157 lbers Wade Unger (left) and Jake Keating (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Virginia at Duke
Both teams are looking to rebound after lopsided losses last week and are coming in ready to fight. Brian Courtney had a tough loss after a great week against North Carolina and is looking to get back in the win column. The only ranked vs ranked match will also feature two wrestlers who are looking to get back on track. Josh Finesilver had a very uncharacteristic match last week and was pinned by Bryce Andonian in the first 30 seconds. Verkleeren is battling through a tough stretch in one of the toughest weight classes in the ACC. I think the two actually match up well and this should be a good match. The other match I'm keeping an eye on is at 157; Keating is coming off a huge win over Ed Scott and Wade Unger has been battling in the ACC and punched through his first conference win with an upset of Connor Brady.
125: Patrick McCormick vs. Logan Agin/Ty Naquin
McCormick is coming off a loss to Jakob Camacho last week and is favored on paper over both Logan Agin and Ty Naquin-who the Blue Devils sent out for the first time last week. This match will be critical for seeding at the ACC tournament.
133: #20 Brian Courtney vs. Drake Doolittle
Courtney dropped a tough one to Kai Orine last week; in a close match, Orine was able to catch him on his back for a four-count that broke the match open. Doolittle has had a rough go in the ACC so far and is looking to pick up his first win.
141: Dylan Cedeno vs. Parker Decker/Patrick Rowland
Cedeno is entering the match after falling to Ryan Jack by a riding time in a great match last week. He has wrestled very well in back-to-back weeks against tough competition and is looking to get his hand raised for the first time after a long injury break. Rowland was held scoreless in an 8-0 major decision loss to Collin Gerardi last week and is also looking for his first ACC win.
149: #31 Jarod Verkleeren vs. #14 Josh Finesilver
149 in the ACC is a top-tier weight with five ranked wrestlers, including #3 Tariq Wilson and #5 Bryce Andonian. This is the marquee match of the dual and the only ranked matchup. Verkleeren had a solid start to the season, but has a 1-2 record in ACC competition with a win over Luke Kemerer and losses to Zach Sherman and Tariq Wilson. Finesilver also started the year on an impressive run, but has stumbled in ACC competition; he is 1-2 with losses to Wilson and Andonian and a sudden victory win over #17 Zach Sherman.
157: #27 Jake Keating vs. Wade Unger
Keating is coming off a big upset of then #10 Ed Scott in a wild match. It was back-and-forth early, before Scott locked a cradle that Keating fought off for over a minute; Keating came back in the third to pick up a late takedown for the win. Unger has been impressive in his effort in losses to Austin O'Connor and Ed Scott before breaking through last week with a last-second takedown win over Connor Brady. Unger has been picking up steam and improving throughout the year and seems to be figuring it out at the right time.
165: #23 Justin McCoy vs. Gabe Dinette
McCoy enters after losing his first match of the season last week to Thomas Bullard. He has looked great all year, but looked less aggressive and offensive last week than he is typically. He's looking to rebound against Dinette, who is 0-3 in conference with losses to Bullard, Sonny Santiago and Clayton Ulrey.
174: Justin Phillips vs. #16 Matt Finesilver
Phillips came into ACC competition on a great run and won his first conference match with a pin of James Lledo before running into the buzzsaws of Hayden Hidlay and Clay Lautt to drop his last two matches. Finesilver started the year as one of the hottest wrestlers in the country, but has had a brutal stretch in ACC competition with #9 Clay Lautt, #4 Hayden Hidlay and #3 Mekhi Lewis. All the matches have been competitive and Finesilver has continued to show off his phenomenal defense throughout this run and he is looking to break this streak to get his first ACC win.
184: #25 Michael Battista vs. Vince Baker
Battista started the season on an 11-1 run, including an ACC win over Gregg Harvey before losing to #18 Gavin Kane and #3 Trent Hidlay. He's looking to get back on his attack this week after struggling to get to his offense the past two matches. Baker enters at 10-14 and is winless in the ACC with losses to Kane and Hidlay as well as #10 Hunter Bolen.
197: #17 Jay Aiello vs. Kaden Russell
Aiello entered ACC competition undefeated before dropping his first match to #6 Nino Bonaccorsi. He won his next bout against #31 Max Shaw by a major decision before dropping a sudden victory decision last week to #16 Isaac Trumble. He's looking to return to the win column against Baker, who enters at 13-11 on the year with ACC losses to Shaw, Trumble and #28 Dakota Howard.
285: #32 Quinn Miller vs. Jonah Niesenbaum
Miller comes in at 10-6 on the year and 1-2 in the ACC with a decision win over Brandon Whitman and decision losses to Jake Slinger and #26 Tyrie Houghton. Niesenbaum is 15-8 on the year and 1-2 in the ACC with a win over Whitman and losses to Houghton and #14 Nathan Traxler. This should be a good battle to end the dual with both guys capable of some solid offense when they are in attack mode.