NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Rutgers University wrestling team used its senior leadership to register a 23-12 victory over the University of Maryland on Saturday night at the College Avenue Gymnasium. The Scarlet Knights evened their record at 1-1 in dual action, while the Terrapins fell to 0-1 on the season. The victory is the third-straight for Rutgers over Maryland.
Down 12-6 with through six matches, Rutgers took the final four bouts to take the victory over Maryland as seniors Andy Roy (Wall, NJ), Chris Ressa (Andover, NJ) and John Foscolo (South Plainfield, NJ) won three consecutive matches at 174, 184 and 197 pounds respectively to take a 17-12 lead. A Terrapin forfeit gave John Slevin (Montclair, NJ) the uncontested win at heavyweight to complete the 23-12 win.
Roy, ranked sixth nationally at 174 pounds, pulled the Scarlet Knights within two points at 12-10 with an 11-2 major decision over Maryland’s Rob Parker. Roy is now 5-0 on the season with three major decisions.
Ressa then gave Rutgers its first lead of the match (13-12) with a 5-2 victory over Mark Eberstein at 184 pounds. Leading 3-2 late, Ressa registered a two-point takedown, making an acrobatic maneuver to keep Eberstein on the mat for the points. He now has a team-best seven victories this season.
Foscolo posted a 10-0 major decision over Maryland’s Dan Gargas at 197 pounds to give Rutgers a 17-12 advantage.
“These were two young teams, but our seniors won the match for us tonight,” said Rutgers head coach John Sacchi. “Maryland won the battle of young guys, but Andy Roy, Chris Ressa and John Foscolo lifted us to victory. Mike Ferrara had a dramatic win and Gene Zannetti continues to produce for us. I am very pleased with our team’s performance.”
In the evening’s opening match, sophomore Dan Hilt (Manalapan, NJ) dropped a hard-fought, 4-3 decision to Maryland’s Jeff Oldham at 125 pounds.
The Terps took a 6-0 lead after Maryland’s Sean Carr posted a 7-3 decision against red-shirt freshman Ryan Jablonski (Norristown, PA) at 133 pounds.
Sophomore Steve Adamcsik (Chester, NJ) wrestled evenly with Andrew Schlaffer of Maryland at 141 pounds, trailing by just two points with less than 20 seconds remaining in the final period, but Schlaffer registered three points at the end to take a 5-0 victory.
In the most exciting match of the evening, sophomore Mike Ferrara (Effort, PA) and Maryland’s Jerad Villecco found themselves locked in a tight battle the entire match with the pair tied at 4-4 heading into the final seconds of the bout at 149 pounds. Ferrara executed a two-point take-down as time expired to take the match, igniting a loud cheer from the several hundred fans in attendance at the College Avenue Gymnasium.
Red-shirt freshman Gene Zannetti (Edison, NJ) opened the 157-pound bout with a two-point takedown of the Terrapins’ Adam James and never looked back. Leading 6-5 with a minute remaining in the final period, Zannetti recorded another two-point takedown to post a 9-5 victory with riding time to pull the Scarlet Knights within three points at 9-6. Zannetti now has six victories this season.
The Terrapins opened the lead back up to six points after MD’s Jason Kiessling decisioned RU’s Joe Sacco, 5-2 at 165 pounds, but that was the final bout Maryland would win in the match.
Rutgers will take a two-week break from competition during the University’s exam period, returning to action at the Wilkes Open Dec. 28, while selected individuals will participate at the Midlands Invitational Dec. 29-30.
Rutgers 23, Maryland 12
125 – Jeff Oldham (MD) dec. Dan Hilt (RU), 4-3
133 – Sean Carr (MD) dec. Ryan Jablonski (RU), 7-3
141 – Andrew Schlaffer (MD) dec. Steve Adamcsik (RU), 5-0
149 – Mike Ferrara (RU) dec. Jerad Villecco (MD), 6-4
157 – Gene Zannetti (RU) dec. Adam James (MD), 9-5
165 – Jason Kiessling (MD) dec. Joe Sacco (RU), 5-2
174 – Andy Roy (RU) maj. dec. Rob Parker (MD), 11-2
184 – Chris Ressa (RU) dec. Mark Eberstein (MD), 5-2
197 – John Foscolo (RU) maj. dec. Dan Gargas (MD), 10-0
285 – John Slevin (RU) won by forfeit