Panthers lose first-ever ACC match at No. 14 Virginia

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Panthers lose first-ever ACC match at No. 14 Virginia

By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

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The Pitt wrestling team faced a blow on Sunday that it had yet to meet in its program: an ACC loss.

The team’s first-ever ACC conference loss came against No. 14 Virginia, 17-16, on the road Sunday.

The No. 10 Panthers (7-4, 2-1 ACC) won eight straight ACC matches dating back to 2013, when the team joined the conference, but an early deficit on Sunday proved too much to overcome.

Pitt’s Dom Forys and Ben Ross lost the first two bouts of the day, putting the visiting Panthers in an early 7-0 hole.

As has been the case for most of the season, Pitt’s ranked wrestlers own their individual bouts. No. 20 Mikey Racciato, No. 7 Tyler Wilps and No. 2 Max Thomusseit each won in the middle matches.

Pitt’s only ranked wrestler to lose was No. 17 Nick Bonaccorsi, who dropped his bout to No. 19 Zach Nye, 2-1.

The teams entered the last two bouts trailing 14-13, meaning the Panthers had to either win both bouts or score bonus points in a major decision to beat the Cavaliers (10-3, 2-0 ACC).

Bonaccorsi took the mat at that point and went to sudden victory after a 1-1 tie through three periods. Nye earned one escape point in the first tiebreaker, giving him and Virginia the match win.

Pitt heavyweight Ryan Solomon then had to win and earn bonus points for the Panthers to pull the match in Pitt’s favor. The redshirt freshman still won his individual bout 4-3 but, without bonus points for a major victory, Virginia still escaped with a one-point win.

Thomusseit again dominated his opposition, earning a technical fall over Tyler Askey with a 21-6 win. The redshirt senior extended his undefeated dual meet record to 11-0 and sits at 19-1 overall on the season — his one loss this season came in a tournament.

Wilps faced off against a fellow top-10 wrestler, No. 5 Blaise Butler of Virginia. Butler was coming off ACC Wrestler of the Week honors, but Wilps bested the junior 6-2 in the 174-pound weight class.

Pitt’s road trip will continue to be grueling work in the near future. The Panthers are idle next week, but travel to Blacksburg to face No. 9 Virginia Tech on Feb. 6.

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