CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia wrestling team (3-4, 0-2 ACC) clawed its way back into the dual down the stretch, but fell on criteria 17-16 to No. 24 North Carolina (7-4, 2-0 ACC) at Memorial Gym on Friday night (Jan. 28).
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Cavaliers got out to a quick start with an upset win at 133 pounds from Brian Courtney over No. 10 Jaime Hernandez. North Carolina would win the next three weight classes to take the overall lead before Virginia would again close the gap with a decision by Justin McCoy at 165 pounds.
The Tar Heels won the next two weight classes to take a 16-6 lead on the Cavaliers before Virginia would turn it on with a major decision at 197 pounds from Jay Aiello and win the final three weights – including decisions by Quinn Miller at heavyweight and Patrick McCormick at 125 pounds – to tie the dual score at 16-16.
North Carolina claimed the dual on criteria after the Tar Heels outscored the Cavaliers in total points in the dual with 53 points to 45 for Virginia. The criteria gave North Carolina the 17-16 victory.
NOTES ON THE DUAL
• It is the second time in the last three seasons Virginia has fallen by one point to the Tar Heels.
• Justin McCoy improved to 11-0 on the season with his win over Sonny Santiago at 165 pounds.
• Michael Battista moved to 12-2 on the year and had an 11-match win streak snapped.
• Jay Aiello improved to 8-1 on the season with his major decision over Max Shaw at 197 pounds.
• Brian Courtney is now 9-2 on the season after his win over No. 10 Jaime Hernandez at 133 pounds and a win in extra countable matches after the dual.
133: No. 23 Brian Courtney dec. No. 10 Jaime Hernandez (UNC), 5-3 (sv-1) – UVA 3, UNC 0
141: No. 7 Kizhan Clark (UNC) dec. Dylan Cedeno, 6-2 – UVA 3, UNC 3
149: No. 22 Zach Sherman (UNC) dec. No. 29 Jarod Verkleeren, 6-2 – UNC 6, UVA 3
157: No. 6 Austin O’Connor (UNC) dec. No. 28 Jake Keating, 6-4 – UNC 9, UVA 3
165: No. 15 Justin McCoy dec. Sonny Santiago (UNC), 6-2 – UNC 9, UVA 6
174: No. 14 Clay Lautt (UNC) dec. Justin Phillips, 8-2 – UNC 12, UVA 6
184: No. 21 Gavin Kane (UNC) major dec. No. 22 Michael Battista, 16-3 – UNC 16, UVA 6
197: No. 13 Jay Aiello vs. No. 28 Max Shaw (UNC), 13-3 – UNC 16, UVA 10
285: No. 32 Quinn Miller vs. Brandon Whitman (UNC), 5-2 – UVA 16, UVA 13
125: Patrick McCormick dec. Spencer Moore (UNC), 6-4 (sv-1) – UVA 16, UVA 16
* UNC claims match on criteria with 53 total points scored to 45 for Virginia
ECM: No. 23 Brian Courtney dec. Joe Heilmann (UNC), 6-4 (sv-1)
FROM HEAD COACH STEVE GARLAND
“The match ended 16-16 with a five-and five split, but based on the third criteria they won on points to get the 17-16 win in a tiebreaker. It was a ridiculously close and hard-fought dual meet. Some of the positives were winning in our positions and some tough positions when we were able to get into the positions we wrestle well in. The downside was we didn’t execute some of the things we were working on and they executed on the things they do well. We won down the stretch by our guys executing when they got in their positions. We’ve got to get to our stuff. We gave everything we had out there. It hurts to come up a criteria point short, but I love our team and where we’re at right now. We just have to build.”
UP NEXT FOR THE HOOS
Virginia will go back out on the road in ACC competition next weekend, traveling to face No. 5 NC State on Friday (Feb. 4). Wrestling will begin at 7 p.m. at Reynolds Arena and be streamed on ACCNX.