PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- No. 2 Anthony Ashnault (149) pinned, Willie Scott (174) earned a dramatic last-second decision and No. 11 Nicholas Gravina (184) made his return to the lineup as No. 25 Rutgers wrestling delivered a 28-6 victory over Rider on Sunday at the RAC.
The Scarlet Knights claimed eight of 10 bouts against the Broncs in the schools' first meeting since 2012, as Ashnault (149) and No. 3 Nick Suriano (133) each secured bonus-point victories in front of 4,726 fans. With the win, head coach Scott Goodale became the program's all-time leader with 167 victories during his 12-year tenure "On the Banks".
• Goodale passed John Sacchi for the all-time wins record at Rutgers. Sacchi earned 166 victories from 1990-2006.
• Gravina made his season debut for RU after he missed the first month due to injury. The graduate student earned a 3-2 decision over Michale Fagg-Daves in Gravina's first action since the 2018 NCAA Championships this past March.
• Ashnault collected his seventh fall and 10th bonus-point victory of the season with his second-period pin of Evan Fidelibus. It was his fourth fall in as many matches at the RAC this year.
• Suriano also earned his 10th bonus-point win of the season with his 15-3 major decision over Anthony Cefelo.
• Scott is now 3-0 in dual action after his 7-6 decision over NCAA qualifier Dean Sherry. Scott and Sherry were teammates at Brick Township High School.
• This was the sixth consecutive win for Rutgers over Rider, as the Broncs lead the all-time series, 12-8.
How it Happened
• After a close 5-3 loss from Shane Metzler (125), Rutgers rattled off four consecutive wins before intermission.
• Suriano had five takedowns against Cefelo en route to his 15-3 major, the fifth for him this season.
• In his return to the lineup, Michael Van Brill (141) muscled a 6-2 decision over Travis Layton. Van Brill held a 5-1 lead on Layton after two periods and tacked on the riding time point for the final result.
• In his match against Fidelibus, Ashnault worked a two-point near fall in the first period, then followed with his pin at 3:33 to make it a 13-3 lead.
• No. 18 John Van Brill followed with a 2-1 win over Gino Fluri, as Rutgers led 16-3 at intermission.
• After Stephan Glasgow (165) dropped a tight 5-4 decision to No. 20 Jesse Dellavecchia, Scott took the mat against Sherry. Sherry, a 2018 NCAA qualifier, held a 6-2 lead heading into period three, which began with Scott on top. Scott rode out Sherry for the entirety of the period, then got Sherry on his back with a tilt in the closing seconds for the four-point near fall. Scott secured the bout with the riding time point for the 7-6 decision.
• Gravina was tied with Fagg-Daves, 2-2, after the first period. The Allendale, New Jersey, native used an escape in the second period for the final 3-2 decision.
• Rutgers closed out the dual with back-to-back wins from Matthew Correnti (197) and Christian Colucci (HWT).
125: Jonathon Tropea (RID) over Shane Metzler (RU) (Dec 5-3)
133: No. 3/2/4 Nick Suriano (RU) over Anthony Cefelo (RID) (MD 15-3)
141: Mike Van Brill (RU) over Travis Layton (RID) (Dec 6-2)
149: No. 2/2/2 Anthony Ashnault (RU) over Evan Fidelibus (RID) (Fall 3:33)
157: No. 18/17/15 John Van Brill (RU) over Gino Fluri (RID) (Dec 2-1)
165: No. 20/NR/NR Jesse Dellavecchia (RID) over Stephan Glasgow (RUTG) (Dec 5-4)
174: Willie Scott (RU) over Dean Sherry (RID) (Dec 7-6)
184: No. 11/NR/NR Nicholas Gravina (RU) over Michale Fagg-Daves (RID) (Dec 3-2)
197: Matt Correntti (RU) over Ethan Laird (RID) (Dec 6-3)
285: Christian Colucci (RU) over Ryan Cloud (RID) (Dec 2-0)
Rutgers will send wrestlers to the Midlands Championships from Dec. 29-30 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The Scarlet Knights' next dual is Sunday, Jan. 6 at No. 9 Minnesota, which will broadcast live on BTN.
Head Coach Scott Goodale
On the win: Yea, it was good. We lost a couple bouts there, I thought we needed to be a little tougher, but that's part of it. You know, first time really being in a big spot for those guys, but we won a lot of close matches, it's kind of what we preach. We're getting back to doing that, it was important. Important going forward so it was a good start. When we came back from Vegas that's what we talked about, just being tough and finding a way to win those close matches.
