#10 Virginia Tech capped off a big weekend at Cassell Coliseum with a win over ACC foe Duke on Saturday afternoon by a score of 24-19. The victory comes less than 24 hours after the Hokies picked up their biggest win of the season over a storied program in 9th ranked Lehigh. Despite the two wins being big for the team this season, it may not be the most important storyline for the Hokies when they look back at this weekend.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Norstrem injured himself in warm-ups Friday night and Virginia Tech would have to forfeit the 125 pound weight class to Lehigh as a result. On Saturday, true freshman, Ryan More, got the start at 125 and was pinned in the first minute of the second period by Duke’s Thayer Atkins. Virginia Tech head coach Tony Robie confirmed after the match that Nortsrem will be out for a few weeks, but hopes to have Norstrem return in time for VT’s match against NC State.
The other injury occurred on Saturday when B.C. LaPrade had to forfeit in the first period due to an injury he suffered against Duke’s Matt Finesilver. This is after he pulled out a 3-2 victory yesterday against Lehigh that gave Virginia Tech a 10-9 lead going into intermission.
Robie was mindful of the Top-10 victory his team picked up against Lehigh yesterday and noted that the crowd in Cassell was awesome. But, when he first thinks about this weekend, it’s the loss of two starters that comes to mind first.
“We had two injuries that, at this particular time of the year, are tough to deal with. With Norstrem out and potentially B.C. LaPrade out, it’s going to make things really tough and we’re going to have to have some other guys step up here moving forward,” said Robie.
Despite the opening pin from Duke’s Thayer Atkinson at 125, Virginia Tech battled back and answered on a 12-0 run.
Redshirt senior, Dennis Gustafson, stayed hot from Friday night and claimed a 10-4 win over Josh Finesilver at 133.
Brent Moore, who has burst onto the scene for the Hokies recently, picked up a major decision victory over Jeremiah Reitz with a score of 13-5.
At 149, Ryan Blees was electrifying on the mat and won on a technical fall, the only one of the match for Virginia Tech. The crowd was roaring at the end of this one, as Blees won by a final score of 21-2.
After Duke gained six points after LaPrade’s injury, the match was tied at 12-12.
At 165, David McFadden improved to 26-0 on the season, after defeating Duke’s Zach Finesilver, 6-4. Finesilver made McFadden work hard for this win as he kept it close all three periods.
Zach Finesilver’s brother, Matt, defeated Virginia Tech’s Cody Hughes at 174, winning with a score of 6-0. Duke had once again tied the match, this time at 15-15.
Then at 184, Cassell got loud once again for 8th ranked Zack Zavatsky, pinning Duke’s Kaden Russell within the first 2.5 minutes of the first period. With his win, Virginia Tech went up 21-15 with two matches to go. The lone pin of the match was a turning point in the match.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve pinned somebody,” explained Zavatsky after the match. “I usually like getting a lot of takedowns and scoring a lot of points, but the opportunity presented itself and I just ended the match right there.”
Duke was put into a must win situation at 197 to have any chance of staying in the match. Second ranked Jared Haught ended any chances of an upset with a 12-5 victory over Alec Schenk of Duke. That win clinched the match for Virginia Tech.
Despite the match already being decided, the only match-up featuring two ranked opponents came in the heavyweight class. #18 Andrew Dunn of Virginia Tech lost to #4 Jacob Kaspser of Duke by a major decision, 11-0. It’s now back-to-back matches that Dunn has been held scoreless by his opponents.
This win moves Virginia Tech to 12-2 on the season and 2-0 in ACC play. They host North Carolina at home next Saturday, in what will be a special day for the program as they honor seniors Jared Haught and Dennis Gustafson.
They’ll finish the regular season on the road as they face Virginia on February 11th and North Carolina State on February 16th