WVU Tops No. 25 Pitt in Backyard Brawl

Amy Salvatore
December 09, 2017

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Redshirt junior Zeke Moisey earned his third pin of the season at 125 pounds, as the West Virginia University wrestling team topped No. 25 Pitt, 24-10, in the Backyard Brawl on Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers (1-2, 0-1 Big 12) defeated the Panthers (1-3, 0-0 ACC) for the first time since 2015, earning a pin at 125 pounds and two major decisions at 149 and 174, respectively. The longest-running series in WVU history, West Virginia has topped Pitt three times in the last four seasons.

"Anytime you beat Pitt it's a good day," said coach Sammie Henson. "We wanted to perform well. We knew that they had a tough team. We have a tough team. We concentrated on a lot of individual work with these guys this week. We followed the game plan, and it worked."

No. 19 Moisey started things off for the Mountaineers, taking on Brendan Price of Pitt at 125 pounds. In the first period, Moisey scored a pair of takedowns and earned two back points to take a 6-1 lead into the second. Moisey then added two more takedowns, before pinning Price with 21 seconds left in the match to give the Mountaineers a 6-0 advantage over the Panthers.

Pitt evened the score at 6-6 with back-to-back wins at 133 and 141 pounds, respectively. Dom Forys, ranked as high as No. 10 nationally via FloWrestling, topped redshirt freshman Matthew Schmitt in a 9-7 decision, while junior Christian Monserrat dropped a 7-1 decision to Nick Zanetta also ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation by FloWrestling.

With the team score tied at six apiece, redshirt freshman Kyler Rea came out strong and put the team score back in favor of the Mountaineers with his victory at 149 pounds and never looked back. In the first period, Rea scored two takedowns and four near-fall points to take an 8-1 lead into the second. Rea then added seven more points in the last two periods to win a 15-3 major decision over Pitt's Alesandro Murray.

With the Mountaineers holding a 10-6 lead, redshirt sophomore Zachary Moore squared off against Pitt's No. 17 Taleb Rahmani for the second time in as many weeks. Moore fell to Rahmani at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last Saturday but bounced back today for the 3-1 decision at 157 pounds to push the Mountaineers ahead 13-6 over the Panthers.

The two remained scoreless through the first period until Rahmani notched an escape to begin the second period. Moore then escaped in the third period to even the match at 1-1. At the end of regulation, the match was tied at one-all heading to sudden victory. However, Henson challenged that Moore should have been awarded a takedown at the end of the third. The ruling on the mat was reversed in favor of West Virginia, as Moore was given the 3-1 victory over Rahmani.

Moore's victory at 157 pounds gave WVU the 13-3 advantage over Pitt going into intermission.

After the break, the Mountaineers went on to claim four of the next five matches over the Panthers for the 24-10 team victory.

Freshman Nick Kiussis bested No. 16 Jake Wentzel in an 8-3 decision. After a scoreless first period, Wentzel scored an escape for the 1-0 lead heading into the final period. In the third, Kiussis used two reversals and four back points to win the match.

With West Virginia holding a 10-point lead over the Panthers, redshirt senior Parker VonEgidy earned four more points for the Mountaineers with a 10-2 major decision over Pitt's Austin Bell at 174 pounds.

Freshman Brenden McRill then earned a 7-4 decision at 184 pounds, while redshirt senior Jacob A. Smith returned to the mat for the first time this season at 194 pounds, earning the 5-2 decision over Kellan Stout in the first-round tiebreaker.

Sophomore Brandon Ngati dropped a major decision to No. 13 Ryan Solomon in the heavyweight bout to cap the day for the Mountaineers, but West Virginia prevailed in the team scoring for the 24-10 victory over Pitt.

Of note, the Mountaineers were deducted two-match points for unsportsmanlike conduct and loss of mat control.

Looking ahead, the Mountaineers will take a week off from competition before traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia, for a match against the Virginia Tech Hokies on Friday, Dec. 22.

For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUWrestling on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

West Virginia 24, No. 25 Pitt 10
125: No. 19/19/- Zeke Moisey (WVU) wins by fall Brenden Price (Pitt), F 6:39
133: No. 10/11/13 Dom Forys (Pitt) dec. Matthew Schmitt (WVU), 9-7
141: No. 12/17/- Nick Zanetta (Pitt) dec. Christian Monserrat (WVU), 7-1
149: Kyler Rea (WVU) major dec. Alesandro Murray (Pitt), 15-3
157: Zachary Moore (WVU) dec. No. 17/18/20 Taleb Rahmani (Pitt), 3-1
165: Nick Kiussis (WVU) dec. No. 16/-/- Jake Wentzel (Pitt), 8-3
174: Parker VonEgidy (WVU) major dec. Austin Bell (Pitt), 10-2
184: Brenden McRill (WVU) dec. Gregg Harvey (Pitt), 7-4
197: No. 5/5/- Jacob A. Smith dec. (WVU) Kellan Stout (Pitt), 5-2 [TB-1]
285: No. 15/15/13 Ryan Solomon (Pitt) major dec. Brandon Ngati (WVU), 8-0

*Rankings are listed as followed: FloWrestling/Intermat/The Open Mat*

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