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Flames Look to Continue Run in Season Finale
Liberty, winners of five straight dual matches, will look to take its run to a half dozen when the Flames close out their 2008-09 regular-season slate with a home dual against Appalachian State, Monday night, inside the Vines Center.
The Flames are fresh off their second dominating home victory of the year, as Liberty won eight out of 10 bouts en route to a 38-9 victory over in-state foe VMI, last Thursday evening, on Senior Night.
Outside of a forfeit at 125 pounds and a point for riding time in a loss at 197 pounds, Liberty only surrendered eight points on the evening – all coming by escape.
Liberty is unbeaten at home this year and is 11-2-1 lifetime under third year head coach Jesse Castro when hosting opponents on Liberty Mountain. The last time the Flames dropped a dual at home was in a 19-18 setback to George Mason on Feb. 5 of last year, when the Patriots got a major decision in the final bout to eek out the one point victory.
Against the Keydets, all four of Liberty's honored seniors proved victorious on the evening, as the Flames recognized their graduating senior class before the dual event opened.
Tim Harner started the evening with his team-leading 10th win by fall this year, pinning David Yost midway through the second (4:06) to set the tone for the night. The senior, who is ranked as high as No. 19 nationally by W.I.N. Magazine.com at 141 pounds, stands at 22-8 on the year.
Chris Daggett pushed his personal winning streak to six straight with a 15-2 major decision over Vinnie Gallo at 184 pounds. The senior ranks second on the squad in victories, as the Williamstown, W.Va., native is 21-13 during his final go-around with the Flames.
Christian Smith is the Flames final 20-match winner on the year, as the sixth year senior moved to 20-14 on the year with a forfeit victory at 133 pounds on Thursday. The uncontested victory pushed the Suffolk, Va., native's winning streak to seven straight.
Liberty's final honored wrestler last Thursday was heavyweight Patrick Walker, who will be completing his pastoral leadership degree in May. The Newark, Del., native was victorious in his fourth straight trip out onto the mat, as the junior moved to 11-5 on the year with a 6-0 blanking of Josh Wine to close out the home victory for the Flames in grand fashion.
Liberty enters the matchup with Appalachian State with an 11-9-1 dual record, marking the third consecutive year the Flames have reeled off 10 or more dual victories under Castro.
The Flames will be looking to avenge last year's 30-9 setback to the Mountaineers in Boone, N.C., on Feb. 13. Appalachian State won four of the first five weight classes to open up a lead it would never relinquish inside Varsity Gym.
Liberty will be looking to snap a winless streak against the Mountaineers, as the Flames are 0-3-1 in their last four duals with Appalachian State. The Flames last victory in the series was a 21-16 win to open the 1989-90 campaign.
Appalachian State comes into the dual having suffered a 17-15 setback to The Citadel, who Liberty defeated 22-16 on Nov. 15. All in all, the Flames and the Mountaineers have five common opponents on their season schedules, including Campbell, Gardner-Webb, The Citadel, UNC Greensboro and VMI.
Appalachian State posted a 3-2 mark during those contests, with wins over Campbell (34-12), Gardner-Webb (21-18) and VMI (31-15). Liberty fared better against the collection of similar foes, as Liberty was 4-1 against the group with wins over Gardner-Webb (43-6), The Citadel (22-16), Campbell (27-12) and VMI (38-9). Both teams lost to UNC Greensboro – Liberty (13-25) and Appalachian State (7-36).
The Mountaineers will look for leadership from a pair of 20-match winners in Kyle Blevins and Dylan Temple. Blevins is 21-16 during his first collegiate season at 165 pounds, having won three straight and four out of his last five coming into the evening.
Temple will be in one of the featured bouts on Monday, as the 184-pounder is 21-14 on the year and will be challenging Daggett, who has a near identical mark at 21-13 this year. Temple leads the squad with six wins by fall, and enters the matchup riding a six match winning streak.
The other featured matchup of the evening will be at 133 pounds, as Frank Celorrio is slated to go up against Smith. The Mountaineers' 133-pounder had to forfeit his first seven matches of the year, but still is 18-18, thanks to 12 consecutive victories, including a 7-3 decision over No. 26 Sean Clair of Eastern Michigan.
Fans unable to make the trek out to the Vines Center will be able to follow the matchup via the NWCA live stat function. A link to the live stats is available at the top of this page, along with a link on the main page of LibertyFlames.com and the wrestling team's schedule page.
The matchup will serve as the regular-season finale for both programs. On March 7, Liberty will travel to Boiling Springs, N.C., looking to defend its two straight NCAA East Regional titles, while Appalachian State will square off against its Southern Conference foes at the annual conference championship in Charleston, S.C.
Liberty (11-9-1) vs. Appalachian State (7-15-0)
125 – Unknown vs. Austin Annas (2-10)
133 – Christian Smith (20-14) vs. Frank Celorrio (18-18) *
141 – Tim Harner (23-8) vs. Mike Kessler (14-21)
149 – Frankie Gayeski (10-16) vs. Savva Kostis (7-13)
157 – Julian Colon (6-11) or Shaun Smith (8-13) vs. Chip Powell (14-14)
165 – Brad Clark (14-13) vs. Kyle Blevins (21-16)
174 – Aaron Kelley (14-16) vs. Antionne Jones (3-17)
184 – Chris Daggett (21-13) vs. Dylan Temple (21-14)
197 – Brandon Johnson (8-18) vs. David Pritz (7-20)
285 – Patrick Walker (11-5) vs. Brandon Brothers (0-6)
* Had to forfeit seven victories this year