On Metzler challenge at end of match: I'm trying think, was that the two maybe? I thought when he controlled his ankle and there's no reaction time, so I thought when he controlled the ankle it should be two; that's kind of why I challenged it. It happened right away, it was a quick challenge, first match of the night. I thought I saw two so that's why we challenged it.
On Metzler over Aguilar: It's an everyday battle with the staff and what we want to do. Do we want to pull him? We believe in Shane, that's not it. Nick's close, he's getting there, but is he ready long term? When you think in the Big Ten, is he ready to compete at this level? I believe you need two guys and that's kind of why I want to do it, regardless Shane's going to be a huge part of what we're doing. But we just decided, let's keep him in redshirt and see what happens at Midlands, he'll wrestle there unattached and if he can compete at a high level then we'll make a decision in January.
On Scott against Sherry: We'll we said for a couple of months that we we're going to do that, it was a little coach talk, but Grello is kind of banged up. He got hurt earlier in the week and he just didn't feel comfortable going (Joe). You know, nowadays if a student-athlete tells you he's not ready to wrestle…I don't know if Willie was ready to wrestle. It was his high school teammate and friend, but it was awesome. One of the cooler things I've been a part of since I've been here. That was pretty special, good for Willie.
On Scott's tilt: I knew that's his best position and maybe not Sherry's best position, so I felt good about it. He's still good enough where maybe he doesn't turn him, but he finishes the period on top and holds him to a decision. It was probably 99% of the time we're going to go Willie on top.
On Glasgow: He's been banged up for a while. It's something I don't know when we're going to be able to fix, he's going to have to fight through it. There's nothing structurally wrong, he's going to have to fight through it. We'll talk to the trainers and see where we're at.
On Correnti: He was a big win. It was a big win for all of us. It was good, you can kind of see the way they were wrestling. I love it when he takes the mat, I feel really, really comfortable, I feel really good. Obviously Suriano, I feel really, really good down low. We have two hammers that score a lot of bonus points and it's about managing; that's kind of how it played out. They kept it close, they obviously game planned. They wrestled really smart, they tried to avoid majors, but when you have guys like Anthony and Nick, you're going to find bonus points. And of course, these guys are icing on the cake. It was great for Correnti, I'm happy. It was a big win for him. It's something he needs to get himself going. It was important.
On Scott: Here's the thing, no one believed in this guy when he decided to come to Rutgers. People would say why did you come to Rutgers, it's Division I, it's Big Ten, why are you going there? A lot of people in his area, but he's the type of kid that sticks with it and finds his way. HE never says a word. He doesn't know if he's going to 74, 84, a lot of times last year 197. He's had to fill in for Gravina quite a bit with his injuries last year, so he's never said a word. He's done everything we ask, and he's rewarded with moments like that. It's awesome. IT's really, really cool.
On heading into the break: We're going to enjoy the holidays. We're going to eat up. We're going to train, enjoy each other's company. We're going to send some guys to Midlands and send some guys to Wilkes. Start working on our numbers a. little bit, RPI-wise. We'll play that by ear, I wouldn't be able to tell you right now who's going to Midlands or Wilkes. Our big guns [Suriano and Ashnault] are not going to Midlands, and probably Gravina is probably not going to Midlands. Guys like Johnny Van Brill might go to Midlands, they want to go to Midlands, they want to get back in the RPI hunt. We'll play it by ear, we'll meet as a staff this week, enjoy some time off, get healed up, and be ready for the Big Ten.
174-pounder Willie Scott
On wrestling his former teammate: It didn't feel awkward, but there was a lot of tension I would say leading up to it. Just a lot of who's going to win and my friends ball busting me. We're good friends, I respect the hell out of him, but it's the truth. The first five minutes were kind of ugly on my part, I got a late start. I'm comfortable on top, it's my best spot, kind of my bread and butter. I don't really let deficits get to my head, and I don't let it mentally break me. I was comfortable, roll through claw toe is my bread and butter. I do it to my teammates, I do it to a lot of guys. I happened to get it and just the riding time happened to hit one minute, and that's how it happened.
On getting in: I think that whole staff knows what I do; they went neutral, I went top. Its' hard, I can't describe it. It's 50/50. It's a heat of the moment situation. He lets the pressure up and I kind of just rolled through with it and once I got him over I kind of feel comfortable that I'm going to get backs. It's iffy, it's 50/50 for me.
184-pounder Nicholas Gravina
On coming back: I felt a little rusty in the first period. I was happy to be there. Just ready to go for the rest of the season.