PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- No. 24 Rutgers wrestling (7-2, 1-1) earned its signature win of the season, defeating No. 10 Wisconsin (6-2, 1-2), 17-16, Friday night in front of 4,563 fans at the RAC. With the dual ending in a five-five split, the Scarlet Knights secured their first Big Ten Conference victory of 2018-2019 by criteria with a 56-50 advantage in total match points.
No. 2 Nick Suriano (133), No. 2 Anthony Ashnault (149), No. 15 John Van Brill (157), Joseph Grello (174) and Matthew Correnti (197) all collected wins to help RU earn its second consecutive win over the Badgers. The dual victory also marked the first over a top-10 program since Rutgers defeated then-No. 7 Lehigh on Feb. 20, 2016 at the RAC.
"Each dual meet is different," said head coach Scott Goodale. "We'll be confident that we can wrestle hard and win big matches; that's what we're confident in. We're confident in Suriano. We're confident in Ashnault. We're confident in [Nicholas] Gravina. We're confident in our guys. It was a good Big Ten win."
How it Happened
• After Wisconsin opened with a decision at 125 pounds, Suriano responded with his sixth major decision of the season against Jens Lantz. Suriano recorded two takedowns in each of the three periods, and added the riding time point for a 14-5 final score.
• Peter Lipari (141) followed with what looked to be the match of the night at the time, as the redshirt junior held a 7-4 advantage over Tristan Moran after two periods. However, Moran responded with an escape and takedown in the closing seconds, securing the 8-7 decision with the riding time point.
• Ashnault won by decision for just the third time this season with his 12-6 win over two-time NCAA qualifier Cole Martin. Ashnault recorded three takedowns in the final minute of the second period against Martin to help him move to 14-0 on the season.
• Van Brill followed with a gritty 6-0 decision over Devin Bahr. The graduate student landed a takedown in the first period, added an escape and reversal in the second and capped off his first conference dual win with the riding time point.
• Rutgers held a 10-6 advantage at intermission.
• After Anthony Olivieri (165) dropped a major decision to No. 3 Evan Wick in his Rutgers varsity debut, Grello got the crowd on its feet in his bout with Pat Spray. The redshirt sophomore tilted Spray twice, including a two-point near fall in the final 20 seconds of the opening period for an early 4-0 lead. Grello would ride out Spray for the majority of the match for the final 5-0 decision.
• In just his third match of the season, Nicholas Gravina (184) dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to Mason Reinhardt. Tied 1-1 with just four seconds left, Gravina went down with an injury, allowing Reinhardt to choose bottom to close out the period, escaping for the final result. After the loss, the dual was tied, 13-13.
•In his bout with Beau Breske, Correnti led, 3-2, heading into the final period. With a chance to secure the win, Correnti landed a two-point near fall and a takedown in the final two minutes for a 7-4 decision.
• With Rutgers leading in match points, 55-45, Christian Colucci (HWT) did his job by dropping just a 5-1 decision to No. 9 Trent Hillger.
• This was the first win by criteria for Rutgers since last season, when it earned an 18-17 victory over then-No. 24 North Carolina on Jan. 12, 2018 at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights prevailed in that match courtesy of a 70-64 advantage in match points.
• This was the second consecutive win over Wisconsin, as the Scarlet Knights muscled a 24-12 victory over the Badgers in Madison.
• Ashnault now has 105 wins for his career, tied with Mike Kwapriewski and Billy Smith for ninth all-time in program history.
• Ashnault and Suriano are now a combined 28-0 with 23 wins by bonus points this season, including 10 falls, eight major decisions, four tech falls and a forfeit. In dual action, they are a combined 18-0 and have collected 93 team points in RU's first nine matches.
• Suriano has yet to concede a takedown this season.
• Correnti has now won seven consecutive matches dating back to his 6-3 decision over Ethan Laird of Rider on Dec. 16, 2018.
125: Connor Brown (WISC) over Shane Metzler (RUTG) (Dec 8-2)
133: Nick Suriano (RUTG) over Anders Lantz (WISC) (MD 14-5)
141: Tristan Moran (WISC) over Pete Lipari (RUTG) (Dec 8-7)
149: Anthony Ashnault (RUTG) over Cole Martin (WISC) (Dec 12-6)
157: John Vanschenkbrill (RUTG) over Devin Bahr (WISC) (Dec 6-0)
165: Evan Wick (WISC) over Anthony Olivieri (RUTG) (MD 14-4)
174: Joe Grello (RUTG) over Patrick Spray (WISC) (Dec 5-0)
184: Mason Reinhardt (WISC) over Nick Gravina (RUTG) (Dec 2-1)
197: Matt Correntti (RUTG) over Beau Breske (WISC) (Dec 7-4)
285: Trent Hillger (WISC) over Christian Colucci (RUTG) (Dec 5-1)
(RUTG Criteria (56-50) 1.0)
Rutgers hosts No. 3 Oklahoma State on Sunday, Jan. 13 for a 1 p.m. dual at the RAC.
