Wrestling: #23 UVA splits at Journeymen Duals Saturday

uva athletics#23 UVA (3-1) split action in a pair of duals on Saturday, shutting out LIU (1-4) before falling in the afternoon finale against No. 8 Arizona State (1-0) at the Journeymen Duals.

The Cavaliers defeated the Sharks of LIU by a score of 49-0 in the first dual before falling 27-12 to the eighth-ranked Sun Devils.

Junior Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.), freshman Justin McCoy (New Paris, Pa.) and sophomore Denton Spencer (Waverly, Ga.) went undefeated on the day to help lead the Cavaliers in competition. As part of their day, both Spencer and McCoy picked up wins over nationally-ranked opponents in the dual with the Sun Devils as Spencer pinned No. 17 Josh Maruca before McCoy followed it up with a decision over No. 17 Jacori Teemer.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “Obviously, we wanted to win that last match, but we saw some really good things in that dual. Denton (Spencer) and Justin (McCoy) both knocked off nationally-ranked guys and Quinn (Miller) was really close to knocking off a top-three opponent. Louie (Hayes) and Brian (Courtney) were right there down to the wire. We need to tighten up some things, but our kids believe in each other and believe in themselves, so that is a scary combination. God willing, we will continue to grow and improve. I really like this team, though.”

In the first dual against LIU, Virginia won all 10 weight classes, including six of them by fall on the way to the sweep.

Patrick McCormick (Poquoson, Va.) started things off with a decision at 125 pounds for the Cavaliers in the dual with the Sharks. Sophomore Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.), who is ranked No. 16 at 133 pounds, recorded the first of four consecutive pins for Virginia. Brian Courtney (Sayre, Pa.), Spencer and McCoy followed Hayes’ pin with pins of their own.

Sam Martino (Colonial Heights , Va.) then posted a major decision at 165 pounds before Victor Marcelli (Massillon, Ohio) and Tyler Love (Clifton, Va.) would each win by decision. Aiello then posted the fifth pin of the day for Virginia before Quinn Miller (Lilburn, Ga.) would close the dual with his own pin.

The second dual of the day featured a battle of nationally-ranked teams as the Cavaliers squared off against the Sun Devils.

Arizona State won the first three weight classes to take a nine-point lead in the overall score. Virginia would fight back as Spencer picked up his pin at 149 pounds and McCoy fought his way to a decision to even the dual score at the halfway point.

The Sun Devils pulled away down the stretch as Arizona State put four top-10 wrestlers on the mat in the final five weight classes – including the nation’s top-ranked wrestler and two-time NCAA Champion in Zahid Valencia at 184 pounds. Arizona State got a pair of pins in that stretch to put the dual out of reach.

Aiello added the final three points of the dual with a 6-3 decision at 197 pounds, while Miller came close to posting an upset of second-ranked Tanner Hall at heavyweight. Hall used a takedown with seconds remaining in the third period to take the 3-1 decision from Miller.

Virginia will return to action at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia, Pa., on Sunday, Nov. 24.

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