HAMPTON, Va. –The Virginia wrestling team (9-5) used three bonus-point victories, including two wins by pin, on the way to a 23-16 victory over No. 16 Arizona State (2-5) in the semifinals of the Virginia Duals on Saturday afternoon.
The win sets up a dual against No. 13 Virginia Tech (4-2) in tonight’s final at 8:30 p.m. at the Hampton Coliseum.
“Our team is rolling this year,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “I keep saying how much improvement I’ve seen, well Arizona State crushed us last year and we just turned it completely around. Our guys are buying in. They are wrestling with confidence and grit. They are wrestling stingy at every position. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Each team won five weight classes, but the Cavaliers used critical bonus points to pull out the upset victory. A tech fall from junior Jack Mueller (Dallas, Texas) at 125 pounds and pins from sophomore Jake Keating (Naperville, Ill.) at 157 pounds and Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) at 197 pounds helped power Virginia to the victory. Arizona State only picked up bonus points at one weight class.
Mueller, the fifth-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, again got the Cavaliers started with bonus points before sophomore Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.) would come up with a big win at 133 pounds to extend the Virginia lead. Trailing as time wound down in the third period, Hayes notched an escape and a takedown to pick up the 4-3 decision.
Sam Krivus (Greensburg, Pa.), the 16th-ranked wrestler at 141 pounds, continued the scoring for Virginia with a 9-3 decision.
Following the first win of the afternoon by the Sun Devils at 149 pounds, Keating provided a big boost to the Cavaliers with his pin of No. 11 Christian Pagdilao at 157 pounds. For the second straight day, Keating quickly reversed his fortunes with a takedown, then flipped Pagdilao on his back for the pin and six points for Virginia.
Arizona State would then grab three straight victories at 165 pounds, 174 pounds and 184 pounds to cut the Cavalier lead to 17-13 before Aiello would clinch the match with his pin of Austyn Harris. The Sun Devils then closed out the match with a decision at heavyweight.
Virginia 23, No. 16 Arizona State 16
125: No. 5 Jack Mueller tech fall Brandon Courtney (ASU), 16-1 – UVA 5, ASU 0
133: Louie Hayes dec. Josiah Kline (ASU), 4-3 – UVA 8, ASU 0
141: No. 16 Sam Krivus dec. Cory Crooks (ASU), 9-3 – UVA 11, ASU 0
149: Joshua Maruca (ASU) dec. Michael Murphy, 8-2 – UVA 11, ASU 3
157: Jake Keating pinned No. 11 Christian Pagdilao (ASU), UVA 17, ASU 3
165: No. 5 Josh Shields (ASU) dec. Cam Coy, 6-2 – UVA 17, ASU 6
174: Jacen Petersen (ASU) dec. Robby Patrick, 10-5 – UVA 17, ASU 9
184: Zahid Valencia (ASU) major dec. Schany, 15-5 – UVA 17, ASU 13
197: No. 7 Jay Aiello pinned Austyn Harris (ASU), 3:43 – UVA 23, ASU 13
HWT: Brady Gilliland-Daniel (ASU) dec. Tyler Love, 9-5 – UVA 23, ASU 16