In a weekend of home matches, the No. 24 Rutgers wrestling team earned its first Big Ten dual win and second-ranked victory of the season with a 16-15 defeat of No. 20 Michigan State on Friday. The Scarlet Knights (9-4, 1-3) also faced off against No. 3 Michigan on Sunday but lost to the Wolverines (8-1, 3-1) by a score of 24-9.
Through the intermission, Rutgers held a commanding 13-3 lead over the Spartans (7-4, 0-4). After seven duals, the Knights would be up 16-6. In the 184-pounder dual, Rutgers would see freshman No. 13 Brian Soldano fall to No. 15 Layne Malczewski by a major decision.
In this dual, the Michigan State coaching staff was given a call for unsportsmanlike conduct which cost the Spartans a point. If Michigan State did not lose a point due to unsportsmanlike conduct, the Knights still would have won due to match points (45-44).
The Spartans would go on to win every dual from the 184-pounders to the heavyweights, but Rutgers held on to earn the narrow defeat. No. 11 sophomore 125-pounder Dean Peterson and No. 17 graduate student 133-pounder Joe Heilmann secured crucial decisions as the Knights were victorious in their first four head-to-head matches of the night.
Rutgers' winning streak would not last long after falling to Michigan two days later. Through the first three duals, the Knights gave their home crowd something to cheer for after they took a 6-3 lead.
The tides soon turned as the Wolverines went on to win 6 of the last 7 matches to secure their eighth win of the season and extend the all-time series lead over their opponent 8-0. Michigan proved to be too dominant for Rutgers as the Knights did not find success after the first three duals.
The 184-pounders, 197-pounders, and heavyweights struggled this week as Rutgers only won a single dual in both matches combined in all weight classes. The sole win came against Michigan when junior 197-pounder Billy Janzer defeated Brendin Yatooma by a 3-2 decision. Soldano, who is supposed to be one of the best wrestlers for the Knights, did not record a win in either of his duals.
In his press conference after the match against the Spartans, head coach Scott Goodale spoke about junior 285-pounder Boone McDermott and the knee injury that kept him out of the weekend matches. "We're trying to get him back," Goodale said. "We have to be smart in getting him back. We're going to wait. Obviously, he won't be ready on Sunday. We'll see. Hopefully, next week he's ready to go, but we have to be really really smart with it."
Rutgers will be back in action next Sunday at 4 p.m. versus Northwestern at Jersey Mike's Arena on Livingston campus. This match will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network as well as 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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