PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- No. 2 Anthony Ashnault (149) defeated No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik by bonus as No. 18 Rutgers (9-5, 2-3) downed No. 20 Princeton (6-6, 2-0), 19-18, Sunday afternoon in front of 5,290 fans at the RAC.
With the Tigers leading, 18-15, heading into the final bout, Christian Colucci (HWT) needed bonus points to secure the dual for the Scarlet Knights. The junior responded with a 12-2 major over Kendall Elfstrum, giving RU its 23rd consecutive win over Princeton in the all-time series.
No. 4 Nick Suriano (133) collected a tech fall, while No. 14 John Van Brill (157) and Joseph Grello (174) each worked decisions to aid in the dual win.
Ashnault vs. Kolodzik: How it Happened
• After a scoreless first period, Ashnault started top and worked a two-point near fall for an early 2-0 lead in the second period. After a Kolodzik escape, Ashnault went for Kolodzik legs for the first takedown of the match. Ashnault finished the period with a 4-2 lead and 49 seconds of riding time.
• With a 5-2 lead and a minute left in the match, Ashnault caught Kolodzik on the edge of the circle for another takedown. Ashnault worked one more tilt and added the riding time point for the 10-2 major.
• Ashnault moved to 19-0 on the season and 3-2 against Kolodzik.
Rutgers vs. Princeton: How it Happened
• Rutgers fell behind early after Patrick Glory pinned Shane Metzler (125) to give Princeton a 6-0 lead.
• Suriano was next and responded with a 25-9 tech fall over Jonathan Gomez. Suriano had 11 takedowns on Gomez, including four in both the first and third periods for his fourth tech fall of the season and third consecutive win by bonus.
• Michael Van Brill earned the start at 141 pounds, but was unable to defeat Marshall Keller as he dropped an 8-5 decision.
• Ashnault's 10-2 major made it a 9-9 match after four bouts, as Van Brill took the mat against Quincy Monday. Van Brill held a 2-1 lead over Monday after the first period, and worked a two-point near fall from the top position in period two. Van Brill closed out the match with another takedown and the riding time point for the 9-3 final.
• Rutgers held a 12-9 lead at intermission.
• Three straight overtime matches at 165, 174 and 184 followed out of the break. Trailing 5-3 with less than 30 seconds left in the match, Stephan Glasgow worked a reversal on Dale Tiongson to force sudden victory. However, Tiongson would prevail after an escape and takedown in tie breaker one for the final 8-5 result.
• Grello exchanged escapes with Travis Stefanik in regulation to force overtime. With the crowd behind him, Grello caught Stefanik in a cradle for the take down and four near-fall points, finishing with an 8-2 win in sudden victory.
• In his first match since Jan. 6 against Minnesota, No. 17 Nicholas Gravina (184) dropped his bout with Kevin Parker in sudden victory, 4-2, after Parker worked a takedown.
• Matthew Correnti (197) followed with a hard-fought 3-2 loss to No. 3 and undefeated Patrick Brucki, which gave Princeton an 18-15 advantage in the dual.
• Because Glory secured a pin to open the match, Rutgers needed Colucci to win by bonus points in order to earn the dual victory. The redshirt junior responded with a takedown in the first period, another in the second and followed two takedowns and a two-point near fall for the 12-2 major.
• Through seven home events this season, RU has averaged 4,992 fans per dual at the RAC.
• Rutgers moved to 44-33-5 all-time against Princeton. This was the 83rd meeting between the two schools, as Rutgers has won 23 consecutive matches against the Tigers since 1993.
• Ashnault is now 19-0 this season with 14 of those wins by bonus, including seven pins, four tech falls and three majors. Ashnault leads the team in dual points with 68.
• Ashnault has now defeated six ranked foes this season, including No. 1 Kolodzik, No. 3 Micah Jordan (Ohio State), No. 6 Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State), No. 7 Mitch Finesilver (Duke), No. 12 Pat Lugo (Iowa) and No. 20 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota).
• Ashnault now owns 110 career wins, tied with Jon Forster for fifth all-time in program history. Ashnault needs eight wins to surpass Mike McHugh (1986-89) for the most wins in program history.
• Suriano collected his fourth tech fall of the season and is now 17-2 with 15 wins by bonus, including seven majors, four tech falls, three pins, and a medical forfeit. His 15 wins by bonus leads the team.
• Suriano is second on the team with 59 dual points in 14 duals this year.
125: Pat Glory (PRIN) over Shane Metzler (RUTG) (Fall 2:58)
133: Nick Suriano (RUTG) over Jonathan Gomez (PRIN) (TF 25-9 6:54)
141: Marshall Keller (PRIN) over Mike Van Brill (RUTG) (Dec 8-5)
149: Anthony Ashnault (RUTG) over Matthew Kolodzik (PRIN) (MD 10-2)
157: John Van Brill (RUTG) over Quincy Monday (PRIN) (Dec 9-3)
165: Dale Tiongson (PRIN) over Stephan Glasgow (RUTG) (TB-1 8-5)
174: Joe Grello (RUTG) over Travis Stefanik (PRIN) (SV-1 8-2)
184: Kevin Parker (PRIN) over Nick Gravina (RUTG) (SV-1 4-2)
197: Patrick Brucki (PRIN) over Matt Correntti (RUTG) (Dec 3-2)
285: Christian Colucci (RUTG) over Kendall Elfstrum (PRIN) (MD 12-2)
Rutgers heads west for back-to-back road matches at Indiana on Friday, Feb. 8 (7 p.m.) and No. 19 Purdue on Sunday, Feb. 10 (1 p.m.). Both matches will stream live on BTNPlus.
