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No. 13 Rutgers wrestling falls to No. 8 Virginia Tech in home opener

Junior 125-pounder Dean Peterson won 1 of the Rutgers wrestling team’s 4 bouts in its loss to Virginia Tech. – Photo by Sarah Snyder / ScarletKnights

The Rutgers wrestling team was defeated by Virginia Tech 19-12 in its home opener on Friday. The Scarlet Knights (2-1, 0-0) won 4 of their 10 bouts against the Hokies (2-1, 0-0) but ultimately fell short.

Fans of No. 13 Rutgers were out of their seats right from the start, as No. 6 junior 125-pounder Dean Peterson defeated No. 15 Eddie Ventresca to give the Knights a 3-0 lead.

No. 8 Virginia Tech responded in its next dual to level the contest. No. 6 Sam Latona earned a sudden victory over No. 15 junior 133-pounder Dylan Shawver in a 4-1 decision.

No. 15 graduate student 141-pounder Mitch Moore's third-period riding time point led him to a victory over Mac Church with a 2-1 decision to put Rutgers back in front.

The Hokies would win their next two bouts to take a 10-6 lead heading into the intermission. No. 4 Caleb Henson defeated No. 23 graduate student 149-pounder Jacob Butler, and No. 5 Bryce Andonian earned the 4-point major decision win against junior 157-pounder Al DeSantis.

Virginia Tech continued its momentum to begin the second half, as it won its next three bouts.

No. 22 junior 165-pounder Anthony White's four escapes against Rafael Hipolito Jr. were not enough, as he suffered a 13-7 defeat. No. 26 senior 174-pounder Jackson Turley had a tough matchup against No. 3 Mekhi Lewis, who was the 2019 national champion for his respective weight class. Turley lost by decision despite earning three escapes.

With the Knights trailing 16-6, they needed their key wrestlers to step up in order to stage a late comeback victory.

No. 21 Sam Fisher gained an upset victory over No. 9 sophomore 184-pounder Brian Soldano in a close 10-9 decision. Soldano recorded 6 bottom points and 3 neutral points in his first defeat of the season.

Rutgers would win its last two bouts, as No. 8 junior 197-pounder John Poznanski and No. 6 graduate student 285-pounder Yaraslau Slavikouski continued their strong starts to the campaign. The late bout victories would not be enough as the Knights suffered their first defeat of the season.

Rutgers will look to bounce back when it travels to take on Edinboro on December 1. The match will begin at 7 p.m. at the McComb Fieldhouse in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

"We gutted out some good wins," said head coach Scott Goodale on the positives from the dual. “We rode really well, we got off the bottom (and) we didn’t lie on the bottom at all."

For more updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Matthew Mangam's work, follow @matthewmangam on X.

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