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Top 3 duals of Rutgers' 2018-19 season

The Rutgers wrestling team's dual meet season is complete. The No. 18 Scarlet Knights finished 12-6 overall and an impressive 5-4 record in the Big Ten. 

Listed below are the three best dual meets of the season.

No. 18 Rutgers 22, No. 20 Purdue 15. On Feb.10, Rutgers took to the road to take on then No. 20 Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. While there, the Knights muscled out a 22-15 win, capturing 6 of 10 bouts and earning bonus points in two of them. The match started at 174 pounds, where  the Boilermakers' Dylan Lydy won a toss up match against redshirt sophomore Joe Grello by a score of 4-3. At 184 pounds, graduate student Nick Gravina, who had not wrestled most of the season due to injury, earned a hard fought 3-2 over Max Lyon to knot the score at 3 apiece.

After giving up a 6-point pin in the 197-pound bout, Rutgers rebounded and won the next five weight classes, including an overtime win from junior heavyweight Christian Colucci and a 4-1 decision from sophomore 125-pounder Shane Metzler. The bonus points came from No. 4 junior 133-pounder Nick Suriano and No. 1 graduate student 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault. Suriano earned a 12-4 major decision over No. 14 Ben Thornton, and Ashnault made quick work of his opponent with a first period fall. The win was the Knights’ third victory over a top-25 ranked team this season.

No. 24 Rutgers 17, No. 10 Wisconsin 16 This match on Jan. 11 was Rutgers’ first Big Ten win of the season. It also was its highest win against a ranked opponent all season long.Each team won five matches apiece with the meet tied at 16-16 after the final match at heavyweight. The Knights earned the win on criteria, outscoring Wisconsin in total match points, 56-50. 30 of the 56 total match points came from two wrestlers donning the scarlet and black singlet. 

Suriano won a 14-5 major decision, and Ashnault scored 12 points in a 12-6 victory over the Badgers.Rutgers lost two key matches that could have prevented the tie from occuring in the first place, as Gravina dropped a crucial 2-1 bout and junior 141-pounder Peter Lipari lost 8-7 after going out in front 7-4 early.

No. 18 Rutgers 19, No. 20 Princeton 18 On Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, the Knights faced an in-state rival, the Tigers. In that meet, a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup at 149 pounds was set to take place, an all-time classic. Starting at 125 pounds, Princeton’s Pat Glory worked his way to a first period fall over Metzler, putting Rutgers in an early 6-0 hole. At 133 pounds, Suriano earned himself a technical fall to narrow the gap to a 6-5 the Tigers' lead. At 141 pounds, things got interesting. Lipari is the normal starter at 141, but had been in a bit of a rough stretch. Instead, sophomore 141-pounder Michael Van Brill started and lost a critical toss up match, 8-5. Goodale later admitted that wrestling Van Brill was a mistake, and that Lipari was his guy from here on out.

 At 149 pounds, the crowd rose to its feet before the match even began. No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik of Princeton was in the building to defend his top ranking over then No. 2 Ashnault. What ensued was mayhem.

Ashnault quickly looked to open Kolodzik up, scoring the first takedown with his signature ankle pick. From there, Ashnault made it look effortless, turning Kolodzik to his back twice en route to a 10-2 major decision. The crowd nearly blew the roof off the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC).Before the match, in an interview with Flow Wrestling, the Tigers' head coach Chris Ayres said he didn’t believe Ashnault would be able to score a single point on Kolodzik. When the match ended, Ashnault stood up and held ten fingers in the air directly at Ayres. At 174 and 184, Rutgers won and lost a match in overtime, respectively. 

Grello won in sudden victory at 174, and Gravina lost a tough one at 184 pounds. After those matches, the score was 15-15 with two bouts remaining. At 197 pounds, sophomore Matt Correnti had a tough task ahead of him. He was set to take on Princeton’s then No. 3 Patrick Brucki. It was imperative that Correnti not give up any bonus points. Correnti wrestled valiantly, and lost a close 3-2 decision. That gave the Tigers a 18-15 lead with one match remaining. 

Because Princeton had more pins than the Knights, it would win the match based on criteria if it ended in a tie. That meant Colucci had to earn a major decision to secure the win for his team. And bonus points he got. Colucci went on to win the match by a score of 12-2, securing giving Rutgers a narrow 19-18 victory. 

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