Jan 20, 2009

Flames tie Wolfpack for second time

by Jordan LoSasso, Sports Reporter

The Liberty Flames wrestling team suffered a loss to Wyoming and tied N.C. State for the second consecutive year in a dual match Saturday on N.C. State’s home floor in Raleigh, N.C.

The Flames faced Wyoming in their first match of the afternoon. The Cowboys rode a wave of early momentum and easily defeated the
Flames 44-3 in a dominating performance.

“We were not ready to wrestle,” Coach Jesse Castro said.
An injury sustained at the Virginia Duals last weekend meant Liberty wrestler Joe Pantaleo was unable to compete in the 125-pound weight class. The injury forfeit gave the Cowboys an early 6-0 lead, and they never looked back.

Wyoming’s Cory Vombauer extended the lead with a 5-2 decision over Christian Smith at 133 pounds. Smith has dropped four straight with the loss.

The Flames lone victory came at 141 pounds with a 7-2 decision by senior Tim Harner, who captured his fourth straight victory. The win cut the Cowboy’s lead to 9-3, but they quickly regained the momentum with an 8-0 major decision by Chase Smith over Frankie Gayeski at 149 pounds.

The 157-pound bout between Shaun Smith of Liberty and Wyoming’s Eric Coxbill resulted in a close 8-5 decision win for the Cowboys. The win extended the lead 16-3 in favor of the Cowboys, and it would be the last close contest in the match for Liberty.

Wyoming closed out the match with four pins and a major decision to finish off the Flames 44-3.

Alex Reider pinned Josh Duren at 165 pounds to start the Cowboy’s run. Aaron Kelley was then pinned by the No. 17 ranked grappler Shane Onufer at 174 pounds. Eli Sanchez suffered the same fate against Joe LeBlanc when the No. 9 ranked wrestler at 184 pounds pinned him in the second period.

Andrew Wilson was the only one of Liberty’s last five wrestlers not to get pinned. The match concluded with Wyoming’s heavyweight Jacob Scharbrough pinning No. 30 Patrick Walker.

“The day was bitter sweet, but mostly bitter,” Castro said.
For Liberty, the sweet part came when Walker atoned for his loss earlier in the day by winning the final bout in a decision that secured a tie with perennial ACC power N.C. State for the second straight year.
The Flames were forced to forfeit at 125 pounds and start the match again because of injury, but it did not hurt as the Wolfpack forfeited at 197 pounds.

Christian Smith put an end to his four-match losing streak with a decision over Darrius Little in the 133-pound bout. Harner was able to extend his winning streak at 141 pounds to five matches by upsetting Joe Caramancia in a 10-2 major decision. It gave the No. 11 ranked wrestler his first loss of the season and the Flames an early 7-6 lead.
The Wolfpack began a run at 149 pounds with No. 3 Darrion Caldwell pinning Zack McCray at the end of the first period. The pin was followed by a 6-1 win at 157 pounds and 6-3 decision at 165 points for N.C State. The victories gave the Wolfpack the 18-7 lead.

The streak continued for N.C. State with the 174-pound bout when Jake Burge earned a 12-3 major decision over Aaron Kelley.
Down 22-7 with three bouts left, Chris Daggett sparked the Flames by beating Mark Jahad for a six point major decision. The win was followed with a forfeit at 197 pounds by N.C. State bringing Liberty within three points heading into the final contest.

That set the stage for Walker’s heroics. The heavyweight needed a decision to cap off an improbable Flames comeback in the final match of the dual. Walker was able to gain an 8-2 advantage over Bobby Isola to complete Liberty’s late rally.

The Flames record dropped to 5-6-1 overall after Saturday’s tri-match. The Flames will return to action Saturday with a match at Bucknell University.

Contact Jordan LoSasso at
jlosasso@liberty.edu.

 


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