There is a new top dog in New Jersey Division I wrestling (for now). On Sunday night, Rutgers made the short trip down Route 1 to Jadwin Gym to try and win their 24th consecutive match against Princeton. In an exciting back and forth dual where each team won five matches, it was Princeton who came out on top, winning 18-15.
Princeton, who has four wrestlers ranked inside the top five, were unable to score bonus points in any of those matches except for one. No. 4 Matthew Kolodzik pinned Gerard Angelo of Rutgers in the first period. Those extra three team points would be the only bonus points scored by either team.
In last season’s dual meet, Rutgers came out on top by a score of 19-18, the difference being then No. 2 Anthony Ashnault’s 10-2 major decision of No. 1 Kolodzik. This season, Kolodzik’s pin was the difference in the match that allowed Princeton to beat Rutgers for the first time in 30 years.
In order for Rutgers to win this year’s dual, six wins out of ten were likely needed since they weren’t projected to get bonus points in many spots. That path to six wins was almost there, but Princeton’s No. 25 Travis Stefanik was able to pull off the 5-2 upset win at 184 pounds over No. 14 Billy Janzer of Rutgers.
In my match preview, I predicted Princeton to score bonus points at 125, 149 and 157. In two of those weights, the Scarlet Knights prevented this from happening. At 125 where the match started, No. 23 Nicolas Aguilar did a great job of only dropping a 10-5 decision to Princeton’s No. 3 Pat Glory. Earlier in the season, Glory earned a 15-0 technical fall over Aguilar. At 157 pounds, Mike VanBrill took on No. 4 Quincy Monday, where he wrestled to a hard fought 8-5 loss.
Even though Rutgers prevented bonus points at two out of three weights, the pin by Kolodzik (good for 3 extra bonus points) at 149 negated the efforts at 125 and 157.
A spot where I did think Rutgers could score bonus points via a major decision was at 133. However No. 9 Sammy Alvarez only won by a decision, beating Sean Pierson 7-5.
At 141 pounds, Head Coach Scott Goodale opted for redshirt junior Zach Firestone rather than regular starter, freshman JoJo Aragona. Firestone came up big, winning the toss up bout against Marshall Keller by a score of 5-2.
The most impressive match of the night came at 197 pounds, where No. 18 Jordan Pagano knocked off No. 3 Patrick Brucki in a thrilling 10-9 match. The win is Pagano’s third top-ten win of the season.
Rutgers’ two other wins came from a 6-1 decision by Willie Scott at 174 over Nate Dugan and a 6-3 win by Matt Correnti at heavyweight over Aiden Conner.
With the loss, the Scarlet Knights finished 10-7 on the season, with a 4-5 record in the Big Ten. The next time they are in action will be the weekend of March 7-8, where the RAC will play host to the 2020 Big Ten Championships.
No. 14 Princeton (9-4) 18, No. 25 Rutgers (10-7, 4-5) 15
125: #3 Patrick Glory (PU) over #23 Nicolas Aguilar (RU) by decision, 10-5
133: #9 Sammy Alvarez (RU) over Sean Pierson (PU) by decision, 7-5
141: Zach Firestone (RU) over Marshall Keller (PU) by decision, 5-2
149: #4 Matthew Kolodzik (PU) over Gerard Angelo (RU) by fall (2:06)
157: #4 Quincy Monday (PU) over Michael VanBrill (RU) by decision, 8-5
165: #21 Grant Cuomo (PU) over Brett Donner (RU) by decision, 8-7
174: Willie Scott (RU) over Nate Dugan (PU) by decision, 6-1
184: #25 Travis Stefanik (PU) over #14 Billy Janzer (RU) by decision, 5-2
197: #18 Jordan Pagano (RU) over #3 Patrick Brucki (PU) by decision, 10-9
285: Matthew Correnti (RU) over Aiden Conner (PU) by decision, 6-3