Joey Olivieri impresses in loss

It was, for the most part, a dismal weekend for the Rutgers University wrestling team as it opened its Big Ten Conference schedule with two losses.

But one bright spot came in the performance of Joey Olivieri as a sophomore at 141 pounds. He won both fights, including Sunday’s 27-12 loss to the Scarlet Knights at Ohio State.

Olivieri wanted to switch to redshirt this season, but that changed the week after Sammy Alvarez, who was the 141-pound starter for the first two months of the season, entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Prior to entering the portal, Alvarez neither weighed in nor attended the Jan. 8 Scarlet Knights match at The Rider due to “discipline issues with his weight,” Rutgers coach Scott Goodale said. It was the third straight season Alvarez had weight problems.

For the second straight season, Olivieri was stripped of his red shirt after Alvarez struggled with his weight. Last year it also came in early January but at 133 pounds. Olivieri went on to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Olivieri capped his weekend with a 2-1 win over Ohio State’s two-time NCAA qualifier Dylan D’Emilio in the No. 1 tiebreak stage.

Joey Olivieri (right), seen February 6 with Ohio State's Brady Koontz, was a bright spot for the Rutgers University wrestling team during a tough weekend for the Scarlet Knights early in their Big Ten conference

On Friday night, Olivieri defeated Indiana’s Cayden Rooks 15-2 in Rutgers’ 24-16 loss.

On Sunday, Olivieri D’Emilio, 16th nationally, rode in the first part of the tiebreak phase. D’Emilio then let go of Olivieri early in the second part of the tiebreak period but couldn’t get close to a takedown.

A successful tackle from the Rutgers coaching staff allowed the game to go into overtime after officials initially missed D’Emilio a takdown with 23 seconds left, although Olivieri still had control of the leg.