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LU Set to Take to the Mats against Keydets

January 26, 2010
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Shaun Smith will be looking to move to 4-0 for his career in dual action against VMI when he and the Flames travel to Lexington, Va., to face the Keydets on Wednesday night.

Shaun Smith will be looking to move to 4-0 for his career in dual action against VMI when he and the Flames travel to Lexington, Va., to face the Keydets on Wednesday night.

NWCA Scorebook Stat Tracker

Big South Network Video Stream

Before returning to the Vines Center to host Campbell on Saturday, the Flames will make the trek across the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wednesday night, to face VMI in a dual match inside the Thunderdome.

Since the program was reinstated for the 2006-07 season, the Flames have controlled the series with the Keydets. Liberty has walked away the victor in all three match ups, winning each dual by an average of 21 points.

Last year, the Flames gave VMI six points out of the gates, following a forfeit at 125 pounds. However, the Flames quickly erased the deficit by winning the next seven bouts, including three by fall, to secure a 38-9 victory inside the Vines Center on Feb. 19.

The last time the Flames made the journey over the mountains to square off with the Keydets was on Feb. 22, 2008. Liberty once again opened up a sizeable lead, 30-3, thanks to taking seven of the first eight weight-class matches.

During their last squabble inside the Thunderdome, two of Liberty's current probable starters picked up victories. Shaun Smith captured a 10-4 decision win over Andrew Dionne at 157 pounds, while Chad Porter picked up a 16-8 major decision victory over Jayme Gordon at 165 pounds.

Smith enters tomorrow night's match up with the Keydets as one of Liberty's most consistent grapplers, both in recent times and during the series with VMI.

Smith is 3-0 during his dual career against the Keydets, having picked up a win by decision (2008), major decision (2009) and by fall (2007).

The senior also comes into the bout tied for fifth on the team with 11 victories (11-7) and is riding a three-match winning streak. The last time he stepped out onto the mats, Smith scored a two-point takedown in the waning seconds of his overtime bout with Bucknell's Brantley Hooks to give him his 55th career win in a 5-3 sudden victory decision.

Porter, who ranks second on the team with a 15-9 mark during the 2009-10 slate, is also perfect in his dual career against the Keydets. As a freshman, Porter picked up a forfeit victory at 165 pounds to aid in Liberty's 30-13 victory inside the Vines Center on Feb. 15, 2007, while he added the previously mentioned major decision over Gordon in 2008.

Porter will be looking to reverse a recent slump for the junior, as he has dropped four of his last five bouts. However, half of those setbacks came at the hands of Top 20 ranked grapplers. His most recent loss was to Corey Lear of Bucknell, when Porter led 5-1 midway through the second before suffering a loss by fall later during the period (5:32).

Three other Flames have more recent history with the Keydets, as Jonathan Childress, Joe Pantaleo and Brad Clark each ran into a VMI grappler at the Keystone Classic. The trio each placed at the tournament thanks to their three victories over Keydet grapplers, helping Liberty to a first-place team finish at the Penn-hosted event.

Childress picked up an 8-2 decision over John Pope to capture fifth place at 125 pounds. Pantaleo's 6-2 decision win over Andrew Bannister helped keep the sophomore on track for his sixth-place showing at 133 pounds.

Finally, Brad Clark's 11-5 decision over Andrew Szymborski was the second of four-straight victories that helped the junior take home third place at 174 pounds. All three are currently slated to reprise their matchups during tomorrow night's dual.

The Keydets are 4-0 at home this year and have reeled off three-straight dual victories. VMI is 5-5 overall this season, with two victories coming against Gardner-Webb (21-15) and Millersville, whom the Flames will see at the Eastern Regional Duals and NCAA East Regional later this year.

VMI's victory over Millersville came this past weekend, as the Keydets swept both Davidson and Millersville inside the Thunderdome on Friday. VMI won nine out of 10 weight class matchups en route to the 37-4 Southern Conference victory over Davidson, while taking seven weight-class bouts in the 34-14 win over Millersville.

Josh Wine won both his heavyweight match ups on the day, running his season record to a perfect 14-0. Wine, who is also a member of the Keydets football program, is 0-2 in his career against Liberty. However, his pair of loses were to two-time national qualifier Patrick Walker, who graduated from the program last year.

Following Wine on VMI's top win list is Ronnie Ellwworth at 197 pounds. The junior has picked up a win in seven of his last nine bouts to raise his record to 14-5 on the year and 6-1 in dual action.
For those unable to follow the Flames up the mountains to Lexington, Va., the dual match can be followed online via two different platforms.

Live in-match stats will be provided through the NWCA Scorebook Stat Tracker, while VMI will be providing a video stream that can be viewed through the Big South Network. The cost to watch the single road dual will be $3.95.

Probable Starters
Liberty vs. VMI (2009-10 Records)
125 – Jonathan Childress (9-8) vs. John Pope (9-14)
133 – Joe Pantaleo (8-10) vs. Andrew Bannister (9-3)
141 – Scott Clymer (13-9) vs. David Yost (7-9)
149 – Joey Montgomery (0-1) or Peter Crawford (1-4) vs. Michael Long (8-12)
157 – Shaun Smith (11-7) vs. Joe Munno (4-9)
165 – Chad Porter (15-9) vs. Conor Black (6-7)
174 – Brad Clark (13-10) vs. Andrew Szymborski (10-9)
184 – Nick Knowles (10-12) vs. Vinnie Gallo (4-12)
197 – Jacobi Johnson (7-15) vs. Ronnie Ellsworth (14-5)
285 – Andrew Wilson (10-9) or Josh Pelletier (11-4) vs. Josh Wine (14-0)