Head Coach Scott Goodale
On Evan Wick at 165: We were going back and forth on that all day long for the first time in probably 12 years, since I've been here. It felt like a little bit of a high school match where the coin flip actually mattered. We wanted to see what they were going to do. We had three guys ready; Glasgow was ready. When they went with Wick, they went kind of straight so we decided to go with Anthony, tough kid and you just have to be ready. Every guy has to be ready to go, it doesn't matter if you're the first, second, third string guy; be ready to go. He was ready to go, he did a good job.
On expecting Wick at 174: I thought so. I thought they'd probably make that move. I thought maybe both Wicks would bump up. You usually don't do that in college wrestling, but it definitely crossed my mind, knowing that their 174 was hurt. It crossed my mind for sure.
On Christiensen being out: We had a pretty good idea, he wasn't here last night or even this morning. He was pretty banged up. We were supposed to wrestle him at the Midlands, Willie was, and he got hurt right before they were about to wrestle, so we knew it was pretty serious. I don't know the extent of it, but we didn't expect him to be here.
On winning a dual with no pins: Each dual meet is different. We'll be confident that we can wrestle hard and win big matches; that's what we're confident in. We're confident in Suriano. We're confident in Ashnault. We're confident in Gravina. We're confident in our guys. It was a good Big Ten win.
On Colucci: I don't know if he knew the situation; it's a tough thing to do. He probably wanted to go down there, that's the kid's strength on top. We want to win the match. We felt there was a lot of momentum on the feet, that's why we went there in the third. If we could get a takedown, we could erase riding time, so that was our thought process. We wrestled him hard. I knew as long as we didn't get majored, we were going to win the dual meet. (On possibly changing Colucci's approach) No, just go wrestle. Wrestle hard. Keep yourself in the match and don't let him get on top. That is probably something we talked about with him all week. This kid's strength, he wins a lot of dual meets on top and pins a lot of people.
On Correnti's win: Breske wrestled decent at Midlands, he's a blue-chip recruit, a really good high school wrestler. He went to Nebraska first, transferred over; not quite sure how he's able to wrestle right away, but he is. He took the mat and Matt's wrestled well, it was a good win for Matt.
On the importance of tonight's win: This kid is a winner. He wants to win. He wants to be a part of a winner, so it is important to win dual meets. They're important to us, they're important to our fan base. We want to be around winners. Anytime you can win a Big Ten dual meet, it's important to us. Now we will lock in on Sunday.
On preparation for Sunday: Clearly the staff has done their work, you know we've done our homework and we watch a lot of tape. We know what we need to do. We'll get together tomorrow afternoon and prepare a bit, but it is the point in the season where you get your mind right. You get your body ready to go. You get excited to wrestle. That's what it's about. Take care of yourself. I'm not going to put too much into it. This is what they do. It's not just about worrying about what they do. It's about how you attack the 420 seconds, the 7 minutes. That's our focus.
On winning after giving up points: It doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel good giving up those points late. Anthony's the first one to admit it, giving up a major late. That's a loss of focus there that can't happen; he knows that. Gravina, it's an injury, but we have to figure out a way in that injury time to just ride him out, even if you have to drop down and take one. Those guys know that, they've been here for a long time. They've seen matches swing the other way, against us that way. They know better, so no it doesn't feel good. It doesn't ever feel good to give up majors and lose those type of close matches.
Junior Nick Suriano
On Sunday: I feel great, that's about it. It's an awesome atmosphere. Everyone is looking forward to Sunday. That's what it's about, Sunday. I mean I felt great, but I'm focused on Sunday.
On the importance of tonight's win: It's awesome. We were talking about it earlier, we need this win, and we got it. Now we're right up there, back in the ranks. People start chirping a little bit, and that's what it's all about.
On his two days motion: That was 100-percent real. Two days, that's what I said, two days. That's what it's all about. That's what this weekend is about, two days. It's going to be a big match up. I'm looking forward to it. That's why I signed up for this sport, to wrestle the best. I want to show people Jersey wrestling. Remember all of the chirp? We got the win over Wisconsin, we're climbing up in the ranks, and now it's about beating world caliber wrestlers, like myself. That's what I am. It's time to take them out. He's a great competitor we've faced before. It's going to be great. Rutgers versus Oklahoma State in Jersey. People should be fired up.
On his next opponent: Of course, he does, that's the whole point. He's coming here to beat me. It's going to be a fight.