Jackrabbits come up short at No. 5 Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Fifth-ranked Virginia Tech controlled the first half of the dual and went on to defeat No. 16 South Dakota State, 29-15, Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.
With the win, the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Hokies improved to 17-1 overall. SDSU dropped to 13-4 in duals this season, with all four losses coming against teams currently ranked in the top 12 of the latest Division I USA Today/National Wrestling Coaches Association poll.
The Jackrabbits grabbed an early 3-0 lead on the strength of a 9-4 decision by Luke Zilverberg over David Bergida in the 165-pound weight class. Zilverberg’s victory was his 20th of the season against six losses.
Virginia Tech rattled off victories in the next five weight classes – all by ranked wrestlers – to take a commanding 22-3 lead. The Hokies’ streak started in the 174-pound bout as fifth-ranked Zach Epperly recorded a 3-1 overtime decision over 16th-ranked David Kocer.
At 184 pounds, fourth-ranked Zack Zavatsky fended off a challenge from SDSU’s Martin Mueller for an 8-3 decision that put the Hokies ahead 6-3.
After the Jackrabbits forfeited to third-ranked Jared Haught in the 197-pound matchup, the Hokies’ fifth-ranked heavyweight Ty Walz scored a 20-5 technical fall over Alex Macki.
Third-ranked Joey Dance turned in the third bonus-point victory in a row for Virginia Tech with a 21-4 technical-fall victory over Ben Gillette as the dual moved to the lower weights at 125 pounds.
SDSU’s Seth Gross ended the Hokies’ string of victories with a third-period pin over Dennis Gustafson. The win was Gross’s team-leading 25th of the season – against only one loss – and marked the 11th pin of the season for the second-ranked wrestler at 133 pounds.
Henry Pohlmeyer made it back-to-back pins for the Jackrabbits as he put Brendan Ryan’s shoulders to the mat in the 141-pound bout in 1 minute and 14 seconds. Pohlmeyer’s fifth pin of the season pulled SDSU to within 22-15 with two matches to go.
Virginia Tech, however, ended hopes of a Jackrabbit comeback with its second overtime decision of the day in a match between two ranked wrestlers. SDSU’s Alex Kocer, ranked 16th, trailed sixth-ranked Solomon Chishko, 6-3, heading into the third period, but picked up two stalling points and a point for the riding-time advantage to force overtime. Midway through the overtime period, Chishko recorded a takedown for the 8-6 victory.
In the final match of the dual, 15th-ranked 157-pounder Sal Mastriani of Virginia Tech notched a 14-4 major decision over Logan Peterson.
SDSU is in line to compete in next week’s NWCA National Duals Championship Series. An announcement on pairings and host sites is planned for late Sunday evening.
No. 5 Virginia Tech 29, No. 16 South Dakota State 15
165: Luke Zilverberg (SDSU) dec. David Bergida (VT), 9-4
174: #5 Zach Epperly (VT) dec. #16 David Kocer (SDSU), 3-1 [SV-1]
184: #4 Zack Zavatsky (VT) dec. Martin Mueller (SDSU), 8-3
197: #3 Jared Haught (VT) won by forfeit
285: #5 Ty Walz (VT) tech. fall Alex Macki (SDSU), 20-5 [5:49]
125: #3 Joey Dance (VT) tech. fall Ben Gillette (SDSU), 19-4 [6:07]
133: #2 Seth Gross (SDSU) def. Dennis Gustafson (VT) by fall 6:35
141: Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU) def. Brendan Ryan (VT) by fall 1:14
149: #6 Solomon Chishko (VT) dec. #16 Alex Kocer (SDSU), 8-6 [SV-1]
157: #15 Sal Mastriani (VT) major dec. Logan Peterson (SDSU), 14-4