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Pitt Wrestling

Pitt Wins again at Fieldhouse, Taking Down Virginia 25-10



PITTSBURGH — Stands at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse were filled with fans ready to watch the University of Pittsburgh, University of Virginia match-up and the Panthers did not disappoint. Several matches were slated to go either way, with Pitt coming out on top nearly every time to secure the win.

After the match, Head Coach Keith Gavin said with so many close matches, they knew the meet would be tight but he was happy with the 25-10 win. “We’re on the right path at this point in the season and we just have to stay the course,” Gavin said.

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Gavin added the team wanted a win at 184 where Pitt’s No. 31 Gregg Harvey faced off against Virginia’s No. 23 Michael Battista. Although Harvey did not win that match, Nino Bonaccorsi was able to get things back on track for the team at 197.

Bonaccorsi owned No. 11 Jay Aiello in the circle, serving him his first loss of the season. The two have wrestled each other several times over the years, but Aiello still has yet to find a win against the Panther. “He’s scrappy and so I knew I had to finish clean and quick,” Bonaccorsi said. “So when your effort is high and you’re looking for that finish it makes it easier.”

Bonaccorsi truly looked to just be having fun serving Aiello takedowns in front of the Pittsburgh crowd. “I love wrestling out here,” Bonaccorsi added. “I’m always grateful for the sport. Above all the wins and losses, this is what I love to do.”

Another huge match for the team came at 285. At first, Pitt’s Jake Slinger struggled to find any points to start, but eventually found a groove on top against No. 26 Quinn Miller.

“I just made sure I was driving forward, staying underneath his arms, listening to the coaches because they were telling me to ride heavy,” Slinger said.

This is not the first time Slinger has met Miller in the circle but this time, he was ready for a win. “I feel good, it’s a good win, I didn’t do so well against him last year,” Slinger said. “I ended up losing by major decision, it wasn’t good but we’re turning things around this year.”

Gavin said while he’s happy for the win, the team is already looking forward towards their match scheduled for Friday, January 28, against No. 7 Virginia Tech. “It’s a process, every guy has things they need to continue to improve on,” Gavin said of the upcoming match. “But I like where we’re at physically.”




Pitt’s Gage Curry chased points against Virginia’s Patrick McCormick. Score at the end of the first period remained 0-0. Curry took bottom in the second, earning as escape, continuing to get after McCormick but struggling to do much more than hand-fight. Score by the end of the second, 1-0. McCormick had his turn on bottom in the third, tying up the score with an escape. Curry, tired of not scoring, immediately took McCormick down to put another two on the scoreboard. McCormick was able to earn another point with an escape before Curry shot again, failing turn earn points. Final score, Curry-3, McCormick-2.



Pitt’s Micky Phillippi fought hard to not allow any takedown points for Virginia’s Trey Lane Using the edge of the circle, Phillippi was able to stay on his feet until he got his own takedown points in the first period. Phillippi allowed Lane up before taking him down again. Score going into the second period, 4-1. Phillippi continued with a series of takedowns through the remainder of the second, while Lane was called for stalling, the two ended the period with a score of 18-5. Starting the third off neutral, Phillippi continued with takedowns, winning the match by technical fall with 1:30 left in the match.



In the final match of the evening, Pitt’s Cole Matthews started off his match with Virginia’s Evan Buchanan strong with a take down on the whistle. Buchanan earned an escape to bring the score to 2-1 at the end of the first. Buchanan took bottom to start the second but Matthews was unwilling to give up points, putting Buchanan in a cradle to rack up four nearfall points. Starting the third with a score of 6-1, Matthews earned another point before taking another two points for a take down. Final score with ride time, Matthews-10, Buchanan-1.



Pitt’s Luke Kemerer started the dual off quick with an attempted take down right at the whistle. Virginia’s Jarod Verkleeren countered and got the 2. Kemerer was able to get the escape before the end of the period. The score was 1-2 after the first period. In the second, Kemerer chose down, struggling to earn any points, both wrestlers earned themselves stall warnings. The score remained 1-2 by the end of the second. Verkleeren chose bottom in the third, Kemerer attempted to stay on top, working the edge of the circle but was called for stalling, giving Verkleeren a point. Back in the center, Verkleeren escaped and got a take down with a minute left in the match before allowing Kemerer to earn a final escape point. Final score: Kemerer-2, Verkleeren-7.



