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Rutgers downs in-state rival Rider

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- Using eight individual victories - including a Top-10 win from No. 19 Jordan Pagano (197) and another ranked triumph from JoJo Aragona (141) - No. 25 Rutgers wrestling (9-6, 3-5) defeated Rider (10-3, 6-1), 25-6, on Sunday night at Alumni Gym. The win secured the 14th consecutive winning dual season for the Scarlet Knights and 13th since head coach Scott Goodale took over the program in 2007.

RU jumped out to a fast start, as it claimed the first four bouts of the evening from 125 through 149 pounds. Rutgers added four more wins out of intermission, highlighted by Pagano's upset 4-2 decision over No. 7 Ethan Laird in sudden victory. The Scarlet Knights won all three of their overtime matches on Sunday, including a sudden-victory decision from Gerard Angelo (149) and a thrilling 3-2 decision from Aragona over No. 25 Pete Lipari in tie breaker No. 4.

No. 10 Sammy Alvarez (133) collected his fifth major decision of the season, while Nicolas Aguilar (125), Brett Donner (165), No. 12 Billy Janzer (184) and Alex Esposito (HWT) all worked decisions to help RU to its seventh consecutive win over Rider in the all-time series.

"It was great to see our guys finish their matches from top to bottom," Goodale said. "We got an awesome start from 125 pounds and he just didn't stop from there. We train really hard week in and week out and I'm glad we were able to put it all out there tonight to get the victory."

HOW IT HAPPENED
• There was plenty of back-and-forth action throughout the night, beginning with Aguilar against Jonathan Tropea at 125 pounds. After he conceded two takedowns to Tropea in the first period and trailed 6-4 after the second, Aguilar rallied back in the final two minutes of the match. Aguilar landed a single-leg takedown with 55 seconds left in the final period for a 7-6 lead. After a Tropea escape and a stall call against his opponent, Aguilar caught Tropea with an ankle pic en route to an 11-7 decision.
• Alvarez wasted no time in his bout with Chris Wright, using a takedown for an early 2-0 lead after the first. After working another takedown in the second and adding an escape in the third, Alvarez held a 5-0 advantage over Wright with the riding-time point locked up midway through the final period. Needing a takedown to secure the major, Alvarez landed the takedown out of the scramble with just three second to go for the 8-0 final.
• Aragona followed against Lipari, who entered the weekend ranked No. 25 by FloWrestling. Both traded escapes in regulation to force sudden victory, as both went scoreless in the first four tiebreaker periods. After Lipari landed an escape in tie breaker No. 3 for a 2-1 lead, Aragona needed to counter in tie breaker No. 4 for a chance to tie or win. Aragona responded with a reversal at the buzzer for the 3-2 final. The decision made it 10-0 Rutgers through the first three bouts.
• Angelo also forced overtime against his opponent after he was tied 1-1 with Gino Fluri. Angelo caught Fluri with a single leg with 22 seconds left in sudden victory, sweeping with his left leg for the takedown and a 3-1 decision.
• Michael VanBrill (157) wrestled hard against No. 7 Jesse Dellavecchia in the following bout, but suffered 3-1 loss as RU held a 13-3 lead at intermission
• Donner followed with a 5-3 decision over Joe Casey, while a tight 5-3 loss from Willie Scott (174) against No. 18 Dean Sherry made it 16-6 in favor of Rutgers.
• The Scarlet Knights closed out the dual with three consecutive victories, beginning with Janzer against George Walton. Janzer used takedowns in the first and third periods to produce a 5-3 decision over Walton, which gave Janzer a team-high 43 dual points on the season.
• Pagano faced Laird at 197 pounds, with his opponent ranked as high as No. 7 in the country by FloWrestling with a 21-5 record. With the score tied 2-2 after regulation, Pagano caught Laird with a single leg and drove him into the mat with 11 seconds left in sudden victory, then was awarded two points right at the buzzer for his biggest individual win of the season.
• Esposito closed out the bout with a 7-4 decision over Ryan Cloud, as Rutgers exited Alumni Gym with a 25-6 road victory.

Results:
125: 20/25/17 Nicolas Aguilar (RU) over NR/NR/31 Jonathan Tropea (RID) by decision, 11-7; RU leads 3-0
133: 9/10/9 Sammy Alvarez (RU) over Chris Wright (RID) by major decision, 8-0; RU leads 7-0
141: JoJo Aragona (RU) over NR/25/29 Peter Lipari (RID) by decision, 3-2 (TB4); RU leads 10-0
149: Gerard Angelo (RU) over Gino Fluri (RID) by decision, 3-1 (SV1); RU leads 13-0
157: 6/7/6 Jesse Dellavecchia (RID) over Michael VanBrill (RU) by decision, 3-1; RU leads 13-3
165: Brett Donner (RU) over Joe Casey (RID) by decision, 5-3; RU leads 16-3
174: NR/18/22 Dean Sherry (RID) over Willie Scott (RU) by decision, 5-3; RU leads 16-6
184: 12/12/15 Billy Janzer (RU) over George Walton (RID) by decision, 5-3; RU leads 19-6
197: 19/19/20 Jordan Pagano (RU) over 11/7/12 Ethan Laird (RID) by decision, 4-2 (SV1); RU leads 22-6
285: Alex Esposito (RU) over Ryan Cloud (RID) by decision, 7-4; RU wins 25-6

UP NEXT
Rutgers returns to the RAC to host Senior Night against No. 21 Northwestern on Friday (Feb. 14) at 7 p.m.

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