BLACKSBURG - The 12th-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling squad will host the 17th-ranked University of Virginia Sunday afternoon as the program pushes for an attendance record for a wrestling match inside Cassell Coliseum. The match will kick off at noon inside the Cassell, the day after the Hokies and Cavaliers battle on the football field in Blacksburg.
The Hokies are 2-1, falling to No. 5 Ohio State on Friday, but rebounding to beat No. 25 Wisconsin and Manchester on Sunday. Virginia is 6-1 with its lone loss coming to No. 4 Iowa.
Sunday’s match is scheduled to feature four matches where both wrestlers are ranked: at 125 pounds (UVa’s No. 7 Matt Snyder vs. VT’s No. 8 Jarrod Garnett), at 149 pounds (UVa’s No. 6 Derek Valenti vs. VT’s No. 11 Nick Brascetta), at 157 pounds (UVa’s No. 19 Jedd Moore vs. VT’s No. 8 Jesse Dong) and at 165 pounds (UVa’s No. 9 Nick Sulzer vs. VT’s No. 4 Pete Yates). All rankings used are from Amateur Wrestling News.
Garnett is 3-0 in college against Snyder. Two years ago, Garnett fell behind to an unranked Snyder before rallying for the win. Snyder got a takedown and two separate three-point nearfall combinations in the first period to take a surprising 8-0 lead on 16th-ranked Garnett. But Garnett made a huge comeback with two reversals and a takedown to cut the deficit to three at 9-6 heading to the third period. Garnett got three takedowns in the third period on an exhausted Snyder to take the lead, forcing Snyder to take injury time with 44 seconds left and trailing by one. Snyder escaped to force sudden victory, but Garnett easily took him down to secure the crazy 14-12 comeback win. Garnett later beat Snyder 6-4 in sudden victory to claim the 2011 ACC title at 125 pounds. Snyder forced overtime by riding Garnett for over a minute, but Garnett again got the takedown in overtime for the win. Garnett also beat Snyder at the 2008 Southern Scuffle, 15-4, when Snyder was at Bloomsburg.
Yates is 2-0 against Sulzer, beating him 8-2 last year in the dual meet and 8-3 in the semifinals of the ACC Championship while Dong picked up an 8-2 decision over Moore in last year’s dual meet. He has also beaten him several other times in his career. Brascetta beat Valenti 3-2 in the finals of the Wolfpack Open last season.
The Hokies have been on top in the series of late, winning the last six matches against UVa to take a 36-26-1 lead in a series that dates back to 1922. The last time Virginia beat the Hokies was in 2008 in the ACC dual match. Tech has won 19 of its last 20 ACC dual matches dating back to 2008, but has failed to win a team title at the ACC Championships, something UVa did three seasons ago.
Last year’s bout was a classic as the Hokies, facing a hostile crowd and a loud environment, won the last two matches to come back and beat 22nd-ranked Virginia 18-13 at John Paul Jones Arena. Nick Vetterlein pulled out a win at 197 pounds and then heavyweight Chris Penny got a takedown of Ethan Hayes in sudden victory to give Tech the win.
Admission is free for all and doors will open 90 minutes before the match begins. Fans are asked to fill in as close to the bottom as possible and to stay below the entrance ways to create a loud and raucous environment.
Free live stats will be available here and fans who can’t make it have the option to pay to watch the event on Hokies All-Access.
Below are the probable lineups for both squads, as submitted by the respective coaching staffs:
#12 Virginia Tech (2-1)
125: #8 Jarrod Garnett (5-1)
133: Erik Spjut (5-2)
141: #10 Zach Neibert (5-2)
149: #11 Nick Brascetta (6-1)
157: #8 Jesse Dong (1-0)
165: #4 Pete Yates (7-0)
174: Austin Gabel (5-2)
184: Nick Vetterlein (5-3)
197: Derrick Borlie (5-2)
285: David Marone (0-2)
#17 Virginia (6-1)
125: #7 Matt Snyder (4-1)
133: #17 George DiCamillo (9-1)
141: Joe Spisak (4-1)
149: #6 Derek Valenti (6-0)
157: #19 Jedd Moore (5-1)
165: #9 Nick Sulzer (4-1)
174: #9 Jon Fausey (5-0)
184: #16 Stephen Doty (4-1)
197: Mike Salopek (4-1)
285: Derek Papagianopoulos (1-2)
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).