RU’s redshirts get first taste of RAC?against Old Dominion
At least five members of the Rutgers wrestling team’s lineup spent last year’s matches at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on the sideline.
“I was there last year on the sidelines itching, itching to get out on the mat,” said redshirt freshman Anthony Volpe. “Now I just want to get out there, wrestle in front of the home crowd and show Rutgers University what I can do.”
Volpe and four other wrestlers fresh off redshirt years return to the RAC tonight to face Old Dominion, and most of them occupy a weight class where head coach Scott Goodale is quick to say the Scarlet Knights need improvement.
Goodale knows what to expect out of seniors Billy Ashnault and Dan Rinaldi, and juniors Mario Mason, Scott Winston and Gregory Zannetti. And while he acknowledges his wrestlers at the 125, 133, 157, 184 and heavyweight weight classes are mostly in the lineup for the first time, he still wants more.
That includes Volpe, the youngest of the bunch who had a pin fall in last weekend’s 2-1 showing at the Northeast Duals with a loss to 20th-ranked Donnie Corby of Central Michigan. He will be tested again tonight against No. 15 John Nicholson.
“I think we probably put more [expectations on Volpe] than what’s necessary, but that’s where our program’s at,” Goodale said of his 157-pounder. “We expect him to be very good. We expect him to be fighting for a spot on the podium. That’s why we recruited him. It’s to excel, and expectations are high. I think of him like I think of Greg Zannetti, Dan Rinaldi and guys like that.”
Zannetti draws Old Dominion’s only other ranked wrestler in ninth-ranked 174-pounder Te Edwards. Along with 149-pound Mario Mason, Zannetti is one of two unbeaten wrestlers on Rutgers’ roster after four bouts.
He won his bracket at the Brockport-Oklahoma Gold Classic with a decision against Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland, and then took Sheptock’s place as the 16th-ranked 174-pounder in the nation. But Edwards presents his biggest test to date.
The Arizona State transfer and NCAA qualifier already beat a pair of ranked opponents, including then-No. 7 Chris Spangler in an upset of Iowa State.
While Zannetti prefers to ignore the rankings, his coach does not.
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Goodale said. “Greg has a great opportunity, and I look forward to that match for sure.”
It marks Zannetti’s first match at the RAC since he wrestled at 165 pounds two years ago in a dual-meet victory against Virginia.
Ashnault and sophomore Daniel Seidenberg also wrestled in that match, but Seidenberg’s 184-pound class is now with some uncertainty for Goodale.
“We have some young guys in the lineup,” Goodale said. “Vinny Dellefave has been with us three years, but [the Northeast Duals were] his first dual meet in a big spot. Dan Hopkins is a fifth-year guy, but DJ [Russo had] been there. Anthony Volpe, as good as he is coming out of high school, it’s his first time in a big spot. Danny Seidenberg’s never been in our lineup. We have to start believing we can win those close matches.”
Goodale expects those close matches to occur against an Old Dominion team that last wrestled Nov. 20 against Iowa State and arrives in Piscataway off what Goodale likened to a bye week.
“It will be highly contested with a lot of tossups,” he said. “I like those matches.”