July 20, 2018 | ° F

Win sets up home match with Penn St.

Photo by Tian Li |

Redshirt freshman Billy Smith earned bonus points thanks to a pin on Drexel’s Jon Max Wright. Smith was one of three Knights to earn bonus points.

Regardless of whether the match was a milestone, Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale treats the team all the same as long as there is a victory attached to it.

So when the Scarlet Knights finished their 26-10 win Friday against Drexel, it did not even cross his mind that it was his 100th career victory for the Knights.

He was just happy with the win.

“Didn’t even think about it to be honest,” Goodale said. “I’m worried about Penn State.”

That will be the focus now with Drexel in the rearview, as the Nittany Lions represent Rutgers’ biggest challenge of the dual meet season.

The Nittany Lions are currently ranked No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

“It’s hard not to look forward to the Penn State match when you wrestle a team like Drexel,” said senior 125-pounder Joey Langel. “Not that [Drexel] is not good, but Penn State represents an opportunity to wrestle one of the best teams in the country.”

As far as what the win against the Dragons does for the psyche of the team for that match, Goodale is not sure.

“[The win] is important,” Goodale said. “As far as Penn State goes it doesn’t mean anything. When you put your foot on the line, you expect to win. You would rather come off of a win than a loss, but other than that I don’t look into it too much.”

The biggest match of the night for Rutgers came in the opening bout, as it elected to lead off with redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith.

Smith matched up with Jon Max Wright and took advantage of him early, pinning him in the second period to earn bonus points. The pin put the Knights up, 6-0, and they never relinquished the lead.

“Billy Smith with a fall was a great start,” Goodale said. “That’s the kind of way you want to start a match.”

In all, Rutgers collected three major decisions thanks to junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave and senior 174-pounder Greg Zannetti.

Zannetti rolled over Kevin Matyas, 11-3, while Dellefave recorded his 10th straight win by a score of 12-4 against Clayton Lutzow.

But those were expected outcomes, and the Knights could not stage upsets against Drexel’s two ranked wrestlers.

Senior 141-pounder Trevor Melde dropped his match against No. 20 Frank Cimato and junior 197-pounder Dan Seidenberg lost, 4-0, against No. 19 Brandon Palik.

Still, Goodale was pleased for the most part.

“We’re on target and got better,” Goodale said. “We wrestled hard and scored points for the most part. I thought we wrestled well.”

While Rutgers was able to come through with the expected outcome and the milestone victory for Goodale, the focus is now about Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have ranked wrestlers at every weight class other than 141 pounds, many of which are ranked in the top five at their weight.

Senior 157-pounder Scott Winston will return after sitting out the Knights last two matches, and the Knights will need his presence in the lineup when Penn State arrives Friday at the Louis Brown Athletic center.

Though the win is nice for Goodale, he is not thinking about it.

The Nittany Lions are the new focus.

“It’s the biggest task we’ve been handed for sure,” Goodale said. “How we handle it, how we react to it and how we prepare for it are all going to be things we look at this week. It’s about the effort, and we need a lot of it.”

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.

By Bradly Derechailo

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