Much like the Illinois match on Sunday, an early bout at 125 didn’t go Rutgers’ way and it set a negative trend that the Knights had a hard time reversing.
With Nick Suriano still out of the lineup from the flu, the onus of facing Minnesota’s No. 6/8/8 Ethan Lizak fell to true freshman Luke Ecklof. While the forfeit against Illinois gave up six points, Ecklof didn’t fare much better suffering a tech fall. It was the second of four straight losses to open the match. The Gophers built a 14-0 lead that Rutgers never overcame, dropping below .500 for the first time all season in the 20-12 loss.
“We’ve been wrestling well. I thought tonight we wrestled really well in spots,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “But, you know, we struggled in others. It’s hard to win dual meets when you don’t win those toss-ups.”
That has been the issue almost all season in Big Ten matches, wrestling "well in spots". With the exception of the Ohio State and Penn State matches, Rutgers has been in a position to win save for “those toss-ups”. And in the Big Ten, especially, a match or two is all the difference between winning and losing.
Rutgers won just four bouts, but none with bonus points. Only three of the five ranked RU wrestlers won, while Minnesota had four of its five ranked wrestlers win. That’s how you win in the Big Ten.
The Knights put together four wins in the middle of the lineup to close the gap to 17-12 as Eleazer DeLuca, John Van Brill, Richie Lewis, and Nick Gravina earned decisions.
Didn't get the team result we wanted, but it was a great effort for our guys last night.— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) February 10, 2018
Thank you, fans, for making the RAC the premier place to compete at in the country.#RUWR | #RelentlessPursuit pic.twitter.com/48CU7aWFCc
Lewis took on No. 8 Nick Wanzek and scored all his points in the third period to pick up a 3-1 win. The win marked Lewis’ fourth over a ranked opponent in 2017-18 and his 40th-career victory in a Rutgers singlet.
To read more about Anthony Ashnault and the announcement on his future, click here.
Rutgers bid farewell to its five seniors on Friday night. Scott DelVecchio, Eleazer DeLuca, Richie Lewis, Anthony Messner, and Razhonn Gross wrestled in front of the home crowd for the last time.
Notice a name missing from that list? Yeah, us, too. We’ll have more on that in our next post.
Rutgers finishes the season on the road at Wisconsin on Friday and then down Route 27 at Princeton on Sunday. Wisconsin (6-3, 3-3 B1G) is coming off a 24-10 loss at home to Nebraska while Princeton (3-7, 2-1 Ivy) topped Columbia 24-17 on Friday and lost 34-6 to Cornell Saturday night at home.
No. 21 Minnesota (6-6, 3-4) 20, No. 18 Rutgers (6-7, 2-6) 12
Dual started at 285 pounds Attendance: 3,588
HWT: Rylee Streifel (MINN) decision Razohnn Gross (RU), 2-0
125: No. 6/8/8 Ethan Lizak (MINN) tech fall Luke Ecklof (RU), 16-0
133: No. 12/13/20 Mitch Mckee (MINN) decision No. 20/16/16 Scott DelVecchio (RU), 8-6
141: No. 14/11/13 Tommy Thorn (MINN) decision Michael Van Brill (RU), 7-0
149: No. 11/11/10 Eleazar DeLuca (RU) decision Miles Patton (MINN), 6-4
157: No. 17/NR/NR Jake Short (MINN) decision NR/20/19 John Van Brill (RU), 4-3
165: No. 11/11/11 Richie Lewis (RU) decision No. 8/7/9 Nick Wanzek (RU), 3-1 | MINN 17, RU 6
174: Joseph Grello (RU) decision Chris Pfarr (MINN), 12-7 | MINN 17, RU 9
184: No. 12/13/12 Nicholas Gravina (RU) decision Brandon Krone (MINN), 8-2
197: Dylan Anderson (MINN) decision Anthony Messner (RU), 11-4
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open Mat || NR denotes not ra