January 29, 2010
Hokies fall to No. 7 Chippewas, 21-17
Stephens, Epperly pull off upsets
(7) Central Michigan 21
(15) Virginia Tech17

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech wrestling team put up a tremendous fight against the seventh-ranked Chippewas of Central Michigan, but a late lead was erased as CMU came back to beat the Hokies 21-17 Friday night in front of 961 fans at Cassell Coliseum. Tech got a pair of impressive upsets, but the Chippewas used bonus points in the last two matches to pull off the win.

Things got rolling at 125 pounds with a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers in No. 9 Matt Steintrager of CMU and Tech’s 14th-ranked Jarrod Garnett. Steintrager dominated from the beginning, picking up a takedown in each of the first two periods en route to a 7-4 decision. Garnett’s lone offensive score was a reversal picked up midway through the third period. Steintrager was docked for a pair of stall warnings, but it wasn’t enough for Garnett as the Chippewas jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

Central Michigan picked up bonus points at 133 pounds when ninth-ranked Scotti Sentes earned a major decision with a 13-0 victory over Brock LiVorio. At 141 pounds, 10th-ranked Chris Diaz of Tech used an early takedown and back points and then held off a late charge from Conor Beebe to win 7-4.

At 149 pounds, Tech’s Brian Stephens picked up a huge win over 11th-ranked Tony D’Alie of CMU. Trailing 3-0 in the second period, Stephens used a pair of takedowns to tie up the match and then in the third period used a takedown and three near fall points to cap a 9-0 run. A late takedown by Stephens completed the 12-7 upset for the true freshman from Piqua, Ohio.

At 157 pounds, fourth-ranked Jesse Dong was methodical in picking up a 10-0 major decision over Donnie Corby to give the Hokies a 10-7 team lead. Central Michigan sent 17th-ranked Tyler Grayson to the mat at 165 pounds, but it was unranked Matt Epperly who came away with the big win. Epperly got a takedown late in the first period and one more in the second stanza and did enough in the third to pick up the 6-3 decision.

Taylor Knapp bumped up two weight classes to 174 pounds for the Hokies, but 10th-ranked Ben Bennett was too much in picking up a 10-0 major decision to make it 13-11 in favor of Tech. Tommy Spellman, ranked 19th in the country, cruised past Dillon Kern at 184 pounds with a 13-2 major decision. That gave the Hokies a 17-11 lead with two matches left. Eric Simaz downed Chris Penny with an 8-0 major decision at 197 pounds and then third-ranked Jarod Trice picked up a forfeit win at the heavyweight class to complete the Chippewa comeback.

In the high school match proceeding Tech’s match, No. 1 Christiansburg High downed No. 2 Grundy High, 37-27, in a battle of the top two Virginia Group AA teams.

With Sunday’s match against Duke postponed until Feb. 12, the 15th-ranked Hokies (14-4) will not return to action until next weekend. On Friday, Tech will take on No. 8 Lehigh in Pennsylvania and will then face No. 11 Maryland on Saturday in College Park in ACC action.

#7 Central Michigan (11-2) 21, #15 Virginia Tech (14-3) 17
125: #9 Matt Steintrager (CMU) dec. #14 Jarrod Garnett, 7-4
133: #9 Scotti Sentes (CMU) maj. dec. Brock LiVorio, 13-0
141: #10 Chris Diaz (VT) dec. Conor Beebe, 7-4
149: Brian Stephens (VT) dec. #11 Tony D'Alie, 12-7
157: #4 Jesse Dong (VT) maj. dec. Donnie Corby, 10-0
165: Matt Epperly (VT) dec. #17 Tyler Grayson, 6-3
174: #10 Ben Bennett (CMU) maj. dec. Taylor Knapp, 10-0
184: #19 Tommy Spellman (VT) maj. dec. Dillon Kern, 13-2
197: Eric Simaz (CMU) maj. dec. Chris Penny, 8-0
285: #3 Jarod Trice (CMU) wins by forfeit

For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).

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