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Rutgers gets back to win column with 18-17 victory over UNC

After a three-game slide against some top competition, the Rutgers wrestling team will not be jumping for joy anytime soon, even after its win over North Carolina on Friday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). Still, it was nice to see the No. 17 Scarlet Knights (4-3, 1-2) get off the Schneider and back in the win column.

With the win, Rutgers claimed its first dual victory inside the RAC this season, when it narrowly escaped the No. 24 Tar Heels (6-8, 0-0) by a score of 18-17 in front of 3,511 fans, giving it a 2-2 record at home. Prior to Friday night, the only home win for the Knights came in the home opener against Maryland at High Point Solutions Stadium. 

But the victory came at the last second literally as both teams were tied 17-17 after 10 rounds. Rutgers eventually pulled out the win 69-65 based on criterion 3.15.3, which adds the total match points scored only from decisions, major decisions and technical falls.

“We thought it would be a five-five split, and sure enough it was,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “They were probably favored at 41, and we were probably favored at 84, so that’s why you wrestle the matches. Anything can happen. We pulled out a good team win and one we needed.”

Goodale was talking about redshirt freshman 141-pounder Michael Van Brill, who added 7 points to the team’s match total by upsetting UNC’s No. 17 A.C. Headlee 7-5. 

The Knights also received wins from No. 2 sophomore 125-pounder Nick Suriano, No. 16 fifth-year senior 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio, No. 12 fifth-year senior 165-pounder Richie Lewis and redshirt freshman 174-pounder Joseph Grello.

Despite the recent rough patch before the win, Goodale was encouraged with what he saw out of his team and is hoping this is a sign of things to come as Hofstra rolls into the RAC Friday night.

“Somebody always has a tough bout, so yeah, it's building for March,” Goodale said. “But it's also good to get out of here with wins. It is important, because you get back in the practice room on Monday and you are coming off a win and not a loss. I just think that's what we're doing and what we're preaching to these guys.”

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

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