Gophers Snap Skid

Minnesota broke a four-dual losing streak with a win over Rutgers.

Owen Mageau

  

The No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6, 3-4 Big Ten) snapped their four-dual losing streak by defeating Rutgers (6-7, 2-6 Big Ten) 20-12 Friday evening in New Brunswick, N.J. The win was Minnesota’s first road win of the Big Ten schedule this season. 

The Gophers won six of the 10 matches Friday. 

“There was really good intensity by all ten guys that went out there,” head coach Brandon Eggum said. “I think that’s really important especially when we’re coming down to the end of the season.”

Minnesota got off to a hot start and built a 14-0 lead before Rutgers was able to put points on the board. In the first match of the evening, HWT Rylee Streifel won a 2-0 decision to put Minnesota ahead 3-0. Ethan Lizak added to the lead when he earned a 16-0 technical fall at 125. Mitch McKee and Tommy Thorn both won decisions at 133 and 141 respectively. 

The most impressive performance by a Gopher may have come in a match that didn’t end with a Gopher victory. At 149, Miles Patton was competing in his first Big Ten dual of his career and his first dual since Nov. 21, 2015 against Air Force. Patton battled No. 11 Eleazar Deluca to a narrow 6-4 defeat. Patton had held a 4-3 lead with just over a minute to go in the match. The effort Patton put forth, left a good impression on his coach. 

“At 149, with Miles Patton filling in, I thought he did a great job and almost got a big upset,” Eggum said. 

Minnesota also got victories from Jake Short and Dylan Anderson. Short won a 4-3 decision at 157 and Anderson won an 11-4 decision at 197 in the last match of the dual. The Gophers who came up short were Patton, Nick Wanzek at 165, Chris Pfarr at 174 and Brandon Krone at 184. No. 8 Wanzek lost a very close decision to No. 11 Richie Lewis. He fell 3-1 due to a takedown in the last minute of the match. Pfarr lost a 12-7 decision and Krone lost a 7-1 decision. 

The Gophers were still missing numerous starters; however, one of them may be getting closer to a return. Steve Bleise traveled with team, but they held him out of the Rutgers dual because he wasn’t ready. It’s possible that he will be ready when Minnesota returns to action. 

Minnesota is back in action on Sunday when they face Maryland at 1 p.m. They will hope to string back to back victories together for the first time since Dec. 10 and Jan. 7 when they defeated Fresno State and Michigan State. For that to happen, the Gophers need the same intensity that they brought against Rutgers.