No. 15 Rutgers Wrestling (12-4, 2-4) competed in their last away dual meet of the season Sunday afternoon as they completed their road trip to the Great Lake State by taking on No. 3 Michigan and it was the Wolverines (6-1, 2-1) taking the dual 32-8, winning the match split eight to two.
Rutgers was without No. 5 ranked John Poznanski due to an injury, and they could not field another wrestler at the weight, so they would take a forfeit there while Michigan did not send out their No. 4 ranked wrestler at 141lbs, so two of the premier matchups in the meet never came to fruition.
The first half of the dual saw Michigan with the 11-8 lead, earning a three match to two split. They carried that momentum into the second half, winning all five bouts on the backs of five top-10 ranked wrestlers.
Rutgers, now on a three-dual meet skid, head home with a weekend off from competition as they look to right the ship heading into the backend of the schedule. Match by match breakdowns follow:
The dual started off with Rutgers No. 27 Dylan Shawver taking on a face familiar to all Scarlet Knight wrestling fans as the Wolverines sent out No. 1 ranked Nick Suriano, the first National Champion in Rutgers history.
The stream unfortunately didn’t start working until a few minutes into the match, and Suriano led 9-1 when I was able to finally connect. After two, it was 10-1 Suriano and Shawver chose bottom to start the third period.
Suriano worked an aggressive armbar for a tilt and was close to having Shawver pinned, but Shawver was able to work back to his stomach, where he was hit with a third stall warning.
Suriano stayed on top and after the riding time point was added, Suriano took the match by technical fall, 16-1.
The second bout of the afternoon saw No. 20 Joey Olivieri continuing his run of top-ranked opponents as he was up against No. 8 Dylan Ragusin of Michigan. Ragusin was in deep on a shot early but a timely funk-roll from Olivieri gave him the advantage on the edge of the mat, but a stalemate was called before any scoring could occur.
Lots of battling for position before Ragusin was able to work a shuck to get behind and bring Olivieri to the mat for a takedown as time expired in the first. Olivieri chose bottom to start the second and was out for an escape after 45 seconds and that would be all the scoring in the second as Ragusin led 2-1 heading into the third.
Olivieri was in the top position as the whistle sounded and Ragusin was out for his own escape quickly. Ragusin showed some strong defense and was able to avoid Olivieri for the rest of the period to take the 3-1 decision.
Another week, another top-ten opponent nowhere to be found when Rutgers’ No. 3 Sebastian Rivera comes to town as normal Michigan starter and No. 4 ranked Stevan Micic didn’t go for the Wolverines, and it was Chris Kim getting the nod.
Kim went for a headlock early, but nothing came of it and the two spend the first minute trading upper body techniques. Rivera scored his first takedown shortly after that with a sweep single and started looking for tilts right away.
Kim picked up his second stall warning before Rivera converted a tilt for four near fall points to take a 7-0 lead. Rivera stood Kim up on the restart and scored another takedown right away off a snatch single leg attempt, where the first period would end.
Rivera chose the bottom position to start the second and he earned an escape 10 seconds in before gaining another takedown, this time off a double leg into go-behind. Rivera let Kim up right away and was in for yet another takedown off a shot attempt from Kim before cutting him and scoring again.
At that point it was 17-4 after Kim was dinged for another stall before Rivera converted the match ending takedown to secure his 100th (shot in the dark) technical fall of the season.
It’s a shame Rivera keeps missing out on the top dogs of 141lbs, but he’s dominating whoever gets put in front of him and that’s really all you can ask of the Rutgers leader.
At 149lbs, Rutgers sent out No. 17 Mike VanBrill, on a three-match winning streak, to take on Pat Nolan of Michigan. VanBrill was in deep on a few shot attempts before he was able to secure the leg and convert his takedown for the early lead two minutes into the first.
Nolan earned an escape after a 30 second ride from VanBrill and the period would end with VanBrill leading 2-1. VanBrill chose down to start the second earned his escape 10 seconds in.
A nice scramble midway through the second resulted in no scoring and period ended with VanBrill leading 3-1.
VanBrill was on top to begin the third looking to secure enough riding time for the point that would come with it, and he was able to do just that, keeping Nolan down for the entire period to earn the 4-1 decision. Another impressive ride for VanBrill to secure a victory.
Rob Kanniard again didn’t get the go for Rutgers as Al Desantis stepped up to take on No. 15 Will Lewan of the Wolverines. Lewan scored a quick takedown before Desantis gained an escape shortly after.
Lewan gained another takedown as time was expiring in the first to lead 4-1 after one. Desantis was in the top position to begin the second Lewan gained an escape quickly.
Desantis was in on a shot attempt, but Lewan was able to get behind Desantis for another takedown, but Desantis was able to get out quickly and the score was 7-2 in favor of Lewan after the second.
For the third period, Desantis chose bottom, and he earned an escape instantly to cut Lewan’s lead to four, but that’s as close as it would get. Lewan was awarded a point for a second stall warning on Desantis and after the riding time point was added, Lewan would win, 9-3.
At intermission, Michigan would lead 11-8 as they took three of five bouts to begin the dual.
The second half of the dual kicked off at 165lbs with Rutgers Andrew Clark up against No. 10 and returning All-American Cam Amine of Michigan.
Two minutes went by before an honest attempt was given from either wrestler and it was Amine driving Clark out of bounds on a double leg attempt which resulted in a stall warning being given to Clark, but there was no score after one.
Clark was in the top position to begin the second and Amine got his escape after 20 seconds. Clark was the aggressor for the first half of the period but couldn’t gain any true advantage before Amine secured a takedown as time expired in the second.
