend his lead. It would have been good if he had made the big decision (he was only a point away), but overall it was a pretty solid performance for Abe.
Warner provided the kind of senior lead you want to see at 197 and absolutely rolled over his opponent with a 20-7 major decision win. He wasn’t able to get the technical fall which was too bad but it’s rare that he breaks out of neutral like he did in his fight so it was fun.
Iowa’s wrestling at the top was strong in this duel – they earned a drive time in six out of seven wins (and the one they didn’t have was Cassioppi’s pin) and many of the escapes were given by Iowa rather than earned by the Army – but if there was one thing to complain about it would be the close drop points or lack thereof. Back points could have turned Kennedy’s and Warner’s victories into technical falls and Assad’s win into a vital decision, but they were unable to expose their opponents’ backs in this duel. Something to hopefully work on for the future.
Finally, the doubles meeting ended with a pin from Tony Cassioppi from the first hour. Tony Pins will be Tony Pins, right? He pulled off a quick takedown, quickly got to work putting his opponent in position for the pin, and then sealed the deal—all in just 75 seconds. It’s always nice to see Tony in pure wrecking ball mode.
All in all, a perfect one-two result for Iowa. Nobody got hurt, the guys who were supposed to win in a one-sided fashion did, and some backups got a bit of time on the mat. No complaints here. Tomorrow it’s on to the ARM BAR AT THE ARMORY in Albany, NY.