Redshirt junior Nino Bonaccorsi recorded one of the best wins of the NCAA Division I wrestling season thus far on Friday night, knocking off undefeated and No. 2-ranked Jay Aiello of Virginia by 7-5 decision at 197 pounds. With the dual between the Panthers and Cavaliers tied 13-13 entering the bout, No. 14 Bonaccorsi defeated the defending ACC champion despite falling behind not once, but twice. But Bonaccorsi (5-1) used a relentless pace and an offensive attacking display late in the match that proved to be too much for Aiello. Bonaccorsi earned three takedowns, including one in the final seconds that swung the individual matchup in his favor.
The loss ended a streak of winning 24 straight bouts in dual competition for the Virginia grappler. Aiello, a Chantilly, Virginia product, went 14-0 last season and won seven straight to end the 2019 campaign. He has won 18 consecutive matches overall dating back to the finals of the Midlands Championships last season. This was Aiello’s first loss this season. He is now 5-1 on the year.
— Pitt Wrestling (@Pitt_WRES) January 30, 2021
The win comes as a bounce-back signature victory for Bonaccorsi. In his Jan. 22 match at ACC rival NC State, then-No. 5 Bonaccorsi fell victim to an upset, which was also one of the biggest upsets of the NCAA Division I season at that point. Bonaccorsi lost handily, 6-1, to then-unranked true freshman, Isaac Trumble of NC State, who was making his college dual debut. The Panthers’ lone point in that match came via a locked hands call.
With the big bounce-back W against Aiello, Bonaccorsi will see his national ranking rise in every major poll later this week. He should find himself back inside the top 10 in the 197-pound weight class.
Next up, the Bethel Park, Pennsylvania native will be back in Fitzgerald Field House as his Panthers (3-2, 1-2 ACC) face conference foe North Carolina (2-2, 1-2 ACC). In that matchup, Bonaccorsi likely faces Max Shaw (3-1). Shaw’s only loss this season also came against NC State’s Isaac Trumble, via fall, on Jan.29.
*All individual ranking information is via FloWrestling rankings.