Freshman Jeremiah Reitz's first career win in a dual match could not have come at a better time for the Blue Devils.

Reitz's 4-2 win by decision against Sam Martino at 141 pounds in the penultimate match of Duke's meeting with Virginia clinched the Blue Devils' 19-16 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first time they have topped the Cavaliers since 2005 and their first ACC win in two years. Reitz was 0-9 in dual matches entering the day, but beat Martino in the Cliff Keen Open in December and picked up an early takedown to earn the same result Saturday afternoon.

"When you see a freshman like him that’s talented, that comes from a talented region in Indiana that’s known for tough wrestlers, talented wrestlers, he’s out of that pedigree," Duke head coach Glen Lanham said. "Everybody knows you have to have a breakthrough, and he definitely had a breakthrough tonight.... He knew the pressure was on him to win. We weren’t favored in the following match, so we knew we had to get it, and he went out there and got it."

No. 11 Mitch Finesilver set the tone to start the match with a 16-0 win by technical fall to push the Blue Devils (5-5, 1-2 in the ACC) to an early 5-0 lead. The teams then split the next four decisions to head into the intermission with Duke ahead 11-6, and No. 4 heavyweight Jacob Kasper delivered like he has all year to stretch Duke's lead immediately after the break.

A last-second score gave Kasper a 15-point margin against Tyler Love at 19-4, earning him a technical fall and an extra point for the Blue Devils on the team scoreboard. Kasper is now 10-0 in dual matches in his final season, and Finesilver is not far behind at 157 pounds, with an 8-2 record as a redshirt junior.

"Every team, you have to have some horses—thoroughbreds, I should say—that you know are going to go out there and you can count on them to do big things. We’ve been fortunate to have that for the last couple years," Lanham said. "Big wrestlers do big things, and that’s what these guys are. They’re primetime wrestlers."

Despite the Blue Devils' 16-6 lead, the match was far from over. They would still have to win at least one or potentially two of the last four matches, depending on how many bonus points Virginia earned, and the Cavaliers (4-8, 0-3) still had two ranked wrestlers left in their lineup, compared to none for Duke.

Senior Thayer Atkins at 125 pounds and freshman Matt Finesilver at 133 pounds were defeated by those top-16 opponents in the next two matches. But they both kept it close and lost by 1-0 and 5-0 decisions, respectively, which only allowed the Cavaliers to cut Duke's lead to 16-12.

"It took a lot of grit from not just the guys that won, but the guys that lost, too," Lanham said. "Obviously on paper, those guys are thinking they’re going to bonus in those two weights."

That set the stage for Reitz to clinch a victory with any type of win—and he delivered. 

Brandon Leynaud lost at 149 pounds 17-5 by major decision after the outcome of the team match had been decided.

The Blue Devils have now won two in a row after a 38-3 rout of Gardner-Webb at home Thursday night, and they will hit the road next to visit Appalachian State Thursday before hosting Pittsburgh Feb. 11. The dual-match season is about halfway done, with the ACC championships four weeks away.

"I just want us to wrestle free. I saw this documentary on freesurfing, and it was about these surfers that they go out into these huge waves, and they don’t care, and for those guys, it’s like you can make one move and you could die," Lanham said. "And they call it freesurfing. Your mind is free. You’re not worried about anything, and that’s what I told our guys tonight. I said, 'Look, it’s not like you’re out there against a big wave. Just wrestle free. Wrestle with your mind clear.'"