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Zannetti’s rout leads Rutgers to victory

<p>Junior 165-pounder Scott?Winston wrestles Old Dominion’s
Tristan?Warner en route to a 5-4 decision that gave Rutgers a lead
it would not relinquish for the remainder of the dual meet.</p>

Junior 165-pounder Scott?Winston wrestles Old Dominion’s Tristan?Warner en route to a 5-4 decision that gave Rutgers a lead it would not relinquish for the remainder of the dual meet.

Greg Zannetti was at his lowest point Friday when he knew he would win.

The redshirt junior’s back was maybe an inch from the mat at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. His head, arched back, was the only thing keeping him from a first-period pin fall. And he had 45 seconds to fight off the ninth-ranked 174-pounder in the nation.

“I was just trying to get out,” Zannetti said, “but I knew if I got out, I could finish the match and beat him.”

Zannetti escaped from Old Dominion’s Te Edwards with one second remaining in the first period, then recorded eight takedowns in the final two periods en route to a tech fall that secured the Rutgers wrestling team’s 20-13 dual meet victory.

He earned near fall points in the second period. He forced Edwards into two stalling calls. And when he chose to start down after Edwards’ injury time, he reversed him.

“I just tried to keep scoring,” Zannetti said. “That’s my mindset always — just keep scoring and scoring. I don’t know when he broke, but I just kept going.”

The 16th-ranked Zannetti broke Edwards to the point that it was initially unclear whether Zannetti earned a 15-point lead and 5-point technical fall or if the match ended with a 6-point injury default.

It was a tech fall, but Edwards could barely stand to shake Zannetti’s hand at the middle of the mat and he collapsed behind the Old Dominion bench moments after.

“He completely broke that dude,” said junior Scott Winston. “That’s exactly what coach is trying to get us to do, and against a ranked kid, Greg did a great job. He’s kicking kids’ heads in right now.”

Head coach Scott Goodale expected the same out of Winston in his bout against sophomore Tristan Warner, but Winston won by a 5-4 decision.

ODU’s 15th-ranked John Nicholson earned a major decision against redshirt freshman Anthony Volpe in their 157-pound bout, giving ODU a 10-9 lead.

Nicholson took down Volpe seven times, allowing him to escape each time before taking him down again. When Winston took the mat for the following bout, Goodale told him, “Match it.”

“That’s exactly what an upperclassmen should do to a freshman, what we saw Nicholson do to Volpe,” Goodale said. “Winston has to start matching it and he’s not scoring enough. It’s going to come back to haunt him if he doesn’t score enough points.”

Winston says he wanted to score more and appeared on pace when he escaped three seconds into second period, then immediately got a takedown.

He entered the final period with a 5-1 lead and the potential for a major decision, but Warner scored a reversal and rode Winston for the remainder of the bout.

“The reversal at the end of the match screwed me up a little bit,” Winston said. “I’m just trying to work and put things together, feel a little more comfortable on the mat. Every time I feel like I’m getting better. Of course I would have loved to put some bonus points on the board for the team, but I ran into some fits at the end.”

He was not the only Knight to run into fits.

Senior 141-pounder Billy Ashnault suffered an unexpected loss and was ridden for the entire second period for the second time in as many weeks.

Sophomore 125-pounder Vinny Dellefave escaped with 12 seconds remaining to narrowly pick up Rutgers’ first decision, and senior 133-pounder Mike DeMarco followed with an overtime decision courtesy of an ODU technical violation.

The decisions gave Rutgers an early lead, which fourth-ranked 149-pounder Mario Mason protected to give Rutgers a 9-6 advantage at the midway point. Volpe’s loss and Winston’s decision followed before Zannetti broke the match open.

“[Zannetti] deserves it,” Goodale said. “It’s the way he prepares on a daily basis. It’s his lifestyle. He deserves it because of his approach to the sport, and we need the other nine guys to get on board because that’s how you attain success, by doing what he does. He’s a top-10 kid, no question about it.”

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