No. 7 Virginia Tech holds off UVa
Valenti’s upset of ninth-ranked Stephens highlights UVa effort
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia dropped a 20-12 decision to No. 7 Virginia Tech Saturday evening in an ACC dual at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies won six of the 10 weight classes and rallied for key wins at heavyweight and 125 pounds to swing the match in their favor.
Derek Valenti, Chris Henrich, Jon Fausey and Mike Salopek each scored individual wins for Virginia (15-6, 2-1 ACC).
Valenti recorded the upset win of the day for the Cavaliers, topping ninth-ranked Brian Stephens of Virginia Tech 7-2 at 149 pounds. The pair were locked in a 2-2 match midway through the third period when Valenti shot in to score a takedown. Valenti got Stephens to his back and racked up three more points on a near fall as he claimed his fifth consecutive victory of the season.
Virginia Tech (16-4, 3-0) won the dual's first four weight classes to snag an early 13-0 lead, although UVa squandered third-period leads in each of the first two bouts. The match opened at heavyweight, where Virginia Tech's David Marone rallied for a 4-3 win against Jack Danilkowicz.
At 125 pounds, No. 15 Jarrod Garnett came back to post a 14-12 win in sudden victory time against Matt Snyder. Snyder jumped out to an 8-0 first-period lead on a takedown and a pair of three-point near falls, only to see Garnett storm back and take a 12-11 lead on a third-period takedown. Snyder escaped to force overtime, but Garnett picked up a takedown in the first sudden-victory period to claim the win.
Tenth-ranked Devin Carter earned a 19-11 major decision against Joe Spisak in a wild contest at 133 pounds. Spisak held an 8-7 lead in the second period before Carter took over in rolling to the major decision to give Tech a 6-0 team lead.
At 141 pounds Gus Sako dropped an 8-2 decision to Zach Neibert before Valenti got the Cavaliers on the board with his win at 149 pounds. The Hokies rode the backs of a pair of ranked wrestlers to win at 157 and 165 pounds as well. No. 6 Jesse Dong picked up an 8-1 decision against Shawn Harris at 157, and No. 15 Pete Yates followed with a 9-0 major decision against Jedd Moore at 165 to stretch the Tech lead to 20-3.
Virginia took the final three weight classes, all by decision. Ranked fourth nationally at 174 pounds, Henrich scored a pair of first-period takedowns, then rode Matt Epperly for most of the second period as he cruised to a 6-2 win while racking up 2:32 in riding time. With his 11th consecutive win, Henrich improved to 25-1 this season and recorded his school-record 126th career win.
Fausey, ranked 18th in the country at 184, scored a takedown eight seconds into the first period and controlled the majority of the action in a 5-3 win over John Dickson. Fausey recorded his fifth consecutive win and upped his record to 22-6 this season.
Salopek, ranked 18th nationally at 197, scored a takedown 2:03 into the first period and that was all the scoring he needed against Chris Penny. Salopek rolled up 1:20 in riding time in posting a 5-1 decision.