College Wrestling: #23 Virginia drops dual to #15 Pitt

uva wrestlingIt came down to the final bout and took two tiebreak periods to determine a winner, but No. 15 Pittsburgh (10-3, 3-2 ACC) took the win on Friday night with a 20-15 victory over No. 23 Virginia (12-10, 1-4 ACC) at Memorial Gym.

Virginia won four weight classes on the evening, including bonus-point victories from junior Jack Mueller (Dallas, Texas) and redshirt freshman Cam Coy (Jeannette, Pa.). Redshirt sophomores Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) and Michael Murphy (Lookout Mountain, Tenn.) both recorded wins by decision for the Cavaliers.

“We’re building something special here,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “Jack (Mueller) said it best after the match – this is most family-oriented team with the best culture I’ve coached. We’ve had so many close duals with Nebraska, Missouri and now Pitt coming down to the last bout. Sooner or later these things will fall our way. We have to keep trusting the process. It doesn’t mean we enjoy it all the time, but we have to trust it. We’re an exciting team to watch. It’s an exciting atmosphere in Mem Gym and we owe that to the fans. It’s going to be an exciting team for years to come because we’re a young squad.”

With the Cavaliers trailing by two points in the overall score at 17-15, freshman Robert Patrick (Ligonier, Pa.) battled Pitt’s Gregg Harvey to a 1-1 draw through regulation with both wrestlers scoring on escapes. The two wrestlers battled to a 2-2 draw after the first sudden-victory period, the first round of tiebreaks and the second sudden-victory period.

After Harvey road out the first half of the second tiebreak round, Patrick allowed Harvey to his feet in the hopes of getting a takedown to grab the win. Harvey eluded the takedown, however, to secure the 3-2 decision and the dual win for the Panthers.

The dual started at 184 pounds with nationally-ranked Nino Bonaccorsi taking a major decision for the Panthers. It was the first in a stretch of five consecutive weight classes to feature a nationally-ranked wrestlers alternating between the teams.

Aiello, the 10th-ranked wrestler at 197 pounds, answered with a decision over Kellan Stout to get the Cavaliers on the board.

Pitt extended its lead with a major decision from 17th-ranked Demetrius Thomas at heavyweight, but Virginia tied things up with a tech fall from the fifth-ranked Mueller at 125 pounds. The overall score sat at 8-8 after the first four bouts.

Pitt moved back in front with a win by fifth-ranked Micky Phillippi at 133 pounds in a hard-fought match with multiple stoppages for blood time. The Panthers then followed it up with a decision at 141 pounds from L.J. Bentley to take the overall score out to 14-8.

Murphy cut into the lead again with a dominant performance at 149 pounds, getting four nearfall points and riding out the entire second and third periods on the way to a 7-2 decision over Pitt’s Dallas Bulsak.

The sixth weight class of the night to feature a nationally-ranked wrestler went the way of the Panthers as No. 10 Taleb Rahmani took an action-packed 13-9 decision over Jake Keating (Naperville, Ill.) at 157 pounds.

Coy turned in the second bonus-point victory of the night for the Cavaliers, cutting the overall lead to two points with a 12-4 major decision over Tommy O’Brien at 165 pounds. Pitt would then secure the win with the victory by Harvey in the night’s final bout.

Virginia will return to action on Saturday, March 9, when the Cavaliers send 10 wrestlers to compete at the ACC Championships hosted by Virginia Tech.

#15 Pittsburgh 20, #23 Virginia 15

184: No. 11 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) major dec. Will Schany, 12-3 – Pitt 4, UVA 0

197: No. 10 Jay Aiello dec. Kellan Stout (Pitt), 3-1 – Pitt 4, UVA 3

HWT: No. 17 Demetrius Thomas (Pitt) major dec. Tyler Love, 21-10 – Pitt 8, UVA 3

125: No. 5 Jack Mueller tech fall Brendan Fenton (Pitt), 18-2 (3:49) – UVA 8, Pitt 8

133: No. 5 Micky Phillippi (Pitt) dec. Louie Hayes, 6-1 – Pitt 11, UVA 8

141: L.J. Bentley (Pitt) dec. Scott Kiyono, 7-4 – Pitt 14, UVA 8

149: Michael Murphy dec. Dallas Bulsak (Pitt), 7-2 – Pitt 14, UVA 11

157: No. 10 Taleb Rahmani (Pitt) dec. Jake Keating, 13-9 – Pitt 17, UVA 11

165: Cam Coy major dec. Tommy O’Brien (Pitt), 12-4 – Pitt 17, UVA 15

174: Gregg Harvey (Pitt) dec. Robby Patrick, 3-2 (TB-2) – Pitt 20, UVA 15

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