PITTSBURGH - The 16th-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team fell to sixth-ranked Pittsburgh 19-14 Friday night at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse in a big ACC match up. Needing a win to finish no worse than tied for the dual meet team title, the Hokies lost all three toss-up matches in finishing conference competition with a 4-2 mark while the Panthers moved to 5-0.
The Panthers got off to a good start, winning the first two matches in close fashion. At 125 pounds, Anthony Zanetta used a second-period takedown to beat 16th-ranked Joey Dance 3-1 and then Shelton Mack used a second-period takedown to beat Dennis Gustafson 3-2. At 141 pounds, 15th-ranked Edgar Bright hung on late for a 2-1 win over Tech’s Erik Spjut to give Pitt a 9-0 lead.
At 149 pounds, 17th-ranked Zach Neibert held off a reversal attempt from Mikey Racciato and then got back points at the end of the match to break a 4-4 tie, even though he had riding time, to pick up an exciting 7-4 victory to get the Hokies on the board. Sal Mastriani took advantage of a wounded Ronnie Garbinsky at 157 pounds, fighting back from a 5-0 deficit to pick up nine takedowns in the final two periods to pick up a 28-13 technical fall to make it 9-8. Garbinsky appeared to injure his leg early on and was defenseless against a relentless Mastriani, who was able to take him down at will.
Chris Moon flirted with disaster at 165 pounds as he was trailing Geno Morelli 1-0 late, but he got a reversal with five seconds left to pull out the 2-1 win and give Tech an 11-9 lead.
The Panthers then flexed their muscles, winning three in a row to grab the lead back and lock up the match. Seventh-ranked Tyler Wilps rolled to a 13-3 major decision over John Dickson at 174 pounds and then eighth-ranked Max Thomusseit had his way with 17th-ranked Nick Vetterlein at 184 pounds, winning 7-2.
Needing a pair of wins in the final two matches, Tech couldn’t get it done as 18th-ranked Chris Penny fell to unranked Nick Bonaccorsi 8-3 at 197 pounds. That took the excitement out of the finish as the Panthers clinched the win, but Tech’s 18th-ranked Ty Walz still finished strong, picking up a 12-10 over Mike Gregory at heavyweight to wrap things up.
“I’m very disappointed in our effort at certain weight classes tonight,” Tech head coach Kevin Dresser said. “We have some individuals who need to toughen up a whole bunch and I am going to start that process in the morning.
Three weight classes were considered toss-ups going into the night, 125 pounds, 184 pounds and 197 pounds, and Pitt won all three, which proved to be the difference in the dual.
Pitt improved to 12-1 on the season and 11-0 all-time against Virginia Tech.
Tech (15-3) will be back in action next weekend, taking part of the NWCA National Duals on Sunday and Monday in Columbus, Ohio.
No. 6 Pittsburgh (12-1, 5-0 ACC) 19, #16 Virginia Tech (15-3, 4-2 ACC) 14
125: Anthony Zanetta (P) dec. #16 Joey Dance, 3-1
133: Shelton Mack (P) dec. Dennis Gustafson, 3-2
141: #15 Edgar Bright (P) dec. Erik Spjut, 2-1
149: #17 Zach Neibert (VT) dec. Mikey Racciato, 7-4
157: Sal Mastriani (VT) tech fall Ronnie Garbinsky, 28-13 (6:05)
165: Chris Moon (VT) dec. Geno Morelli, 2-1
174: #7 Tyler Wilps (P) maj. dec. John Dickson, 13-3
184: #8 Max Thomusseit (P) dec. #17 Nick Vetterlein, 7-2
197: Nick Bonaccorsi (P) dec. #18 Chris Penny, 8-3
285: #18 Ty Walz (VT) dec. Mike Gregory, 12-10
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