CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Facing a hostile crowd and a loud environment, the 15th-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team won the last two matches to come back and beat 22nd-ranked Virginia 18-13 Sunday in a wild dual meet at John Paul Jones Arena. It was the first dual meet at JPJ and the intensity and excitement more than lived up to the billing.
The action was wild from the beginning as Tech’s Ty Mitch led No. 9 Matt Snyder for most of regulation, but got ridden out for the third period to give Snyder the riding time point. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Snyder got a pair of escapes and held off a late surge by Mitch to hold on for the 9-8 victory in the tiebreaker. At 133 pounds, seventh-ranked Devin Carter took care of business with an 11-5 win over a scrappy Matt Nelson to tie it up.
Eighteenth-ranked Nick Nelson of Virginia earned an 10-5 win over Zach Neibert at 141 pounds and then UVa’s Shawn Harris held off several late scrambles to beat Chris Mears, 5-3, at 149 pounds. The Hokies got three points back when Jesse Dong, ranked fifth in the country at 157 pounds, scored eight unanswered points to beat Jedd Moore, 8-2. Pete Yates, ranked 14th in the country at 165 pounds, picked up a workmanlike 8-2 win over Nick Sulzer to tie the match up at 9-9 with four bouts left.
Tech took the lead when Chris Moon won a swing match with Billy Coggins at 174 pounds, picking up a pair of takedowns in the 5-1 win. Virginia took the lead back when 14th-ranked Jon Fausey earned an 11-3 major decision over John Dickson at 184 pounds to bring the crowd back into it.
With two bouts left, 16th-ranked Nick Vetterlein got a key takedown in the first period and held on for a 5-3 win over Ryan Malo at 197 pounds to give the Hokies the 15-13 lead with just one match left.
It then all came down to the heavyweights: Chris Penny for Tech and Ethan Hayes for Virginia. Penny, who was scheduled to redshirt this year but had to wrestle because of injury, got a takedown in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. Tied at 2-2 heading to the third period, Hayes turned Penny to his back for two nearfall points, but Penny escaped to cut it to a 4-3 lead for Hayes. With the crowd in a frenzy, Penny got a takedown on the edge with 11 seconds left to seemingly seal the win, but Hayes quickly escaped to tie it up and send it to sudden victory. There, Penny got in on a leg and converted the takedown to win the bout and the team match as well as the crowd stood in appreciation of both teams’ effort.
The Hokies have now won the last six dual meets against the Cavaliers to take a 39-32-1 edge in the all-time series with UVa. The win marked the Hokies’ 16th-straight ACC dual meet win.
With the wrestling team winning, it marked a weekend sweep of the Cavaliers for Virginia Tech Athletics. The volleyball team won 3-2 on Friday and the football team won 38-0 on Saturday. All three contests were in Charlottesville.
Tech (2-1) will be back in action on Thursday in their home opener against Appalachian State at 7 p.m. inside Cassell Coliseum.
#15 Virginia Tech (2-1) 18, #22 Virginia (2-1) 13
125: #9 Matt Snyder (VA) def. Ty Mitch, 9-8 (TB1)
133: #7 Devin Carter (VT) dec. Matt Nelson, 11-5
141: #18 Nick Nelson (VA) dec. Zach Neibert, 10-5
149: Shawn Harris (VA) dec. Chris Mears, 5-3
157: #5 Jesse Dong (VT) dec. Jedd Moore, 8-2
165: #14 Pete Yates (VT) dec. Nick Sulzer, 8-2
174: Chris Moon (VT) dec. Billy Coggins, 5-1
184: #14 Jon Fausey (VA) maj. dec. John Dickson, 11-3
197: #16 Nick Vetterlein (VT) dec. Ryan Malo, 5-3
285: Chris Penny (VT) dec. Ethan Hayes, 7-5 (SV)
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).