December 2, 2016
Page 11 WRESTLING JOURNEYMEN TUSSLE, SUNDAY, ALL DAY
Knights look to rebound in Hofstra this weekend Jon Spilletti Staff Writer
Rebounding is not just restricted to basketball. In every sport, teams have to bounce back from adversity in order to prosper, and the same goes for the Rutgers wrestling team. After a 28-10 loss to No. 8 Cornell at last weekend’s Grapple at the Garden at Madison Square Garden, the No. 12 Scarlet Knights (5-1) look to redeem themselves on Sunday at the 2016 Journeymen Tussle at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Going from Manhattan to Long Island, the Knights will participate in the round-robin event, doing battle with any of North Carolina State, Penn, Brown, Campbell, Citadel and the hosting Pride. Rutgers stands as the only ranked team involved in Sunday’s all-day affair, but that does not necessarily rule out the other programs. Especially with the likes of NC State and Penn, the event poses a significant challenge to head coach Scott Goodale’s squad. “NC State, nationally ranked program, really, really deep,” Goodale said. “Every kid they’re going to put out is going to very talented. Very, very tough team. UPenn is a very, very tough team. Hofstra’s getting better. I don’t know much about Brown. Campbell’s getting better.” Above the team measures, Goodale also hopes that this weekend bodes some compelling individual matchups. “There will be some really key individual matchups as far as national rankings go with an opportunity to get our guys some national recognition, that’s what you want,” Goodale said. Outside of the Knights’ roster, there will be seven ranked wrestlers competing Sunday. One of the most anticipated potential battles for Sunday is junior 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault squaring off with NC State junior Kevin Jack. Ashnault and Jack are jockeying for position in the rankings, at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively,
Junior 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault could potentially find himself wrestling in a top-10 matchup on Saturday against NC State junior Kevin Jack. DIMITRI RODRIGUEZ / PHOTO EDITOR / NOVEMBER 2016 which would spell an impactful re- of duels possibly in the books, the lineup is going to be, a lot of is the coach will most likely employ going to shake out probably over sult if the two were to wrestle. Ashnault and Jack have only a rotational side at some aspects this tournament and the Midlands wrestled once before. In the of the bouts, in order to keep his tournament over winter break.” third-place match at the Midlands guys fresh. And though rotations may come But lately, Goodale has said that into play against lesser opponents, Championships last season, Jack served Ashnault his first loss of the lineup is far from set in stone, one guy who will almost surely as competition between same- factor into play on Sunday will be the season after starting out 17-0. “I’m just looking forward to it, weight wrestlers has left him with senior 149-pounder Ken Theobold. I’m looking At No. 10 with forward to a 6-0 record so improve, esfar this season, pecially since Theobold’s suc“This early in the season, (the Journeyman Tussle) is a cess has come I lost to him really good tournament for us.” last year,” on the other side Ashnault of a redshirt SCOTT GOODALE said. “I really season, a time Head Coach wanna make in which tranit something sitioning from personal for unattached play me because I to attached play lost to him, and I want to be able a few tough decisions to make. could take time to manage. “The good thing about this to beat him. And get back on top, “I’ve just been consistently doget under his skin to make him weekend, in a tournament-type ing hard work every day,” Theoknow that I’m the better wrestler.” situation, is we’ll be able to wres- bold said. “I came off my redshirt The other matchups all depend tle more than one guy at a weight,” year expecting a lot and having on how concrete Goodale’s lineup Goodale said. “A lot of our issues high expectations for myself. is for this Sunday. With a couple with who’s going where and what So therefore, I’m happy with my
performance right now. I’m looking forward to moving on and beating better ranked opponents.” And in the same light as Ashnault, if Rutgers were to go up against NC State this Sunday, Theobold would meet senior Sam Speno on the mat. Six spots below at No. 16, it would be Theobold’s third ranked bout of the season so far, after defeating then-No. 19 Jordan Laster of Princeton at the Battle at the Birthplace and then-No. 19 Joey Galasso of Cornell at the Grapple at the Garden. Other ranked competitors that could spell trouble for the Knights include Campbell’s 125-pounder Nathan Kraisser, Penn’s 133-pounder Caleb Richardson, NC State’s 157-pounder Max Rohskopf, NC State’s 184-pounder Michael Macchiavello and Penn’s 197-pounder Frank Mattiace. From those, potential matchups could see No. 6 Richie Lewis against No. 4 Rohskopf, pending Lewis’ status, after Goodale mentioned over the weekend that Lewis is battling some injuries and does not want to rush him back before Big Ten action. No. 14 Nicholas Gravina and No. 18 Macchiavello could also do battle Sunday, which could pose as redemption for Gravina after an up-and-down day last weekend in Manhattan. Gravina scored a fall in under a minute in the duel against Columbia, but lost handily to No. 1 Gabe Dean of Cornell soon after. For Goodale’s group, a lot can happen over the course of a multi-duel event, and a lot of the questions regarding the lineup and the overall status of the team will be in clearer view come Monday. It’s the reason these tournaments stack up toward the early season, and for Goodale, it could not have come at a better time. “It’s a good tournament for us,” Goodale said. “This early in the season, it’s a really good tournament for us.” For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @ jon_spilletti and @TargumSports on Twitter.
BEARS Knights have yet to lose game at home, outscoring opponents by 11.6 on average continued from back Morgan State ranks 333 of 351 Division I teams on KenPom.com. It’s only two wins came against Division II Wilmington (Del.) and Campbell, a Big South program ranked 11 spots above the Bears at 322. The Bears depend heavily on junior point guard Tiwian Kendley, who handles the ball on more than a third of their possession, according to KenPom. He leads the team in scoring with 19.7 points per game. None of it — the record or the stats — matters to Pikiell, who tells his players to ignore records, both theirs and the opponents. He said he’s a big film guy, building his assessment of opponents from watching them play rather than looking at the numbers without context. Playing with a record in mind leads to performances like the one
they had against Hartford, said sophomore guard Corey Sanders. The goal is in playing with humility, said junior guard Mike Williams. “We gotta go out there and play like we’re down,” he said. “Like we’re the underdogs.” So when the Bears come to town, they won’t be a 2-5 team in the bottom 25 of Division I basketball entering a gym that the home team has yet to lose in this season. To the Knights, who would equal last season’s win total if they win on Saturday, but Morgan State presents as difficult a challenge as Miami presented three days earlier. “You gotta play hungry,” Pikiell said. “Every game is a different challenge.” For updates on the Rutgers men’s basketball team, follow @briannnnf and @TargumSports on Twitter.
Graduate transfer center C.J. Gettys said the crowd played a big role in Rutgers’ 13 point comeback against Hartford in its most recent home game. DIMITRI RODRIGUEZ / PHOTO EDITOR / NOVEMBER 2016
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