BLACKSBURG, Va.-The Duke University wrestling team opened ACC action this afternoon with a 41-0 setback to 11th-ranked Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils move to 1-4 overall, while the Hokies improve to 2-0 in the ACC and 5-2 overall.
The match started at 125 pounds and five of Virginia Tech's first six wrestlers ranked among the top 13 nationally. Duke redshirt senior Peter Terrezza got things started for the Blue Devils at 125 pounds, battling No. 4 Jarrod Garnett through the first two periods. Garnett, looking for the bonus points for the Hokies, came through in the third period to pin Terrezza and improve to 14-1 overall.
One of the best matches of the afternoon game at 133 pounds between Duke redshirt sophomore Brandon Gambucci and Virginia Tech's Erik Spjut. Gambucci grabbed the early 2-1 lead in the first period, but three near-fall points for Spjut in the second stanza put the Hokie ahead 4-2 with two minutes of wrestling remaining. Gambucci continued to battle in the third, but an escape by Spjut to start the period iced the victory for the sophomore, 5-3.
The excitement continued at 141 pounds with Duke sophomore Tanner Hough taking on No. 13 Zach Neibert. The Hokie scored an early takedown for a 2-0 lead, but Hough held him at bay for the next few minutes before Neibert added a reversal for a 4-0 lead heading into the third period.
Trailing 4-0, Hough fought back with a takedown to start the final stanza. Neibert answered with an escape to make it 5-2. Hough continued to battle Neibert and scored another takedown to make it 5-4. However, Neibert answered again with an escape and held off any late charge from the Blue Devil for a 7-4 decision.
Virginia Tech added a tech fall and a pin at 157 and 165-pounds, respectively, to stretch the lead to 28-0 heading into the final four bouts of the afternoon.
At 174 pounds, Duke redshirt freshman Trey Adamson matched up with Austin Gabel. After a scoreless first period, Adamson scored the first points of the dual with an escape. However, it was Gable who notched the final four points of the match to earn the 4-1 decision and put the Hokies up 31-0.
Duke, despite dropping some hard-fought bouts, continued to compete well in the final three matches. However, the close bouts were not falling in the Blue Devils' favor. Redshirt senior Diego Bencomo dropped a narrow 8-6 decision to Nick Vetterlein at 184 pounds. Bencomo, trailing 5-3 in the third period tied the match 5-5 with a takedown in the final 50 seconds. Vetterlein escaped to make it 6-5 and then added another takedown to stretch the lead to 8-5. Bencomo escaped to bring it within two, but was unable to score that necessary final takedown to force overtime.
The 197-pound dual featured a rematch between Duke's Conner Hartmann and Virginia Tech's Derrick Borlie. Hartmann, Duke's wins leader, defeated Borlie earlier in the season and was in search of his 18th win of the year. The Port Orchard, Wash., native scored first with an escape in the second period and led 1-0 until the final seconds of the stanza when Borlie registered a takedown for the 2-1 advantage. Borlie added two more single points and was able to hold off Hartmann to post the 4-1 decision.
Virginia Tech closed out the match with an 8-1 decision from David Marone over Duke's Brendan Walsh.
The Blue Devils return to action next weekend at VMI and Virginia. Duke takes on the Keydets Jan. 19 and the Cavaliers Jan. 20.
#11 Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-0 ACC) 41; Duke (1-4, 0-1 ACC) 0