The No. 15 Virginia wrestling team used bonus points at three weight classes to defeat No. 8 Virginia Tech, 19-16, Sunday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena. The Hokies are the highest-ranked opponent the Cavaliers (6-1, 1-0) have defeated in program history.
The win snapped the Cavaliers’ eight-match losing streak to Virginia Tech. Virginia last topped Virginia Tech 25-9 on Jan. 28, 2007, in Blacksburg. Prior to Sunday, the highest-ranked team Virginia had defeated was then-No. 9 Central Michigan on Jan. 12, 2013.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Virginia head coach Steve Garland said of the win. “We’ve had some close ones and we’ve had some not so close ones. It feels good to get that one. We have a full season still ahead of us, but it’s great for confidence and for the reward of working and the feeling of family.”
The Hokies got off to a good start when 20th-ranked Joey Dance outlasted Nick Herrmann, 5-3, at 125 pounds. Virginia bounced back to tie the dual when Joseph Martinez downed Dennis Gustafson, 12-6, at 133 pounds.
In the first of three matches between ranked wrestlers, third-ranked Devin Carter scored a 16-6 major decision over 12th-ranked Joe Spisak.
Virginia then won the next four bouts to take a commanding 19-7 lead. Ranked 13th nationally, Gus Sako started the run with a 5-2 upset win over All-American Zach Neibert, who is ranked as high as ninth nationally.
Blaise Butler then scored the key points of the day for Virginia, as he turned and put Sal Mastriani on his back and then pinned him in the middle of the second period, sending the UVa crowd into a frenzy and giving the Cavaliers a lead they would never relinquish, 12-7.
Ranked fourth nationally at 165 pounds, All-American Nick Sulzer pushed his record to 6-0 with a 20-8 domination of No. 19 Chris Moon. Sulzer continued to obliterate the competition; he has scored bonus points in all six of his matches this season.
No. 16 Stephen Doty pushed the team lead to 19-7 with his 4-1 decision over Austin Gabel at 174 pounds. Doty improved to 7-0 on the young season.
The Hokies won the final three bouts, all in narrow decisions, to close to within 19-16. Nick Vetterlein scored an upset win over ninth-ranked Jon Fausey at 184 pounds with a 4-3 victory. UVa’s Zach Nye dropped a 5-3 decision to Virginia Tech’s Chris Penny before Ethan Hayes fell 9-7 to No. 14 Ty Walz at heavyweight.
Virginia heads to the Northeast Duals next Saturday (Nov. 30) in Albany, N.Y. The Cavaliers will wrestle Clarion, Lehigh and Rutgers.
No. 15 Virginia 19, No. 8 Virginia Tech 16
125: No. 20/20 Joey Dance (VT) dec. Nick Herrmann (UVa), 5-3; VT 3-0
133: Joseph Martinez (UVa) dec. Dennis Gustafson (VT), 12-6; 3-3
141: No. 3/3 Devin Carter (VT) major dec. No. 12/15 Joe Spisak (UVa), 16-6; VT 7-3
149: No. 13/14 Gus Sako (UVa) dec. No. 9/10 Zach Neibert (VT), 5-2; VT 7-6
157: Blaise Butler (UVa) pinned Sal Mastriani (VT), 4:11; UVa 12-7
165: No. 4/4 Nick Sulzer (UVa) major dec. No. 19/17 Chris Moon (VT), 20-8; UVa 16-7
174: No. 16/12 Stephen Doty (UVa) dec. Austin Gabel (VT), 4-1; UVa 19-7
184: Nick Vetterlein (VT) dec. No. 9/12 Jon Fausey (UVa), 4-3; UVa 19-10
197: Chris Penny (VT) dec. Zach Nye (UVa), 5-3; UVa 19-13
285: No. 14/13 Ty Walz (VT) dec. Ethan Hayes (UVa), 9-7; UVa 19-16