[caption id="attachment_4416" align="aligncenter" width="700"]
The #5 Hokies take down #23 Pittsburgh and Virginia. [Credit: Harley Taylor][/caption]The fifth-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies had two important ACC matches this past weekend after winning the Virginia Duals with 23rd-ranked Pittsburgh and rival Virginia both paying visits to Blacksburg over the weekend. Unsurprisingly, the Hokies took care of business quite comfortably in these two matches.
#5 Virginia Tech beat #23 Pittsburgh 38-9 and cruised by Virginia 29-14 in what was another dominant weekend for the Hokies against solid competition. The Hokies continue to be one of the best teams in the nation with a team that is built even stronger for multi-team tournaments instead of dual-meet competition with having 5 wrestlers ranked in the top 4 at their respective weight classes.
Sal Mastriani bounced back from a bad final day at the Virginia Duals to have a dominant weekend at Cassell Coliseum as the Hokies' 16th-ranked 157 wrestler opened on Friday with a 16-1 tech fall victory over Pittsburgh's Nathan Russell. Then, Mastriani gained a huge win over Virginia's 14th-ranked Andrew Atkinson in a 9-8 decision that may also be a preview of the battle for the 157 ACC title in just over a month.
Mastriani's strong bounce-back weekend is a great sign for the Hokies that not only is he starting to heat up, but that he is also is more healthy which will be critical going forward.
Joey Dance had arguably the best single win of the weekend as he beat Virginia's seventh-ranked Jack Mueller via an 11-3 major decision on Sunday after Pittsburgh conceded the 125 and 133 matches on Friday. Dance is definitely having the best season of his career and is definitely one of the top 2 contenders for the national title at 125 along with Iowa's Thomas Gilman.
Solomon Chishko was unable to wrestle this weekend due to a stomach illness but Mattheos Lozier stepped in and got a win on Friday before taking a major decision loss Sunday. 141 is the big weakness for the Hokies with Brendan Ryan losing on Friday and the Hokies conceding at that weight on Sunday with the health of Kevin Norstrem being unknown.
Dennis Gustafson seems to also be getting healthier and had an 8-0 major decision victory on Sunday over Virginia's Will Mason while David Bergida went 0-2 on the weekend with 165 looking like the second biggest weakness after 141 for the Hokies right now.
The Hokies' heavy hitting finish was unsurprisingly dominant as Zach Epperly, Zack Zavatsky, Jared Haught, and Ty Walz all were undefeated this weekend with Walz's 8-3 victory Pitt's Ryan Solomon to be the only non-major decision or tech fall victory from the Hokies' final four wrestlers.
Kevin Dresser's team is looking unsurprisingly strong ahead of a trip to Lehigh and home match at the Moss Arts Center against Duke this upcoming weekend while the big ACC showdown with NC State looms in less than three weeks. For the Hokies, keeping everybody healthy will be of the utmost importance before the big showdown in Cassell Coliseum on February 11th with the Wolfpack.
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