February 1, 2015
Hokies down Cavs 18-16 at Moss Arts Center
Tech picks up point in Commonwealth Clash
(12) Virginia16
(9) Virginia Tech 18

BLACKSBURG - The ninth-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team used three bonus points to hold off 12th-ranked Virginia Sunday at the sold-out Moss Arts Center, winning 18-16 to claim its 10th win over the Cavaliers in the past 11 matchups.

“I felt like we wrestled OK,” said Tech head coach Kevin Dresser. “I get it that it was a tough environment to wrestle in for our guys. They’ve been hearing about it and reading about it and seeing tweets and Facebook pictures and countdowns, so to be a little tentative and more tired than normal … that’s the way I would assess it. I think we got more tired in some situations than we normally do, but that come with nerves. I’ll take it, though. Any time you can beat the No. 12 team in the nation, I’ve got to be happy with it. I’m not 100 percent happy because we’ve got to take some steps in some weight classes. I feel like we didn’t charge enough, and this is a charging sport. We’ve got some work to do.”

The match started at 174 pounds as the Cavs jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a 3-2 win from No. 7 Blaise Butler over No. 12 Zach Epperly. The Hokies took their first lead of the day at 184 when Austin Gabel rolled past James Suvak, picking up an 11-2 major decision. Zach Nye, ranked 18th in the country at 197 pounds, downed Tech’s Jared Haught 3-1 as UVa went back ahead.

The Hokies then won two matches in a row to re-take the lead. Ty Walz, the No. 9 heavyweight in the country, downed Patrick Gillen 3-2 and then No. 4 Joey Dance cruised to a 14-4 major decision over Will Mason at 125 pounds. After the intermission, the Cavaliers took the next two matches as they went back ahead. No. 13 George DiCamillo defeated No. 19 Kevin Norstrem 4-0 at 133 pounds and then Justin Van Hoose beat Jerry Ronnau 8-4 at 141 pounds. The Hokies were wrestling without All-American and third-ranked Devin Carter, who suffered an injury during the week.

Trailing 12-11, Sal Mastriani took the mat for the Hokies and the 12th-ranked 149-pounder dominated back-Chris Yankowich with a 19-6 major decision to give the Hokies the lead for good. Nick Brascetta, ranked fifth in the country at 157 pounds, returned to the mat after nearly three months missed due to an injury and picked up an 8-3 win over Andrew Atkinson to give Tech a six-point lead heading to the final bout. Nick Sulzer, ranked second in the country at 165 pounds, was able to pick up a 12-3 major decision over Chad Strube, but wasn’t able to get the pin he needed thanks to the three bonus points picked up by Gabel, Dance and Mastriani as the Hokies held on for the hard-fought win.

“We knew coming in that we had our work cut out for us, and their stars shone brightly today,” Virginia coach head coach Steve Garland said. “That’s what won them the match – those bonus points. We’re a couple of guys down, but so are they. It was funny, this wasn’t one of those typical Virginia-Virginia Tech matches where you could predict it. This one was hard to predict. They had a last-second scratch, and we had two where it came down to last-second stuff. They definitely out-wrestled. It’s really simple. They deserved to win.”

This match was presented by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics. With a victory today from Virginia Tech wrestling, they have added a point for their school to the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash. The score for the Clash is now, University of Virginia 5.5 and Virginia Tech 2.5. Learn more about Virginia529 and this new competition at www.thecommonwealthclash.com.

The event was held in the Moss Arts Center, a new performing arts building on campus and provided a unique experience for the teams and fans.

“Our athletics directors and the people in our department did an awesome job of getting this thing ready to go from top to bottom,” Dresser said. “They’ve been on this thing. This is not just a media event, Virginia-Virginia Tech … this is a national event. People have been emailing me and Facebook-ing us that this is a cool thing, and so we want to keep it going. It was really cool from our perspective. I wish we would have gotten everybody a little louder. In the few situations where we got takedowns and then at the end when we had the match locked up in that last period, you could see the crowd really get into it. But we’ve got to start throwing guys on their back. When you get a chance to wrestle in a venue like this, you’ve got raise the roof, and we didn’t raise the roof enough today, I didn’t feel.”

The Hokies (10-2, 1-0 ACC) will return to action at the Moss Arts Center next weekend, hosting No. 13 and defending ACC dual meet champion Pitt (7-4, 2-1 ACC) on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by NC State on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are still available for both matches and can be purchased online at vthoki.es/moss

#9 Virginia Tech (10-2, 1-0 ACC) 18, #12 Virginia (10-4, 2-1 ACC)
174: #7 Blaise Butler (VA) dec. #12 Zach Epperly, 3-2
184: Austin Gabel (VT) maj. dec. James Suvak, 11-2
197: #18 Zach Nye (VA) dec. Jared Haught, 3-1
285: #9 Ty Walz (VT) dec. Patrick Gillen, 3-2
125: #4 Joey Dance (VT) maj. dec. Will Mason, 14-4
133: #13 George DiCamillo (VA) dec. #19 Kevin Norstrem, 4-0
141: Justin Van Hoose (VA) dec. Jerry Ronnau, 8-4
149: #12 Sal Mastriani (VT) maj. dec. Chris Yankowich, 19-6
157: #5 Nick Brascetta (VT) dec. Andrew Atkinson, 8-3
165: #2 Nick Sulzer (VA) maj. dec. Chad Strube, 12-3

Att: 1020

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