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Bison Erase Flames Lead En Route to Win

January 23, 2010
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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In a match televised on the Flames Sports Network, Liberty fell to Bucknell, 30-15, inside the Vines Center on Saturday.

In a match televised on the Flames Sports Network, Liberty fell to Bucknell, 30-15, inside the Vines Center on Saturday.

The visiting Bison found themselves in a 15-11 hole after four bouts and trailing in the fifth. But Bucknell got a second-period pin that turned the match in its favor, as the visitors left the Vines Center with a 30-15 dual victory on Saturday afternoon.

The victory pushed Bucknell's dual record to 8-5 on the season and gave the Bison three-straight wins over the Flames. The loss was the fourth setback in a row for Liberty in dual action, dropping the Flames to 6-7 on the season.

Liberty got out to a strong start when Jonathan Childress got his third victory by fall on the year, as the 125-pound freshman pinned Derrik Russell in 86 seconds to give Liberty the early 6-0 lead.

However, the Bison knotted the score at six all, thanks to a second-period fall by David Marble at 133 pounds. Joe Pantaleo led early, as he scored a takedown 30 seconds into the bout, but Marble, currently ranked No. 17 nationally in his weight class, quickly escaped.

After adding a takedown with five seconds left in the first period, Marble led by one point, 3-2. Pantaleo started the second period in the down position and Marble reversed control midway through the period, setting up a win by fall with five ticks left in the second period (4:55).

Things looked like they were going to stay in favor of the visitors, as John Regan led 4-0 after three minutes in his 141-pound bout with Scott Clymer.

Regan started the second period down, which Clymer used to his advantage. The redshirt sophomore picked up his team-leading sixth win by fall this season, when he pushed Regan's shoulders to the mats at 4:03.

The back-and-forth fall battle ended at 149 pounds, but the point shifting did not, as Kevin LeValley was able to score a 16-0 technical fall win (6:00) over Joey Montgomery.

LeValley, Bucknell's top grappler, ranking No. 7 in the country, only led by two points after three minutes of action, after scoring a takedown with 15 seconds left in the first.

An escape and a takedown with three near-fall points gave the junior an 8-0 lead after two periods. However, LeValley was able to double his point total in just one period to stop the bout at 6:00, giving him his team-leading 30th win of the season and pulling his squad within one point, 12-11, in the overall dual.

The 157-pound matchup renewed a growing rivalry, as the bout was the third time in four years Shaun Smith and Brantley Hooks had squared off in dual action.

Both grapplers had won one of the previous matchups, including an overtime victory by Hooks the last time the two tangled in 2008 at the Liberty Quad in the Schilling Center.

Trailing 3-0 after five minutes of action, Smith scored his first point with 50 seconds left, escaping from the down position. Less than 30 second later, Smith scored two points with a takedown to send the bout into overtime, where he was able to pick up a 5-3 decision win with nine seconds left in the extra period with his second takedown.

Smith's overtime win pushed Liberty's lead to 15-11 midway through the dual and head coach Jesse Castro sent his second team captain out onto the mat in Chad Porter at 165 pounds.

Porter seemed to be in control, leading 5-1 after a quick escape to open the second period, but Corey Lear took Porter to the mat just past the midway point of the middle period. After picking up three near-fall points, Lear was able to finish the bout by scoring his fifth win by fall this year, giving Bucknell at 17-15 lead with his second-period win by fall (5:32).

The victory was a turning point in the dual, giving the visitors the needed momentum to take the last four bouts and pick up their third-straight dual victory.

The closing run was started by the Bison's third nationally ranked grappler, Shane Riccio. He scored a 12-3 major decision victory over Brad Clark at 174 pounds.

Riccio, ranked No. 17 in the country, led 6-2 after five minutes of action. The senior closed out the match with five third-period points to go along with a dominating 4:29 of riding time to pick up his 101st career victory and push Bucknell's lead to 21-15.

The next two weight class matchups could not be decided during seven minutes of action, as both needed an extra period to determine the victor.

Nick Knowles led Rob Waltko, 4-3, after five minutes of action at 184 pounds. Waltko scored two takedowns during the final two minutes of regulation, trying to win the match. But three escapes, including the third with 25 seconds left, enabled Knowles to knot the bout after three periods.

However, Waltko picked up his third-straight win when he scored a takedown just 13 seconds into the extra period.

Neither grappler could gain much of an edge early in the bout between Jacobi Johnson and Jay Hahn. Johnson scored the first point of the 197-pound matchup with an escape with 25 seconds left in the middle period.

Johnson continued to lead late in the bout, but Hahn scored an escape with 10 seconds left and was able to use his 1:16 of riding time to send the bout into a fourth period.

Midway through the period, Johnson tried to make a move on Hahn and nearly had the two-point takedown, but he could not finish the move and left himself open. Hahn used this to his advantage to end the matchup with a takedown of his own with 22 seconds left.

The heavyweight matchup between Andrew Wilson and Joe McMullan remained close throughout. McCullan scored a quick escape to open the second period and added his second takedown to open up a 5-1 lead.

However, Wilson fought back with an escape and takedown of his own in the last 20 seconds of the period to narrow the gap to a point, 5-4.

Wilson scored the lone point in the third period, with an escape midway through the third period to tie the bout at 5-5, but McCullan's riding time gained during the first and second periods were the determining factor (2:38) in the 6-5 decision victory for McCullan.

The Flames will return to the wrestling mats on Wednesday, when they make the trek up the Blue Ridge Mountains to take on VMI. The dual is slated to begin at 7 p.m., inside of The Thunderdome.

Liberty has controlled the series since the program was reinstated, winning all three dual matches. Two years ago, Liberty closed out its 2007-08 regular season schedule with a 30-12 victory in Lexington, thanks to the Flames taking the first five bouts to open up a 22-0 lead they never relinquished.

Following the dual event with the Keydets, Liberty will return to the Vines Center next Saturday, when they host Campbell at 3 p.m. The matchup with the NCAA East Regional foe will continue the Flames current stretch where they have four out of six events at home.