Rutgers earns come-from-behind win
When junior 165-pounder Nick Visicaro dropped his match Friday night against Bloomsburg’s Josh Veltre, the Rutgers wrestling team seemed destined to mimic its loss last weekend against Navy.
Greg Zannetti had other plans.
The senior 174-pounder delivered a decision against Chris Smith which jumpstarted the Scarlet Knights’ comeback to capture an 18-16 win against Bloomsburg.
The win came without one of the Knights’ main contributors.
Senior 154-pounder Scott Winston did not participate Friday as Goodale chose to rest him.
Junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave was impressed with how his team responded despite the absence of Winston.
“As a team I thought it showed a lot of heart,” Dellefave said. “Bloomsburg is a great team, and we were down one of our better wrestlers in Scott [Winston], so for us to beat them was huge for our team.”
The decision forced freshman Mickey Simmons into the lineup for the first time this season, and the rookie did not have much going for him to start off.
Bloomsburg (14-3) elected to begin the match at 154 pounds with Frank Hickman.
Hickman, the No. 12 ranked grappler in his weight class, took advantage of the mismatch with a pin of Simmons 3:19 in the match.
Both Simmons’ and Visicaro’s losses put the Knights (15-3) in a 9-0 hole against the No. 14 team in the nation.
Dellefave knew what his team had to do.
“Visicaro wrestled a great match and had [the match] where he wanted to win it, so we were wrestling okay but we were a little down,” he said. “We needed to win the next five matches.”
Besides a loss from junior Dan Seidenberg at 197 pounds by major decision, Rutgers took Dellefave’s advice with victories at 174, 184, heavyweight, 125 and 133 pounds.
The Toms River, N.J., native captured the biggest win of the night with a 3-2 decision against the Huskies’ Nick Wilcox.
Wilcox, ranked No. 11 at 133 pounds, was tied with Dellefave with 10 seconds remaining in the third period. Dellefave recorded a takedown to take the lead and capture his ninth win in a row.
The victory is the highlight of the season for arguably the Knights’ most improved wrestler as Dellefave continues to excel in his new weight class. He participated at 125 pounds last season.
But the win is just another step for Dellefave.
“It felt good,” Dellefave said. “I know that was one of my bigger wins, but I just try to beat anyone that goes out there regardless. It felt good but there is still a lot to go.”
The win was exactly what Goodale wanted as a response to the Knights’ 19-15 loss to Navy last weekend. And while Rutgers avoided a losing streak, the victory also showed what the Knights are capable of doing when the EIWA tournament arrives.
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.