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Flames to Open Home Slate with Wolfpack
The Liberty Flames wrestling program will begin the home portion of its 2007-08 season this Saturday, when Liberty hosts defending ACC champion N.C. State inside the Vines Center. The match is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m.
Liberty enters the dual fresh off a third-place finish at last weekend's Virginia State Intercollegiate championship, hosted by Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. During the one-day event, the Flames had a quintet of individual grapplers place, including a pair of runner-up finishes by Tim Harner (141 pounds) and Chris Daggett (184 pounds).
Liberty comes into the evening event boasting a 3-5 dual meet record, which includes victories over Campbellsville (26-9 at the Campbellsville Duals), Cumberland (21-16 at the Hoosier Duals) and Newberry (24-13 at the Campbellsville Duals). At the time of the match, Newberry ranked No. 9 in the latest NWCA NCAA Division II poll, while Campbellsville entered the season ranked atop the NAIA national standings as the country's top-ranked program.
N.C. State (5-5) finds itself on a four-match winning streak, including a 27-10 dual victory over conference opponent Duke, Wednesday evening, in both squads' ACC opener.
Prior to the midweek match-up with the Blue Devils, the Wolfpack swept three matches at the N.C. State Duals, with victories over Gardner-Webb (29-13), Anderson (42-9) and Campbell (29-6).
Two of N.C. State's five dual match losses on the year have come at the hands of the nation's best. The Wolfpack dropped a 30-9 match to Oklahoma, who is currently ranked No. 18 in the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll, while falling 37-9 to Iowa, who ranks No. 2 nationally heading into this week.
Three weight classes highlight the docket on the evening. At 141 pounds, Harner (17-9) squares off against No. 8 ranked Joe Caramanci (20-4), followed by Scottie Clymer (10-14) grappling with No. 9 Darrion Caldwell (20-3) at 149 pounds. The final match of the evening will pit Liberty's Patrick Walker (15-8) against Bobby Isola (10-8) at heavyweight.
Both Harner and Walker finished the 2006-07 season with a perfect 5-0 mark at home, as did the program. Under head coach Jesse Castro, Liberty swept three matches from Campbellsville (27-16), James Madison (29-14) and Newberry (26-14) in November. Liberty opened up the New Year with a dominating 47-3 home win over King College, before closing out its 2006-07 home slate with a thrilling 30-13 victory over intra-state opponent VMI.
Flame fans unable to attend the weekend event can follow the action live via the world wide web, as LibertyFlames.com, the official web site of the Liberty Flames, will be providing live stats mat side from the Vines Center.
Probable Starters (Liberty vs. N.C. State)
125 - Sean Katz (10-12) vs. Taylor Cummings (15-8)
133 - T.J. Mitchell (8-8) vs. Darius Little (6-7)
141 - Tim Harner (17-9) vs. No. 8 Joe Caramanica (20-4)
149 - Scottie Clymer (10-14) vs. No. 9 Darrion Caldwell (20-3)
157 - Shaun Smith (8-12) vs. Ray Ward (4-4)
165 - Chad Porter (14-14) vs. Jalil Dozier (7-7)
174 - Aaron Kelley (15-14) vs. Randy Goodman (5-11)
184 - Kyle Walters (2-2) vs. Ryan Goodman (11-4)
197 - Patrick Hogan (2-6) vs. Mark Jahad (7-10)
HWT - Patrick Walker (15-8) vs. Bobby Isola (10-8)