The No. 12 Virginia Tech wrestling team dominated the 17th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers inside Cassell Coliseum Sunday, winning eight of 10 matches en route to a 25-6 victory.
No. 8 Jarrod Garnett started the day for Hokies against No. 7 Matt Snyder in the 125-pound weight class. Garnett controlled the entire match, getting four takedowns, a reversal and an additional point for riding time to win the match 11-2.
A major reason for the lopsided victory was that Garnett was successful in preventing Snyder from scoring on takedowns, something he had trouble doing the last two times they met.
“That is something that (head coach Kevin Dresser) has been emphasizing with me a lot is protecting my legs," Garnett said. "If guys aren’t getting to my legs, then they are not scoring, and I am doing the right thing.”
With the win, Garnett became only the seventh wrestler in Tech history to reach 100 career wins, joining team member Pete Yates, who reached the milestone earlier this season. Although it is a tremendous achievement, Garnett tried to not let it become a distraction during his match.
“It’s a nice thing, you know, getting 100 wins. But I was trying to not let it cloud my thoughts," he said. "It is really nice to get it at home, against UVa, and against my conference rival like that."
After Cavalier George DiCamillo defeated Erik Spjut at 133 pounds, 10th-ranked Zach Neibert was able to hold off Joe Spisak to give the Hokies a 7-3 lead in the meet.
At the 149-lb. weight class, No. 11 Nick Brascetta got an upset win over No. 6 Derek Valenti, 3-2. The match was tied 1-1 going into the final period when Valenti was able to get a hold of Brascetta’s leg near the edge of the mat. Brascetta managed stay inbound, grabbed Valenti’s ankle, and got a takedown of his own with just seconds remaining to get the win.
Jesse Dong used a takedown and escape to improve to 2-0 on the year, beating UVa’s Jedd Moore 3-0 to give the Hokies a 13-3 lead halfway through the meet.
The next match was a top-ten bout between No. 4 Pete Yates and No. 9 Nick Sulzer. Yates found himself in an early 2-0 deficit in the first 15 seconds after a takedown, but then got a takedown of his own to end the first period. He kept Sulzer on the bottom for the entire second period, earning more than two minutes of riding time.
In the third period, Yates got an escape and a takedown to seal the win, 7-2. Despite getting taken down early in the match, Yates kept his composure and fought back to remain undefeated for the season.
“I gave up the first takedown, but I wasn’t too worried," he said. "I knew that if I wrestled for the full seven minutes I could win. I am better in every position so I just had to keep things going up the whole time and never stopping."
After redshirt-freshman Austin Gabel was unable to upset ninth-ranked Jon Fausey, unranked Nick Vetterlein was up against No. 16 Stephen Doty at 184 pounds.
Vetterlein controlled the tempo of the match, taking down Doty three times on his way to 7-4 upset win. Although Dresser was happy with the victory, he still believed Vetterlein could have continued to push and earned a major decision for the team.
“I have a lot of confidence in Nick Vetterlein," Dresser said. "I feel like that we could have won that match even more convincing at the end. We took the foot off the gas pedal at the end of the third period when we should have pushed more."
Tech’s Derrick Borlie defeated Zach Nye 9-4 after falling behind in the first period to ensure a victory for the Hokies. In the last match of the day, winless David Marone went up against Derek Papagianopoulos. Marone took care of business, winning the bought 7-1 to give him his first win of the season.
With the win over UVa, Tech improved to 3-1 for the season. The Hokies have won their last seven matches against UVa and 20 of their last 21 ACC dual meets.
This weekend, the Hokies travel to No. 18 Pittsburgh on Friday and then to No. 20 Edinboro on Sunday before having a three-week break prior to the Midlands Open on Dec. 29.