Virginia’s win streak came to an end Saturday afternoon after a tight loss to Campbell. The Cavaliers (2-1, 0-0 ACC) fell to the Fighting Camels (3-2, 0-0 SoCon) 21-15 in Virginia’s home opener at the Aquatic Fitness Center. Notably, after the first eight matches, the score was tied at 15, but the Camels were able to find a second gear and win the final two weight classes to secure the victory.
The day started with 125-pound sophomore Patrick McCormick squaring off against senior Korbin Meek, who gave Campbell a 3-0 lead after a 4-2 victory against McCormick.
No. 15 graduate student Brian Courtney would then respond in the next match against sophomore Domenic Zaccone to allow Virginia to take its first lead of the day. Courtney, who has been dominant all season, defeated Zaccone 14-3 in a major decision. The result would give the Cavaliers a 4-3 lead and move Courtney to 3-0 this season, continuing his strong campaign.
At 141 pounds, the Camels would respond with junior Shannon Hanna, defeating fifth-year Scott Kiyono by a score of 10-5. The decision would give the Camels a 6-4 lead.
Next up was one of the more highly anticipated matches of the day, as No. 29 graduate student Jarod Verkleeren faced off against graduate student No. 16 Josh Heil. In a close match, Heil picked up the 4-2 victory to build on the Camels’ lead, making the score 9-4 in favor of Campbell.
The Cavaliers would then begin the comeback beginning with graduate student Jon Errico defeating junior Matthew Dallara in a 4-2 decision victory. Errico has had a strong start to the season as he moves to 3-0 in dual meets this season. The match would bring Virginia within two points of Campbell.
Virginia’s 165-pound senior Justin McCoy continued his dominant season, defeating redshirt freshman Riley Augustine by technical fall. In three matches this season, No. 19 McCoy has won a match by decision, major decision and now technical fall. The 17-2 victory would give the Cavaliers a huge five points and a 12-9 lead.
The 174-pound match changed the dynamic of the meet and shifted the momentum back to Campbell. Camels senior Austin Murphy pinned senior Krystian Kinsey in 2:52. The pin gave Campbell six points to make the score 15-12.
The upset of the day would come from 184-pound graduate student Michael Battista who defeated No. 16 Caleb Hopkins to knot the score 15-15. Initially, Hopkins had been ruled the winner, but a replay review gave Battista a stall point to tie the match, after which Battista secured an escape with little time left to win by a score of 6-5.
The 184-pound match between graduate student Chris Kober and junior Ethan Weatherspoon was tied after three periods at 2-2. Kober managed to achieve sudden victory in the overtime period, winning 4-2, with the close win granting Campbell an 18-15 lead.
The meet came down to the heavyweight match between Virginia graduate student No. 18 Quinn Miller and Campbell sophomore No. 29 Taye Ghadiali. Ghadiali managed to squeak out a 3-2 victory, lifting the Camels to a 21-15 victory.
“We lost a really tight dual today that went down to heavyweight, but you have to give Campbell credit because every time we did something good, they responded,” Coach Steve Garland said. “It was back-and-forth, but they won the close ones and found a way to get gritty when they needed to. We have to learn from that and that’s what we’re going to work on.”
Virginia will look to rebound as it competes in the Mat Town Open hosted by Lock Haven Sunday.