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No. 24 Rutgers earns 16-15 victory over No. 20 Michigan State



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

After suffering defeats in their first two Big Ten matches, No. 24 Rutgers wrestling (9-3, 1-2) earned a crucial 16-15 victory over No. 20 Michigan State (7-3, 0-3) on Friday night. With a home crowd of 3,622 fans in Jersey Mike’s Arena, the Scarlet Knights delivered.

The meet began with two ranked showdowns and Rutgers was victorious in both. No. 11 Dean Peterson defeated No. 24 Tristan Lujan with a 6-3 decision at 125 pounds.

“It was very exciting,” said Peterson. “I have been coming to matches at the RAC and Jersey Mike’s Arena since I was six or seven years old. To finally get to wrestle in front of all the fans and in front of Jersey, it was very exciting. You can feel the energy.”

No. 17 Joe Heilmann followed with a 4-3 decision over No. 16 Rayvon Foley at 133 pounds. It was the first career Big Ten wins for both Peterson and Heilmann that gave Rutgers a 6-0 lead.

The positive momentum continued to build as No. 17 Joey Olivieri dominated his match at 141 pounds. He earned bonus points for a 16-4 major decision over Jordan Hamdan. At 149 pounds, Tony White defeated Peyton Omania with a 5-3 decision.

The Scarlet Knights were out to a commanding 13-0 lead, but Michigan State won the next two matches before Jackson Turley defeated Ceasar Garcia with a 7-2 decision. With RU leading 16-6, the Spartans won the final three bouts of the dual.

No. 13 Brian Soldano lost a major decision to No. 16 Layne Malczewski 16-6. However, Michigan State had one team point deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct from the Spartans bench. That was the difference in Rutgers winning the dual 16-15. However, RU would have won the tiebreaker on criteria based on earning more total match points by a 45-42 margin.

“I am fired up and proud of our guys,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “I mean, last week we had our first road test out in the Big Ten and it was a tough one. So I wanted to see how we bounced back. I am just really excited for my guys, they put in a hard week’s work. I am excited. This is hard, it doesn’t get any easier. We will enjoy tonight, and then get ready for Michigan.”

It was the second ranked win of the season for the Scarlet Knights and they improved to 6-1-1 all-time against MSU. It was also critical to earn a Big Ten victory after losing to Indiana last weekend. The rest of the conference slate includes four top 15 ranked opponents with five matches remaining.

“I know our fans, we have an incredible fan base, and I know how they are looking ahead at the Big Ten schedule and everything with Penn State and Nebraska,” Goodale stated. “We never got into that, we got into this match. You see our team, we are blue-collar type kids. We just want to work real hard. Maybe we aren’t the most talented, and in this conference, that gets really difficult. These wins are hard to come by.”

Goodale continued, “I thought we probably should have got one against Indiana, and didn’t. When you let one get away, it kind of sets you behind the eight ball. So, that is kind of how we went about it. There is no question about it, we are looking at this dual meet schedule and know it’s going to be really, really difficult, but we know we are going to be ready for March. These guys are going to be ready for March, and that’s what this schedule does. So yeah, it’s great to win, I’m super proud of the effort regardless of how that ended up.”

Rutgers is back on the mat on Sunday at as they host No. Michigan at 2:00 p.m. ET at Jersey Mike’s Arena.

Here is the full box score from the match.

No. 24 Rutgers 16, No. 20 Michigan State 15
Attendance: 3,622
125: 11/12 Dean Peterson (RU) over 24/24 Tristan Lujan (MSU) by dec., 6-3; RU leads, 3-0
133: 17/14 Joe Heilmann (RU) over 16/17 Rayvon Foley (MSU) by dec., 4-3; RU leads, 6-0
141: 17/HM Joey Olivieri (RU) over Jordan Hamdan (MSU) by MD, 16-4; RU leads, 10-0
149: NR/HM Tony White (RU) over Peyton Omania (MSU) by dec., 5-3; RU leads, 13-0
157: 15/17 Chase Saldate (MSU) over NR/24 Andrew Clark (RU) by dec., 5-0; RU leads, 13-3
165: 25/HM Caleb Fish (MSU) over Connor O’Neill (RU) by dec., 2-0; RU leads, 13-6
174: Jackson Turley (RU) over Ceasar Garza (MSU) by dec., 7-2; RU leads, 16-6
184: 15/14 Layne Malczewski (MSU) over 13/16 Brian Soldano (RU) by MD, 16-6; RU leads, 16-9*
197: 14/12 Cameron Caffey (MSU) over Billy Janzer (RU) by SV1, 3-1; RU leads, 16-12
HWT: Ryan Vasbinder (MSU) over Kyle Epperly (RU) by dec., 3-0; RU wins, 16-15
*Michigan State deducted one team point for loss of mat control


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Biochemist01

    January 24, 2023 at 2:24 am

    This was a really tough gritty match by the team to pull out the dual win against a good MSU team. Every single guy did his job to secure this win. It is important to note that you not only need guys to win bouts to gain team points but you also needs guys that lose to got give up bonus points to the other team. Every guy did what was necessary to get the team win. Great job guys.

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