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Daggett's Pin Lead Flames over Patriots

February 17, 2009
|  Fairfax, Va.
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Chris Daggett pinned Zach Ulm at 1:37 of the 184-pound bout to clinch a 23-19 dual victory for Liberty over George Mason.

Chris Daggett pinned Zach Ulm at 1:37 of the 184-pound bout to clinch a 23-19 dual victory for Liberty over George Mason.

For the second straight year, the Flames' dual with the Patriots came down to the final weight class. However, unlike last year, Liberty came out on top of George Mason as senior Chris Daggett pinned Zach Ulm in the first period to give the visitors a 23-19 victory, Tuesday evening, inside the Field House.

Last year, Cayle Byers scored a major decision for the Patriots, with the 197-pounder's 19-5 win over Nick Knowles sealing a come-from-behind 19-18 for George Mason inside the Vines Center on Feb. 5, 2008.

This go around, George Mason sent their nationally ranked grappler out to the mats to open this year's dual. And the No. 9 ranked sophomore came through, carding a 15-3 decision over Brandon Johnson to give the homestanding Patriots the early 4-0 lead.

However, Liberty came roaring back. Junior heavyweight Patrick Walker picked up his 10th victory on the season, blanking Hunter Manspile in a 14-0 major decision to knot the overall dual score at 4-4.

After surrendering six team points by forfeiting the 125-pound bout, Liberty captured the next three weight class matchups to jump out to a 17-10 lead.

Christian Smith opened the trio of consecutive victories for the Flames by recording his team-leading fifth victory by major decision, holding Denny Herndon scoreless in a 9-0 bout at 133 pounds.

Liberty kept things rolling at 141 pounds, as Tim Harner stuck John Delgado to the mats with 24 seconds remaining the first period. The senior's team-leading ninth win by fall on the year ran the Norristown, Pa., native's record to 21-8 on the year and 9-1 in bouts decided by fall.

Leading for the first time on the evening, the Flames widened their advantage at 149 pounds, as Frankie Gayeski recorded his third straight win in a narrow 3-2 decision over Brandon Bucher, giving the visitors a 17-10 lead.

The Patriots countered Liberty's three consecutive wins with a trio of victories of their own, beginning with a Frankie McLaughlin IV 10-4 decision over Julian Colon at 157 pounds.

George Mason followed with a second straight decision, as Jimmy Kaden recorded a 7-2 decision over Brad Clark at 165 pounds to pull within a point, 17-16.

Having won three out of his last four bouts, Aaron Kelley took to the mats for Liberty, looking to halt George Mason's momentum following back-to-back decisions. The junior's 174-pound matchup with Mendbagana Tovuujav was knotted at three point apiece heading into the final two minutes.

However, the Patriot's freshman, who was ranked No. 20 in his weight class to open the month, outscored Kelley 5-2 during the final 120 seconds, giving the rookie his 19th victory of the year in a 9-5 decision, which placed George Mason ahead at 19-17.

But the lead was short-lived for the home squad, as Daggett took control of his bout with Ulm from the onset. The victory by fall at 1:37 gave the senior his 20th win of the year, extending a personal five bout winning streak to steal the overall bout for Liberty.

The victory, Liberty's first in eighth tries in dual matchups with George Mason, pushes the Flames overall record to 10-9-1. The loss, the Patriots' fourth in their last five duals, drops George Mason's season record to 5-9-1.

The Flames, who have now won four straight, will look to extend their streak to five when they welcome in-state rival VMI to the Vines Center on Thursday. Liberty's first home event since a season-opening 43-6 victory over Gardner-Webb on Nov. 11 is slated to begin a 7 p.m.

Prior to the opening whistle, the Flames will honor their trio of seniors, as the match marks Senior Night for the program. During the pre-match ceremony, Liberty will honor Smith, Harner and Daggett.