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Virginia wrestling cruises past Duke

After a tough loss to NC State, the Cavaliers bounced back on the road winning eight of 10 matchups

<p>The Cavaliers captured their first conference victory on Saturday.</p>

The Cavaliers captured their first conference victory on Saturday.

Virginia wrestling closed out its ACC road schedule Saturday against a Duke squad that has yet to pick up an ACC win this season. On the other hand, the Cavaliers (4-5, 1-3 ACC) got their first ACC victory this season against the Blue Devils (7-9, 0-4 ACC) by a score of 30-9 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Virginia won eight of the 10 matches, four of them being bonus-point victories. 

The dual began at 125 pounds with senior Patrick McCormick against graduate student Ty Naquin. McCormick controlled the match, winning 18-3 for a technical fall victory after seven minutes of action. The bonus-point victory awarded Virginia a 5-0 lead. 

At 133 pounds, No. 20 graduate student Brian Courtney built on the lead for the Cavaliers against sophomore Drake Doolittle. Courtney defeated Doolittle 8-2 for a decision victory to make it an 8-0 lead for Virginia. 

Sophomore Dylan Cedeno continued the momentum for the Cavaliers against sophomore Patrick Rowland. The 141-pound Cedeno dominated the match, winning 11-1 to give the Cavaliers another three points. 

At 149 pounds, No. 31 graduate student Jarod Verkeeren faced off against No. 14 senior Josh Finesilver. The first ranked match-up went to the Blue Devils as Finesilver pinned Verkleeren in 6:38. The bonus point victory would make the score 12-6. 

Next, No. 27 fifth-year Jake Keating wrestled against junior Wade Unger at 157 pounds. Keating picked up a 4-1 decision victory to get the Cavaliers back in the win column. The win brought the score to 15-6. 

No. 23 senior Justin McCoy built on the lead for the Cavaliers with an 8-3 decision victory against junior Gabe Dinette. After the win, McCoy improved to 12-1 this season at 165 pounds. The win gave Virginia an 18-6 lead. 

At 174 pounds, junior Justin Phillips faced off against No. 16 senior Matt Finesilver. Finesilver controlled the match with a 6-0 victory to give Duke their second victory of the day to cut the Cavaliers’ lead.

Next, No. 25 graduate student Michael Battista squared off against junior Vincent Baker. Battista dominated the match for a 21-7 major decision victory. The bonus point victory gave the Cavaliers four points to make it 22-9. 

At 197 pounds, No. 17 graduate student Jay Aiello built on the lead for the Cavaliers with a 17-2 technical fall victory against senior Kaden Russell in 6:20. The bonus point victory made the score 27-9. 

“We had some great individual performances, highlighted by Jay Aiello and Michael Battista who were looking to score points,” Coach Steve Garland said. “That’s what you want to see.”

At heavyweight, No. 32 graduate student Quinn Miller faced off against junior Jonah Nisenbaum. The score was 1-1 with seconds to spare before Miller recorded a takedown for a 3-1 decision victory. The victory sealed the win for Virginia, ending 30-9. 

Additionally, there were two bonus matches after the match. The first was between Battista and sophomore Luke Chakonis at 184 pounds. Similar to earlier, Battista picked up a major decision victory for his second win of the day. Additionally, the two wins bolster Battista's record to 14-3 this season. 

The final match of the day was between sophomore Jessie Knight and junior Brayden Ray. The match ended quickly after Ray managed to pin Knight in 57 seconds. 

“The challenge at the end of last week’s match was simply to respond,” Garland said. “I challenge the guys that every time they have a bad performance that they respond well the next week. The challenge today was to respond and wrestle the way they are capable.”

The Cavaliers return to action Friday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gymnasium against Virginia Tech to close out their regular season dual schedule.


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