Head Coach Scott Goodale
On Colucci winning the match: he knew going in that the score was tied. Obviously, he was super confident that he would win the bout, it was about getting bonus points. It was important to get that first takedown. That one leg attack that the end was great, that was really, really big for us. Good for him. A lot of points in a big spot, we kind of needed that.
On the atmosphere during 149: I haven't heard it that loud since maybe Willie ????. It reminded me a little bit of Nebraska three years ago when they were number four in the country and we picked them off. It was a little bit of that. It was really, really loud. It was awesome. One versus two in the country, a lot of scoring. Good offense, really, really good offense. That's what it's about. Great atmosphere.
On what he said at intermission: No. You kind of let those kids at 165, 174, 184 get in their own little zone. We didn't draw it up that way at all, we felt we could win at 165 and 184 to be honest with you. We did our talking Friday night as a team, and that was good. Then we had a great practice last night, so that was good enough; they knew what we had to do. Some responded better than others, and it was a great team effort.
On regrouping after Friday: Just that. I always tell these guys that I don't like to communicate with them right after a match because I'm emotional, but some things needed to be said and then our leaders took over. Anthony spoke and Nick spoke, and some of those guys spoke. Obviously then Donny, and when Donny speaks, the guys really lock in on him. It was a tough night. I felt that maybe we were out gunned obviously, but it became an effort thing, and that's not what this program is built on. This program is built on effort, enthusiasm, and energy, and we didn't have it Friday, but we showed a bit more tonight which was great.
On what the building and crowd does for the team: I don't know, I think to be honest with you they won the two overtime matches. Obviously, we wrestle better here. Our guys are excited. The guys who like to compete show that. Correnti was a totally different guy tonight, so he gears up for it maybe. Our guys do like to wrestle here, but they did win those overtime matches. I think they were feeding off the energy too. Most of their guys, or at least a lot of them are Jersey guys too. It's Princeton versus Rutgers, so it was a great atmosphere for college wrestling. It was awesome and we feel good about the win.
On his preparation for today: Well, when I practice, I move my feet like that every day, and I think I was a lot less nervous to wrestle my opponent being Kolodzik tonight. I was familiar with what he does, so I was just comfortable, and I knew what I had to do to score on him. The game plan was to do what I'm good at and not to get caught up in where he is good. I think the first period was a little tentative and I wanted to be scoring right away, but he's strong in a lot of areas so I was a little tentative in some spots and I had to feel it out. Once I got going, I felt like I wanted to wrestle another seven-minute match after that match was over. I felt like I was a little better than him today.
Ashnault on what he saw at the beginning of period two: He sat out, where he gave me an opportunity. He had no leverage in his backside, so I'm really good at tilts, he's focusing on my hands, and I slipped to the side really quick. Sometimes you're able to pin a kid from a position like that, but he's a strong opponent. He was able to get off his back. I was able to hit that twice.
On scoring 10 points: I think I could score more to be honest, but 10 points is a good performance. A major decision, which came back to be really important. At the time coming from South Plainfield, it helps me in a lot of these positions. We were always bred that way, score a lot of points, get the major for the team. Maybe if it's at nationals, I finish the match 7 to 3 or 7 to 4 on our feet, but in a position like this I need team points for my team.
On the atmosphere: Oh yea. Maybe that had a lot to do with it tonight. When I was up 4 to 1 in the second, I knew that match was mine kind of. When I felt the roar, I got to my attack right away to make it 4 to 1. I definitely felt that. It's good energy to feel out there, it was a really fun time for me tonight. I've never heard a roar like that for me at the RAC. I felt that when Gravina beat Dudley against Nebraska.
On Coach Ayres pre-match comments: I was putting it off in my mind, but it definitely did bother me when people said I can't score any points. I can score on anyone. I just wanted to make it a point that I'm ready to win a national title this year. I'm a lot better than maybe people have seen in the past, so I get excited to get an opportunity to verse the number one guy in the country. I wanted to show that and show his coach who might believe in him 100-percent that I can score on him, to show him that I'm a little better than he thinks.
On a potential rematch: I'm sure he's going to be very hungry. I mean he kind of lost the match for his team and he's a leader for them. I'm going to be twice as prepared next time for the match up, but I'm sure he's going to take this one to heart and be excited for it.
On heading into his match: That's one of the reasons why I came here, you can't beat a crowd like Rutgers, and I transferred here for moments just like that, to have Jersey on my back and be able to deliver.
On keeping his cool: I try to just have a stonewall face. Goody knows how nervous I can get before a match and what happens. I just try to keep my composure just knowing that at the end of the day my teammates and coach are still going to love me.