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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 22 Virginia wrestling team went down to the wire with No. 15 Virginia Tech Sunday before falling 18-13 to the Hokies in front of a raucous crowd of 1,652 at John Paul Jones Arena. Nine of the 10 bouts came down to decisions in the tightly contested match. The teams combined for just two sets of back points all day.

UVa (2-1) won at four weight classes, with No. 14 Jon Fausey (R-So., Dalmatia, Pa.) scoring an 11-3 major decision over John Dickson at 184 pounds. It marked the lone bonus scored on either side Sunday. No. 9 Matt Snyder (R-Jr., Lewistown, Pa.), No. 18 Nick Nelson (R-Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Shawn Harris (R-Sr., Cleveland, Ohio) scored wins by decision at 125, 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.

“I told our guys that ‘I’m so proud of you. I’m so proud of your effort and I’m so blessed to be in your corner,'” UVa head coach Steve Garland said. “That final match with Ethan Hayes, I was so thankful just to be there and have a front-row seat for it. What an amazing atmosphere for the sport of wrestling. But as proud as I am of our guys, we didn’t accomplish our goal, which was to get the win. We were close and were right in a spot where we thought we could do it, but we lost.”

With Virginia Tech holding a 15-13 team lead with one weight class remaining, the match came down to a fantastic bout at heavyweight, where Virginia Tech’s Chris Penny scored a takedown in sudden-victory time to down UVa’s Ethan Hayes (Fr., New Lebanon, Ohio), 7-5. The bout featured a wild third period that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

With the score knotted at 2-all heading to the third, Penny chose the down position. After riding Penny for 11 seconds, Hayes put Penny on his back and scored two points on a nearfall. Penny quickly escaped and the wrestlers went back and forth without scoring for a minute and a half before Penny finally connected at the edge of the mat for a takedown with just seven seconds left. After a restart Hayes was able to kick out and escape just before the final horn to send the match to overtime. Both wrestlers had chances in the sudden victory period, but Penny landed the deciding takedown with 21 seconds remaining to seal the individual and team victories.

UVa jumped out to an early 9-3 lead after winning three of the first four matches. At 125, Snyder fell behind early against Ty Mitch but rallied to send the match to overtime, where he won in the first tiebreaker, 9-8. Snyder trailed 6-4 heading to the third period, but picked up a point in the third when Mitch was called for a pair of stalling warnings while in the bottom position. Snyder rode Mitch for the entire third period to reverse a 1:00 riding time deficit and turn it into a 1:00 riding time advantage to score the riding time point to send it to overtime.

After a scoreless sudden victory period, the two went to a tiebreaker, where Snyder escaped with 10 seconds left in the first period. In the second 30-second period, Mitch allowed Snyder to escape, but then quickly took him down to knot the score. Snyder again escaped, then held off Mitch to win, 9-8.

The Hokies knotted the team score at 133 as No. 7-ranked Devin Carter methodically pulled away for an 11-5 decision over UVa’s Matt Nelson. Carter scored a quick first-period takedown and never trailed as he slowly pulled away for the victory.

Nick Nelson trailed 4-2 in the second period to Tech’s Zach Neibert at 141, but reversed Neibert late in the period and moved ahead with a second left in the period on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty point. Nelson escaped quickly to start the third, then controlled the match the rest of the way.

Harris and Chris Mears were locked in a tight bout throughout at 149. Harris scored a takedown 1:49 into the first period and never trailed. He moved ahead 4-1 with an escape to start the third, but Mears took him down to close to within 4-3. Hayes soon escaped to score a point and then held on for the 5-3 win.

At 157 pounds No. 5-ranked Jesse Dong gave up an early takedown to Jedd Moore (R-Jr., Mount Vernon, Ohio) but came back to post an 8-2 win. Dong scored a takedown near the edge with 41 seconds left in the first period and led the rest of the match. He scored a takedown late in the third period to put the match out of reach.

No. 14-ranked Pete Yates outlasted Nick Sulzer (R-Fr., Cleveland, Ohio), 6-2, at 165. Yates scored a takedown just over a minute into the first period, then built up 1:28 in riding time in the period and pushed it to over two minutes in the third. With the match tied at two in the third, Yates quickly escaped to start the period, then countered a late Sulzer shot with a takedown to clinch the win and tie the team score at nine apiece.

Chris Moon gave the Hokies a 12-9 team lead with a 5-1 decision over Billy Coggins (So., Sound Beach, N.Y.) at 174 pounds. Moon defended a great Coggins shot early in the period to keep the match scoreless, then recorded a takedown at the edge of the mat with 45 seconds remaining in the first to take the lead. The two combined for a scoreless second period, but Moon escaped early in the third and added a takedown with just over a minute left to earn the win.

Fausey aggressively pounced on Dickson with a takedown in the first five seconds of their match at 184, and soon got Dickson on his back for three points on a near fall. Fausey cruised from there and scored a pair of third-period takedowns while racking up 3:01 in riding time to earn the major decision.

At 197 pounds 16th-ranked Nick Vetterlein of Virginia Tech held off UVa’s Ryan Malo (Sr., Mass.) for a 5-3 decision, giving the Hokies the 15-13 team lead. Vetterlein threw Malo in scoring a first-period takedown and then built up a 5-3 lead after an escape midway through the third, then fended off Malo’s shot attempts in the waning seconds to secure the win.

Virginia wrestles at the Penn State Open next Sunday (Dec. 4). The Cavaliers return to dual action Dec. 18 at Drexel.

No. 15 Virginia Tech 18, No. 22 Virginia 13
125: No. 9 Matt Snyder (Virginia) dec. Ty Mitch (Virginia Tech), 9-8 (TB1)
133: No. 7 Devin Carter (Virginia Tech) dec. Matt Nelson (Virginia), 11-5
141: No. 18 Nick Nelson (Virginia) dec. Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech), 10-5
149: Shawn Harris (Virginia) dec. Chris Mears (Virginia Tech), 5-3
157: No. 5 Jesse Dong (Virginia Tech) dec. Jedd Moore (Virginia), 8-2
165: No. 14 Pete Yates (Virginia Tech) dec. Nick Sulzer (Virginia), 6-2
174: Chris Moon (Virginia Tech) dec. Billy Coggins (Virginia), 5-1
184: No. 14 Jon Fausey (Virginia) major dec. John Dickson (Virginia Tech), 11-3
197: No. 16 Nick Vetterlein (Virginia Tech) dec. Ryan Malo (Virginia), 5-3
285: Chris Penny (Virginia Tech) dec. Ethan Hayes (Virginia), 7-5 (SV)

Individual rankings according to InterMat; team rankings according to NWCA/USA Today Coaches poll

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