BLACKSBURG, Va. –Duke redshirt senior heavyweight Jacob Kasper won his 15th straight match and beat his sixth top 20 opponent of the season as the Blue Devils fell to 10th-ranked Virginia Tech 24-19 in ACC wrestling action at Cassell Coliseum Saturday afternoon. Kasper bested No. 18 Andrew Dunn by a 10-0 score to for his 26th win of the year.
Duke falls to 3-5 overall and 0-2 in conference duals. Both losses have come against top 10 opponents. The dual with Virginia Tech (10-2, 2-0) featured one lead change and two ties before the home team locked it up late at 197.
“It was a solid match,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “They have a lot of top-ranked guys and it’s not like they held anyone out of their lineup. I think was good for our guys to see what they can do against a team like that. I definitely take positives out of it and get back and get ready for Gardner-Webb and Virginia.”
Senior Thayer Atkins opened a 6-0 lead for the Blue Devils with his second consecutive pin. Atkins was in full control against rookie Ryan More, leading 4-1 before getting the Hokie 125- pounder on his back for the six team points. It marked just his fifth pin of his career and evened his season record to 10-10 overall.
The Hokies notched three straight victories at 133, 141 and 149 to take a 12-6 lead in the overall dual as 11th-ranked Mitch Finesilver stepped onto the mat.
Mitch, scored an early takedown against B.C. LaPrade, as the Hokie redshirt-freshman came up injured. LaPrade tried to come back and wrestle, but less than a minute later was forced to retire. The medical forfeit gave Duke another six points, tying the dual 12-12 after five matches.
At 165, Zach Finesilver came out and wrestled fourth-ranked David McFadden hard. The Duke redshirt junior scored the first takedown and led 3-2 before a late takedown from McFadden in the first period. Trailing 5-3 after two periods, Zach tried to escape in the third to cut into the lead, but McFadden was impressive on top and locked up riding time for the 6-4 decision and 15-12 lead on the team score.
Matt Finesilver evened the team score for the second time of the afternoon, garnering his fifth straight win with a 6-0 decision over Cody Hughes. Matt led 2-0 after the first period and never let the match in doubt pushing his season record to 18-6 and ACC mark to 2-0.
The back and forth continued as Virginia Tech secured the dual victory with a pin by No. 8 Zack Zavatsky at 184 and a decision from No. 2 Jared Haught in the 197-pound division. Redshirt junior Alec Schenk trailed just 4-2 after the first period, but Haught extended that to 7-3 through two stanzas en route to the 12-5 decision.
Kasper, like he has all season, closed out the match with a strong performance. The nation’s fourth-ranked heavyweight registered a takedown as time was winding down in the first period and never looked back. Leading 5-0 after five minutes of wrestling, Kasper turned Dunn for four nearfall points and added riding time for the bonus points. Six of his eight dual victories have come with bonus points for Duke.
The Blue Devils make a quick turnaround before hosting Gardner-Webb Thursday, Feb. 1. The match is slated for a 7 p.m., start in Card Gymnasium.
No. 10 Virginia Tech 24, Duke 19
125 – Thayer Atkins (Duke) fall Ryan More (VT), 3:18 [VT 0, Duke 6]
133 – No. 17 Dennis Gustafson (VT) dec. Josh Finesilver (Duke), 10-6 [VT 3, Duke 6]
141 – Brent Moore (VT) major dec. Jeremiah Reitz (Duke), 13-5 [VT 7, Duke 6]
149 – Ryan Blees (VT) major dec. Brandon Leynaud (Duke), 20-2 [VT 12, Duke 6]
157 – No. 11 Mitch Finesilver (Duke) medical forfeit B.C. LaPrade (VT) [VT 12, Duke 12]
165 – No. 4 David McFadden (VT) decision Zach Finesilver (VT), 6-4 [VT 15, Duke 12]
174 – No. 20 Matt Finesilver (Duke) decision Cody Hughes (VT), 6-0 [VT 15, Duke 15]
184 – No. 8 Zack Zavatsky (VT) fall Kaden Russell (Duke), 2:04 [VT21, Duke 15]
197 – No. 2 Jared Haught (VT) decision Alec Schenk (Duke), 12-7 [VT 24, Duke 15]
285 – No. 4 Jacob Kasper (Duke) major dec. No. 18 Andrew Dunn (VT), 10-0 [VT 24, Duke 19]