The No. 20 Virginia wrestling team came short of ending their regular season on a high note as No. 24 Pittsburgh Friday defeated them by a score of 19-17. The Friday night contest was the second match in a row the Cavaliers (6-7, 1-4 ACC) lost in the last bout.
The match was highly contested throughout, as the outcome was decided by bonus points and with three matches being decided by just one point.
Virginia trailed the Panthers (10-6, 2-3 ACC) after dropping the first two bouts of the evening with No. 6 ranked junior George DiCamillo still out of competition in the 133 pound weight class. However, the Cavaliers came back to take the lead by winning the next three bouts.
Senior Justin Van Hoose started the victories for Virginia. Van Hoose had a big night in the 141 pound weight class as he upset No. 10 Mike Racciato with an impressive 11-4 decision. Fellow senior Chris Yankowich followed the lead and gained a decision in the 149 pound weight class before sophomore Andrew Atkinson secured the lead with a major decision of 11-1 at 157 pounds.
The Cavaliers would go on to drop the next two matches and give the lead back to Pitt before a major decision from sophomore Tyler Askey in the 184 pound weight class. Senior Zach Nye, ranked No. 13 nationally at 197 pounds, went on to get a victory to give Virginia the slight lead of 17-16.
Senior Patrick Gillen lost the last bout of the evening in the heavyweight class, falling by a close decision of 3-2, and allowing the Panthers to get the two-point edge over the Cavaliers, 19-17.
Virginia finished the regular season with an impressive out of conference record and a 1-4 ACC record after challenging several nationally ranked opponents over the course of the season. The Cavaliers have a couple of weeks to prepare before the ACC Championships are held at John Paul Jones Arena Sunday, March 6.