CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –The No. 23 Virginia wrestling team (11-8, 0-2 ACC) dropped its ACC home-opener on Friday night (Feb. 1) falling to No. 8 NC State (14-1, 2-0 ACC) by a score of 23-17 at Memorial Gym.

The Cavaliers won four weight classes, including bonus-point wins from junior Jack Mueller (Dallas, Texas) at 125 pounds and sophomore Jay Aiello (Chantilly, Va.) at 197 pounds. Virginia also got wins by decision from freshman Cam Coy (Jeannette, Pa.) at 165 pounds and junior Tyler Love (Clifton, Va.) at heavyweight.

“That was the best crowd we’ve had all year and we really thank everyone who came out to support this team,” said Virginia head coach Steve Garland. “I think everyone got what they came to see which was an entertaining dual from both sides.  They got to see some great wrestling. We started amazing and ended amazing, but we had a couple of wrinkles in the middle of the dual.”

Mueller, the fifth-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, improved to 12-0 on the season as he kicked off the dual for the Cavaliers. His 16-1 tech fall over Zurich Storm came in the first period as Mueller locked up the win in 2:30. It was his 12th bonus-point win of the season and his fourth technical fall of the year.

NC State got on the board with a win at 133 pounds as Sean Fausz, the nation’s 12th-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, bumped up a weight class and faced off against Virginia sophomore Louie Hayes (Orland Park, Ill.). In the rematch of last year’s NCAA second-round match that Hayes won in overtime, Fausz secured the decision in a match that featured a flurry of action but was comparatively low scoring with a 6-0 decision for Fausz.

The Wolfpack then took a decision at 141 pounds and back-to-back major decisions at 149 and 157 pounds to surge to the 14-5 lead in the overall dual score. 

Coy picked up his win in dramatic fashion at 165 pounds, taking the 3-1 decision over No. 17 Thomas Bullard in sudden victory. The two wrestlers ended regulation locked in a 1-1 tie after each side recorded an escape point. Coy then got his takedown late in the overtime period for his second-straight ACC win.

NC State then used a narrow 6-4 decision at 174 pounds and a pinfall by the nation’s third-ranked wrestler at 184 pounds to lock up the final result. 

Aiello, the nation’s eighth-ranked wrestler at 197 pounds, took his win by pinfall over No. 20 Malik McDonald. Aiello improved to 19-5 on the season with the win as he controlled the match for the duration, flipping McDonald to notch the pin in 6:53.

Love closed things out with his decision at heavyweight. With NC State’s Colin Lawler holding a 1-0 lead after the second period due to an escape point, a flurry of action in the third period led Love to the win. After starting in the down position, Love notched a reversal to take the 2-1 lead on Lawler before the Wolfpack wrestler would even things up with an escape point. Love then got another takedown in in the waning moments of the third period to secure the 4-2 decision.

Virginia will continue to wrestle at home next weekend, hosting Duke in a 1 p.m. dual at Memorial Gym.

No. 8 NC State 23, No. 23 Virginia 17
No. 5 Jack Mueller tech fall Zurich Storm (NCSU), 16-1 (2:30) – UVA 5, NCSU 0 
133: Sean Fausz (NCSU) dec. Louie Hayes, 6-0 – UVA 5, NCSU 3 
141: Jamel Morris (NCSU) dec. Sam Krivus, 10-3 – NCSU 6, UVA 5
149: No. 8 Justin Oliver (NCSU) major dec. Michael Murphy, 13-3 – NCSU 10, UVA 5
157: No. 4 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) major dec. Jake Keating, 15-6 – NCSU 14, UVA 5
165: Cam Coy dec. No. 17 Thomas Bullard (NCSU), 3-1 (sv-1) – NCSU 14, UVA 8
174: No. 20 Daniel Bullard (NCSU) dec. Robert Patrick, 6-4 – NCSU 17, UVA 8
184: No. 3 Nick Reenan (NCSU) pinned Chance McClure, 0:30 – NCSU 23, UVA 8
197: No. 8 Jay Aiello pinned No. 20 Malik McDonald (NCSU), 6:53 – NCSU 23, UVA 14
HWT: Tyler Love dec. Colin Lawler (NCSU), 4-2 – NCSU 23, UVA 17