In a match that could have gone either way, No. 23 Virginia (10-6, 2-3 ACC) fell to No. 24 Pittsburgh (10-5, 1-3 ACC) by a score of 19-14.
Two overtime losses by the Cavaliers proved to be the difference in the dual, as a thrilling match unfortunately didn’t go Virginia’s way.
“It was an absolute war,” Virginia head coach Steve Garland said. “We knew it was going to be a war, and we touted it as a close, dogfight match and that’s what it was — it was just darn tough wrestling from the start of that match to the finish.”
In the first overtime match, redshirt freshman Sam Krivus thought he had the match nearly won at 149 pounds, but an official review reversed the initial takedown ruling and sent the match into overtime at 4-4 where Pittsburgh was able to win and capture the points with a 6-4 decision.
The second overtime match immediately followed with junior Andrew Atkinson putting it all on the line. In a match rife with drama, Atkinson took a last second shot and got the takedown he needed to send the match into overtime at 8-8.
In overtime, Atkinson thought he had the takedown he needed for the win, but the officials didn’t give it to him. Immediately after the Pittsburgh wrestler got the reversal to get the 10-8 win for his team. These two overtime wins by the Panthers gave them a more comfortable 13-8 lead in the dual, which they never surrendered.
“Here’s what hurts, we lost all the close ones,” Garland said. “We had two overtime matches — if either of those go our way, we win the dual. We felt like we were the ones who sent it to overtime … I was proud of my guys for going out shooting. We were the ones that took the shots to win those matches. So you always praise your guys for going out guns blazing.”
Going out with guns blazing is certainly something the team ought to be proud about, especially on their Senior Day. Overall, Virginia got wins from freshman Jack Mueller, senior George DiCamillo and sophomores Garrett Peppelman and Chance McClure.
Freshman Jack Mueller’s win at 125 pounds was particularly notable, as he won by a score of 16-1 and picked up a tech fall decision that gave the Cavaliers five points. George DiCamillo also performed admirably, picking up a 9-3 win in front of a crowd behind him on his Senior Day.
While Garland wasn’t thrilled at the result, he knew his team fought their heart out and competed at an incredibly high level against a team they matched up against very evenly.
“I’m proud of this team, I thought our effort was fantastic,” Garland said. “I felt like we were the ones who were getting stronger as the bouts were going on … I just thought we did some really silly things in positions we are normally good at, but our wrestling and effort was outstanding today.”
Virginia has no more dual meets his season, and it’s time to look forward to tournaments.
The nearest tournament for the Cavaliers is the U.S. Collegiate Championships that will take place in Colorado Springs, Colo. Sunday.