The Rutgers University wrestling team continued to show Saturday night in the Garden State Grapple at the Prudential Center, Newark, that it might have the best team it has ever had.
The Scarlet Knights, ranked No. 12 in the nation, recorded dominant 35-6 and 28-9 wins over Hofstra and the University of North Carolina to improve to 8-0. North Carolina, which was defeated by Wisconsin, 20-16, in its first match of the night, is ranked No. 14 in the country.
Rutgers won 15 of the 20 bouts on the night, recorded four pins (three against Hofstra) and technical fall and major decision by Mike VanBrill.
Dylan Shawver (125), Sammy Alvarez (133), VanBrill (149), John Poznanski (184) and Greg Bulsak all won two bouts on the mat. Bulsak defeated two returning NCAA Tournament qualifiers.
Sebastian Rivera (141) also recorded two wins - a pin against Hofstra and a forfeit against North Carolina.
Poznanski halts North Carolina rally
Poznanski (184), the NCAA fourth-place finisher at 184 last season, clinched the North Carolina match with a lightning-quick pin of Mark Chaid off a Granby Roll 10 seconds into the second period.
Ahead 4-1 after the first period, Poznanski chose defense to start the second and reversed and rolled Chaid right to his back to make it 22-9 with two bouts remaining.
Poznanski's pin stopped a three-bout, nine-point run by the Tar Heels (3-4) after the Scarlet Knights (8-0) had built a 16-0 lead four bouts in.
Bulsak (197), a transfer from Clarion (Pa.), put an exclamation point on the win with an 8-2 win over returning NCAA qualifier Max Shaw.
After giving up the first takedown, Bulsak had takedowns in each of the three periods and got the riding time point.
Rutgers built the 16-0 lead as it recorded a dramatic win in the first sudden victory period No. 1, a decision at 133 and took advantage of the Tar Heels not fielding their best lineup.
North Carolina did not send out returning NCAA seventh-place finisher Zach Sherman at 149, American University transfer and 2020 NCAA qualifier Kizhan Clarke at 141 and 2020 NCAA qualifier Jaime Hernandez at 133.
Shawver (125), a freshman, began the match with a dramatic 7-5 win over Spencer Moore on a takedown at the upper right edge of with 1:10 remaining in the first sudden victory period.
Moore, who had takedowns in the first and second periods to build leads of 2-0 and 4-2, tied the bout with an escape with 23 seconds left in regulation.
Shawver had taken a 5-4 lead with a takedown with 1:19 remaining.
Alvarez (133) recorded a workmanlike 6-1 win over Joe Heilmann, Rivera (141) received a forfeit and VanBrill (149) defeated Mason Phillips by 12-1 major decision.
Alvarez, a 2020 NCAA Tournament qualifier, recorded takedowns in the first and third periods and rode Heilmann for the last 1:40 of the first period, the first 1:40 of the second period and the final 35 seconds of the match to collect the riding time point.
VanBrill had two takedowns in the first period, a reversal and a takedown in the second period. He got a riding time at the end of the bout.
North Carolina then won the next three bouts from 157-174 to close within 16-9 with three bouts remaining.
Austin O'Connor (157), who became North Carolina's first national champion since 1995 by winning last year's 149-pound title, got the Tar Heels on the board with a 12-6 win over Robert Kanniard.
Kanniard had the first takedown in the first period and the last takedown in the final seconds of the bout. The second takedown took away a major decision.
O'Connor had a takedown late in the first period, pulled away when he turned Kanniard for four back points early in the second period, had two takedowns in the third period and got the riding time point at the end of the bout.
Clay Lautt capped the Tar Heels' run with a 4-0 win over freshman Connor O'Neill at 174 as the Scarlet Knights' returning NCAA eighth-place finisher Jackson Turley continues to nurse an injury that has seen him wrestle just once in the first eight matches.
Poznanski then ended any remaining suspense.
23-0 start against Hofstra
Against Hofstra (0-2), the Scarlet Knights won the first five bouts to build a 23-0 lead. They received pins from Alvarez (133), Rivera (141) and O'Neill (174) and a technical fall from VanBrill (149).
The Scarlet Knights won eight of the 10 bouts, including two wins over returning NCAA qualifiers.
Alvarez cradled Matt Templeton for a pin in the first minute.
Rivera, a three-time NCAA top six finisher and four-time All-American Rivera (141) built a 10-3 lead over Justin Hoyle before he pinned him with 21 seconds left in the first period.
VanBrill put on a tilt clinic before he recorded a technical fall in the second period over Mike Leandrou.
O'Neill, a freshman, recorded his pin of Ericen Velesquez off a quick tilt in the first minute.
Poznanski and Bulsa defeated returning NCAA qualifiers Charles Small and Rogers respectively.
Bulsak's 8-3 win was a rematch of his 10-1 major decision win over Rogers in last year's NCAA Tournament.
Shawver recorded a dominant 8-1 win and freshman Al DeSantis (157) was solid in an 8-2 win.
Rutgers 28, North Carolina 9
125: Dylan Shawver (R) d. Spencer Moore 7-5 (sudden victory period No. 1).
133: Sammy Alvarez (R) d. Joe Heilmann 6-1.
141: Sebastian Rivera (R) by forfeit.
149: Mike VanBrill (R) md. Mason Phillips 12-1
157: Austin O'Connor (UNC) d. Robert Kanniard 12-6
165: Joey Mazzara (UNC) d. Andrew Clark 7-3.
174: Clay Lautt (UNC) d. Connor O'Neill 4-0.
184: John Poznanski (R) p. Mark Chaid 3:10.
197: Greg Bulsak (R) d. Max Shaw 8-2
HWT: Boone McDermott (R) d. Brandon Whitman 9-3.
Rutgers 35, Hofstra 6
125: Dylan Shawver (R) d. Jacob Moon 8-1.
133: Sammy Alvarez (R) p. Matt Templeton: 52.
141: Sebastian Rivera (R) p.. Justin Hoyle 2:39.
149: Mike VanBrill (R) tf. Mike Leandrou 4:16 (17-0).
157: Al DeSantis (R) d. Joe McGinty 8-2.
165: Ricky Stamm (H) d. Andrew Clark 4-3.
174: Connor O'Neill (R) p. Ericsen Velasquez
184: John Poznanski (R) d. Charles Small 8-2.
197: Greg Bulsak (R) d. Trey Rogers 8-3.
HWT: Zachary Knighton-Ward (H) d. Boone McDermott 6-1.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Rutgers wrestling defeats Hofstra, North Carolina at Garden State Grapple