IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa wrestling team started in spectacular fashion against Michigan on Saturday, but then faded down the stretch before losing 19-17 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa was clinging to a 17-16 lead heading into the final match at heavyweight between second-ranked Adam Coon from Michigan and Iowa's third-ranked Sam Stoll.
Their rankings proved accurate as Coon held on for a 3-2 dual-clinching victory.
Stoll's loss capped the second straight week that Iowa dropped its last four matches while losing a Big Ten dual.
"It may be a theme," said Iowa head coach Tom Brands said. "We lost the last four weights last weekend on Sunday and we lost the last four weights this weekend. We've got to get (197-pounder Cash) Wilcke going. He gave up two easy takedowns in the second period. That's just like going blank.
"We had some bonus points. We needed some bonus points. Sorensen and Spencer Lee showed up for bonus points. We've got to get guys more competitive in all positions."
Iowa only won four of the 10 matches, but Spencer Lee's technical fall at 125 pounds and Brandon Sorensen's pin at 149 points combined to give Iowa five bonus points that nearly made the difference.
Iowa's other victories came at 141 pounds where Vince Turk won in overtime and at 165 pounds where redshirt freshman Alex Marinelli improved to 10-0 with a 3-2 victory over Logan Massa.
Not helping Iowa was that it was without its No. 2-ranked 157-pounder Michael Kemerer due to a minor injury.
Kemerer was a late scratch but Brands maintained that it was mostly as a precautionary measure.
"He's healthy," Brands said. "He's nicked up a little bit but not a big deal. Probably could have went, and when I say probably I mean he probably could have gone in the dual meet. Postseason it's a forgone conclusion, he's going. It's smart. It's a smart thing to do."
Lee was relentless throughout his match, which was stopped with him leading 15-0 in the third period. He gave Iowa an early 5-0 lead and improved his record to 10-1 on the season.
"I was told to go out and score some points and have some fun," Lee said. "It's a great experience to compete in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and I'll never forget. I'm glad to be able to do it for three more years and a couple more duals this year too.
"I felt it and I just went for points. I kept pressue on top. I was just working and maybe if it wasn't going I would have gone to my feet but everything felt good."
Iowa now turns its focus to a 5-3 Minnesota team next Friday in Iowa City to try and get back on the winning side.
After back-to-back losses, Brands doesn't think it's time to panic just yet, but would like to see a little more fight out of his wrestlers.
"That's on us as coaches," Brands said. "I put it here first. I always have, I always will and the other part of it is they've got to figure it out. Sam Stoll, you know, a first period takedown against that guy it's going to be hard to dig yourself out of that hole.
"It's not the end of the world, but it might be getting close. We're in the third week of January so we're getting to where we've got to figure it out."