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Monarchs Rebound with 27-6 Dual Win over LU
With the victory, Old Dominion ups its record to 4-2 on the season in dual action. The Monarchs will advance to tomorrow's consolation bracket action, where they will face the loser of the No. 18 Virginia vs. No. 10 Oklahoma bout.
The loss, which was Liberty's second on the day and second in a row to the Monarchs at the Duals, drops the Flames to 6-5 on the season.
Liberty will have one last dual bout later on this evening against Drexel at 5 p.m., who has also suffered consecutive losses to Top 25 programs today. Liberty opened the day with a 36-6 setback to No. 4 Oklahoma State before their loss to Old Dominion, while Drexel has fallen to No. 19 Kent State, 34-6, and No. 24 Virginia Tech, 24-20.
Justin Branham faced his third Top 10 ranked grappler in his last four bouts, this time suffering a 16-0 technical fall loss to Old Dominion's James Nicholson to open the dual at 125 pounds. Nicholson jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead and never looked back, as he ended the bout with a reversal 17 seconds into the third period.
The Monarchs widened their lead to 8-0, thanks to a 5-3 decision in favor of Justin LaValle over Joe Pantaleo. The bout remained scoreless until 40 seconds left in the second period, when Pantaleo scored an escape point. But an early reversal in the third with two near fall points, along with a 2:10 edge on riding time, helped LaValle secure a 5-3 victory.
Takedowns were the key to victory for Craig Wilson over Liberty's Collin Lewis at 141 pounds. The redshirt freshman scored four takedowns, en route to his 8-4 decision win. Wilson carded two during the first three minutes and an additional pair in the second, while all four of Lewis' points came via escape.
Frankie Gayeski, who picked up his 19th win of the season earlier in the day against No. 4 Oklahoma State, was not able to secure his 20th win, as the senior dropped a 5-0 decision to John Nicholson at 149 pounds. Nicholson scored single takedowns in the first and second periods and added an additional point for riding time, pushing Old Dominion's lead to 14-0 in the overall dual.
Shaun Smith was able to give the Flames their first lead in any of the opening five bouts, and the early edge led to a 3-2 decision victory for the senior at 157 pounds over Joey Sheridan. Smith scored a takedown midway through the first and added an escape in the second to put the Flames on the board with the win, 14-3.
Old Dominion came right back by sending one of its two nationally ranked grapplers out onto the mats, as No. 15 Chris Brown was able to pick up a 7-2 decision over Chad Porter. Brown scored late in the first with a takedown and added a second two-point move with five seconds left in the middle period to open up a 5-1 lead. After Brown scored an early reversal, Porter was able to escape, but he was not able to do any more damage to allow the Monarchs to take a 17-3 lead.
Eric Decker scored seven points during the opening three minutes of action and never let Brad Clark gain control, as the senior secured four points for his team with a 9-0 major decision win at 174 pounds. Decker scored an early takedown and five first-period near fall points, while adding a second period escape and one for the riding time edge (4:35) to secure the win.
Liberty was able to score first in the next three bouts, but two of the Monarchs three grapplers managed to bounce back to take the match.
Nick Knowles got a takedown two minutes into his bout with Joe Budi, but the sophomore scored the next four points to take the matchup, 4-2. A reversal in the second period gave Budi the lead in the 184-pound bout, and despite several attempts by Knowles to gain points in the third, Budi was able to fend them off to extend Old Dominion's overall lead to 24-3.
At 197 pounds, Jacobi Johnson scored an early two points with a takedown midway through the first, but Jesse Strawn was able to take the lead with an escape and a late takedown of his own to lead 3-2, before the first whistle blew. Strawn added five points in the second to take control of the bout and eventually secure the 9-2 decision win.
Andrew Wilson kept the theme of scoring early going for the Flames, but this time the heavyweight was able to turn it into a win for Liberty, as the sophomore ended the dual with a 7-2 win over Grant Chapman. Leading 5-0 after five minutes of action, Wilson escaped after a Chapman early takedown in the third, while adding a point for his 2:26 of riding time edge, giving Liberty second bout win against the in-state foe.