College wrestling: UVA downs West Virginia, No. 22 Utah Valley to open South Beach Duals

uva wrestlingThe UVA wrestling team (6-4) opened the South Beach Duals with a pair of strong performances on Saturday, posting wins over West Virginia (1-6) and No. 22 Utah Valley (6-3). It was the first day of a two-day event for the Cavaliers.

Virginia defeated the Mountaineers 26-13 in the first dual of the day before coming right back to the mat for a 26-19 win over nationally-ranked Utah Valley.

The Cavaliers got four wins by pinfall on the afternoon, including two pins from junior Jack Mueller (Dallas, Texas), and pins from sophomores Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.) and Sam Martino (Colonial Heights, Va.). Sophomore Jake Keating (Naperville, Ill.) also turned in two tech falls to help power Virginia to the pair of victories. Sophomore Jay Aiello(Chantilly, Va.) also went undefeated on the day, including a critical win over No. 13 Tanner Orndorff of Utah Valley.

Virginia will return to action on Sunday, closing out the South Beach Duals with matches against SIU-Edwardsville and No. 21 Lehigh. The duals will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

“We’ve been knocking on the door for two years now and we’ve come so close in so many duals, it feels good for our guys to pull that one out today (vs. No. 22 Utah Valley),” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “Utah Valley has been beating ranked teams all year. They are tough and well coached. We knew it would be a scrappy dual and it was. We had a lot of heroes today and bonus-points were the difference. Jack, Louie, Sam and Jake started us strong and then Jay (Aiello) iced the dual for us with a gritty win over a top 13 ranked opponent. Today was huge for our program and I’m proud of our guys.”

Mueller, the fifth-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, got Virginia off to a strong start in both duals of the day with pins in each match. Against West Virginia, Mueller got the pin in the first period before the Mountaineers would sandwich a pair of decisions around a decision from junior Sam Krivus (Greensburg, Pa.), who is ranked No. 17 at 141 pounds.

At 157 pounds, Keating then turned in his first tech fall of the day to open up the gap in the overall score to 14-7 in favor of the Hoos. Following a decision by West Virginia at 165 pounds, the Cavaliers rattled off three straight wins from freshman Robby Patrick (Ligonier, Pa.) at 174 pounds, senior Chance McClure (Commerce, Ga.) at 184 pounds and seventh-ranked Aiello at 197 pounds to secure the win over the Mountaineers.

Virginia shot out of the gates in the dual with the Wolverines of Utah Valley, getting back-to-back pins from Mueller and Hayes to start the competition. A win for Utah Valley in a matchup of top-15 wrestlers at 141 pounds got the Wolverines on the board, but the pin from Martino and another tech fall from Keating pushed Virginia out to a 23-3 lead in the dual.

Utah Valley would cut into the lead with three straight wins at 165 pounds, 174 pounds and 184 pounds, but Aiello would then lock up the victory with an 8-6 decision in sudden victory over No. 13 Tanner Orndorff.

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