Matmen tackle Appalachian State, ODU
Four-game winning streak propels Cavaliers toward final season matches
The No. 11 Virginia wrestling team welcomes Appalachian State and Old Dominion this weekend for its final regular season matches as it looks to extend a four-game winning streak and gain momentum before postseason play.
The Cavaliers (13-3, 4-1 ACC) earned a thrilling 21-19 win against Maryland Feb. 1 in College Park, thanks in part to bonus points awarded to redshirt sophomore Joe Spisak, redshirt senior Jedd Moore and redshirt sophomore Nick Sulzer. That victory was the team’s first against the Terrapins in College Park since 2005.
“Maryland always gives us fits,” coach Steve Garland said after the match. “They are very tough, very well coached, and it’s a big win for us. At the same time, the next competition is the biggest competition.”
That competition will come against Appalachian State (6-5, 3-2 Southern) and Old Dominion (10-6, 5-0 CAA) Saturday and Sunda,y respectively. The Monarchs recently had a five-match winning streak halted by then-No. 12 Central Michigan with a 25-6 drubbing Feb. 3. Appalachian State, meanwhile, has dropped three straight contests despite starting the season 4-0.
“They’re both tough teams with tough guys,” Moore said. “It will be a great way to finish out the season.”
Virginia has faced some of the premier teams in the nation this season, including a statement win against then No. 9 Central Michigan on Jan. 12 and two losses to in-state rival No. 7 Virginia Tech. Saturday, the Cavaliers will face a Mountaineer team with a less than impressive record, but Garland said they will treat the match as seriously as possible.
“You’ve got to approach everyone like they’re a national champ because you won’t get any better if you don’t,” Garland said.
Old Dominion, who has bounced in and out of the top-25 national rankings this season, will likely provide a tougher test for Virginia. The Cavaliers have defeated the Monarchs each of the past two seasons by a combined score of 56-14, but Old Dominion pulled off a 21-18 upset against Virginia in 2009.
“ODU is another team that always wrestles us tough,” Garland said. “Frankly, we have to be ready to go because they have tough individuals all up and down the lineup.”
The Cavaliers’ recent four-game winning streak has given the squad momentum heading into the season’s final stretch and the fast-approaching postseason.
“I hope we stay focused and stay healthy,” Moore said. “It’s tough not to look ahead, but you can’t help but think about how exciting the end of the year is.”
The matches will take place this Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. in Memorial Gymnasium.