A scoreless first period for Pitt’s Elijah Cleary and Virginia’s Jon Errico. Errico chose bottom in the second period.  Cleary did not make it easy for Errico to score on bottom, staying heavy on top but giving up a point nearly a minute into the period. At the end of the second, the score was 0-1. Cleary took bottom in the third period and scored his escape right on the whistle. Tying up the score with just a minute remaining in the match. In neutral, Cleary took a shot with seconds left which brought the score to 3-1. Errico escaped with 12 seconds left in the match but it wasn’t enough to win. Final score: Cleary-3, Errico-2.



Pitt’s Jake Wentzel fought for a takedown with a minute left in the first period against Virginia’s Jake Keating. As Keating looked for a reversal, Wentzel kept his hips high and was able to stay on top until the end of the period. With a score of 2-0 going into the second, the wrestlers chose to stay neutral. Within the first 20 seconds of the period, Wentzel was able to get another takedown and four nearfall points. Virginia’s coaches challenged the call, referees then changed the call to only two nearfall points. By the end of the second period, the score remained 6-0. Wentzel chose bottom in the third and earned another point with an escape. Wentzel then earned another takedown. With riding time, the final score: Wentzel-10, Keating-0.



Virginia’s Justin Phillips stepped onto the mat hot, earning two takedowns within a minute of the first period against Pitt’s James Lledo. Lledo attempted to reverse the second take down, points were awarded and after a challenge from Virginia, referees took the points away. Score going into the second period, 1-4. In the second, Lledo took bottom and earned an escape. Phillips was able to earn another takedown while on his feet. Lledo was able to escape with seconds left in the second, score going into the third, 3-6. Phillips started the third on bottom, earning a reversal and Lledo taking a point for an escape. Phillips was able to score a final take down with one second left in the match. Final score with ride time, Lledo-5 Phillips-14.



Pitt’s Gregg Harvey was hungry for a win, earning a takedown in the first period before allowing Virginia’s Michael Battista to earn an escape point. Battista earned a takedown shortly after getting to his feet before Harvey racked up his own escape point. Score after the first period, 3-3. In the second, Harvey started the period on bottom and struggled to get to his feet in the beginning but eventually earned a point with 54 seconds left in the second. Battista capitalized on being neutral and was able to score a take down at the buzzer. Score at the end of the second, 4-5. Battista took bottom in the third and popped up to his feet on the whistle. Harvey looked tired in the final minute, giving up a takedown and earning an escape before the final buzzer. Final score with ride time: Harvey-5, Battista-9.




A big match-up between Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi and Virginia’s Jay Aiello and Bonaccorsi came to play. Bonaccorsi got on the board early with a takedown just seconds into the match. Aiello earned a point with an escape before Bonaccorsi took another two points, let Aiello up, fought for a third take down with seconds remaining. Virginia challenged the call but points were awarded to Bonaccorsi. Score after the first period, 6-2. Bonaccorsi was on bottom to start the second, earned an escape and then took Aiello down. Aiello earned himself a stall warning in the second before he got a point for escaping. At the end of the second, the score was 9-3. Aiello took bottom in the third and earned another escape. Final score, Bonaccorsi-9, Aiello-4.



At heavyweight, Pitt’s Jake Slinger and Virginia’s Quinn Miller struggled to score. Miller took bottom in the second period, Slinger attempted to turn him for some nearfall points but ended in a stalemate. Slinger owned the top position, not giving up any points for most of the period. Miller was able to earn an escape at the end of the second for a score of 0-1 going into the third. Slinger took bottom in the third and was able to get ahead with a reversal. Miller did very little on bottom for the remainder of the match, earning a stall warning and then giving up a point. Final score, Slinger-4, Miller-1


Final team score: Pitt 25, Virginia, 10. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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T Vax
T Vax
8 months ago

I’d suggest you start the match summary with the match weight that actually started the dual

Poor writing to just start at the lowest weight and then find out that the 3rd match in the story sequence was actually the final match


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