The call brought a challenge from Coach Goodale and the Rutgers bench, but it was confirmed, and Amine led 3-0 after two.
Clark chose the bottom position for the third period, and he earned an escape after a 45 second ride from Amine to cut the deficit to two but couldn’t gain the match tying takedown and fell 3-1 as time ran out.
At 174lbs, Rutgers starter Connor O’Neill would take on two-time All-American and No. 6 Logan Massa, who gained a takedown on the Scarlet Knight about a minute into the period to take the early lead.
O’Neill escaped right on the whistle, but Massa was right back in, working a go-behind to score his second takedown of the match. O’Neill was out right away again and followed with a quick single leg attempt but was stuffed by Massa.
Massa was able to convert off the next exchange and held O’Neill on his back for two near fall points to lead 8-2 after one. O’Neill in the top position to start the second and Massa was quickly able to gain a reversal before letting O’Neill up for another escape point.
Massa with another takedown halfway through the period before gaining the fall on O’Neill off a half nelson.
A highly anticipated matchup wasn’t to be as Rutgers No. 5 John Poznanski was apparently injured during his match against Michigan State on Friday, per James Kratch of NJ.com, so Rutgers would forfeit here to No. 2 ranked Myles Amine of Michigan.
The premier match of the dual saw Rutgers send out their No. 6 ranked wrestler at 197lbs in Greg Bulsak to take on former Princeton All-American and current No. 8 Patrick Brucki of the Wolverines.
Bulsak was incredibly close to finishing off a takedown attempt but some strong defense from Brucki prevented any points and it was scoreless after one. Bulsak chose bottom to begin the second and was out after ten seconds.
Brucki again showed off some strong defense as Bulsak all but had a takedown secured but couldn’t convert and it was 1-0 in his favor heading to the third. Bulsak was on top to start the period but Brucki able to work a reversal to take 2-1 lead.
After a stall warning on Brucki, Bulsak escaped with a minute to go in the match. Brucki was in deep on a single leg attempt and was close to scoring before Bulsak gained the positional advantage, but another stalemate followed.
Michigan’s Coach Sean Bormet challenged the call, but it was confirmed, and we would head to overtime. Brucki was able to collect Bulsak’s legs 30 seconds into the period to take the decision victory, 3-1.
The final match of the dual saw Boone McDermott take on Michigan’s No. 2 ranked hammer Mason Parris, who gained the first takedown off a slick dump. McDermott was avoided Parris’ armbar attempts before escaping but Parris was able to convert another takedown.
McDermott escaped at the end of the period and it was 4-2 after one. McDermott was on bottom to start the second and was out quickly before Parris got behind for another takedown and it was 6-3 Parris entering the third.
McDermott was on top for the third and was able to hit a strong mat return before Parris earned a reversal to lead 8-3. Parris was trying hard for the armbar but McDermott able to fight it off each time before he fell by decision, 10-3 to the Wolverine. Huge of Boone McDermott to keep that to a 3 point decision.
Shawver was outmatched by a monster in Suriano, who looks primed to earn his second national title at year’s end.
Olivieri continues to impress with his ability to keep these matches tight against stellar competition and you just get the feeling he’s going to score a big upset one of these matches.
Rivera just continues to dominate each and every wrestler sent before him and he should be undefeated heading into the Big Ten Tournament at this point, with a top-two seed all but locked up. He now sits 18-0 on the season with bonus points in every victory, an unreal pace.
VanBrill’s top wrestling has been a huge part of his 13-1 record so far this season and he put it on display again today, riding out the entire third period.
After Desantis got both of the starts this weekend at 157lbs, here’s hoping Rob Kanniard isn’t injured because I still think he’s the best option at the weight.
Clark showed off more solid defense as he held No. 10 Amine to a single questionable takedown, but it proved to be the difference in the match.
Connor O’Neill couldn’t hang with the veteran and No. 6 ranked Massa, but that was expected as Massa is a two time All-American in his seven year of collegiate wrestling.
Not seeing Poz at 184lbs was disappointing but the immediate thoughts have to be on his injury and what his status will be going forward. Hopefully its nothing serious and he’s just banged up after a competing in every dual meet to start the season.
Bulsak hasn’t been able to get his top game going against his recent highly ranked opponents, which was such trademark of his early season dominance, but he still looks strong on his feet.
McDermott didn’t have any real opportunities to score on No. 2 Parris but hung tough, only surrendering a decision loss which could’ve been huge for the team score if other things shook out earlier in the meet.
As stated earlier, the team is off this weekend before Rider comes to town on February 3rd, so this is a great opportunity to get healthy and better before the latter third of the dual meet schedule.
Box Score: No. 3 Michigan 32, No. 15 Rutgers 8
125: No. 27 Dylan Shawver vs No. 1 Nick Suriano – Suriano by tech. fall, 16-1
133: No. 20 Joey Olivieri vs No. 8 Dylan Ragusin – Ragusin by dec., 3-1
141: No. 3 Sebastian Rivera vs Chris Kim – Rivera by tech. fall, 19-4
149: No. 17 Mike VanBrill vs Pat Nolan – VanBrill by dec., 4-1
157: Al Desantis vs No. 15 Will Lewan – Lewan by dec., 9-3
165: Andrew Clark vs No. 10 Cam Amine – Amine by dec., 3-1
174: Connor O’Neill vs No. 6 Logan Massa – Massa by FALL
184: No. 5 John Poznanski vs No. 2 Myles Amine – Amine by FF
197: No. 6 Greg Bulsak vs No. 8 Patrick Brucki – Brucki by dec., 3-1 (SV1)
285: Boone McDermott vs No. 2 Mason Parris – Parris by dec., 10-3