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Win Over Maryland Spotlights Terrapin Duals
The Liberty wrestling squad opened their 2010-11 season in successful fashion, as they produced a 3-1 record in the first-ever Terrapin Duals inside the Comcast Center Pavilion, including a win over host Maryland, 21-17.
The win over Maryland marks Liberty's third dual victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponent, and the first win against the Terrapins. The Flames' previous two wins against ACC foes both came against Virginia Tech. The last win was in 1992, when the Flames defeated the Hokies, 22-13.
Liberty and Maryland produced the best records on the day, both posting 3-1 marks. West Virginia, who gave the Flames their lone loss on the day, was 2-1. McDaniel and Johns Hopkins finished the day with records of 0-2 and 0-3, respectively.
In the opening match of the day, West Virginia was able to jump out of the gates quickly. The Mountaineers took the first four bouts and claimed a quick 13-0 lead.
Julian Colon tallied the first points on the season, earning a 12-8 decision over Ryan Goodman at 157 pounds. Colon scored four takedowns in the match, en route to his victory.
Freshman Royal Brettrager II pulled the Flames within eight after a win by fall (1:22) at 174 pounds, but the Mountaineers took the next two bouts and put the match out of reach. Josh Pelletier added a 4-0 decision at heavyweight for the Flames' final points of the match, which ended 24-12 in favor of the Mountaineers.
The second session faced Liberty against McDaniel. Joel Stafford ignited the Flames with a 10-2 major decision victory over Earl Eppard to open the match at 125 pounds. From there, Liberty would not relinquish its lead and would push the score to 17-0 behind four decision victories in a row from T. J. Mitchell, Joey Montgomery and Eric Reger.
Matt Peters put the Green Terror on the board with an 11-5 decision over Jonathan Perkins at 157 pounds. Those points were the lone competitive points from McDaniel, as Aaron Kelley took a 14-2 major decision over Scott Forrester and Aaron Thompson earned a 3-1 decision over Will Yeo before the Flames forfeited the heavyweight bout, to end the match with a score of 30-9.
To open the third session, Maryland's Pat Strizki earned a 4-1 decision over Jonathan Childress at 125 pounds. However, the Flames turned momentum around quickly and took the next three bouts by decision.
Joe Pantaleo's bout with Joey Boone provided some of the most exciting action on the day, as it took extra time to declare a winner. Despite Boone opening up a 5-1 lead in the first period of action, Pantaleo did not allow another point the rest of the way. The lone scoring in the second period came by way of a reversal by Pantaleo, pulling him within two points. After evening the score 5-5 with a two-point near fall in the third, the bout moved to extra time. Pantaleo claimed the sudden victory, 7-5 decision by earning a takedown just fifteen seconds into the extra time.
After a Seth Hicks 14-7 decision over Jon Kohler, Scott Clymer stretched the Flames lead to 9-3 with a 6-2 decision win of his own. Liberty needed these points, as the next three Terrapins hold spots in the national rankings.
Maryland reclaimed the lead behind its strong middle weights, with No. 10 Kyle John earning an 11-4 decision over Julian Colon at 157 pounds, No. 5 John Asper defeating Eli Sanchez with a pin (2:32) at 165 pounds, and No. 11 Mike Letts taking a 16-1 technical fall over Brettrager II at 174 pounds. After seven bouts, the Terrapins held the 17-9 edge.
The Flames reclaimed momentum at 184 pounds, with a 7-3 decision victory by Kelley over Alex Pagnotta. Despite trailing 3-1 after two periods, Kelley scored with an escape, a takedown, and a three-point near fall to finish with the decision victory and pull the margin to 17-12, Maryland.
Thompson pulled the Flames to within two by defeating Christian Boley on a 6-2 decision.
In the final bout, Josh Pelletier managed to pull the Flames over the top, as he would end up claiming the win part way through the first period, when Spencer Meyers bowed out after using all of the injury time allowed. Pelletier's win made the final score 21-17 in favor of Liberty, giving the program its most significant dual victory since the program was reinstated for the 2006-07 season.
In the final match of the day, Liberty overwhelmed Johns Hopkins from start to finish.
Rob Jillard (125 pounds), Mitchell (133 pounds), Montgomery (141 pounds) and Rodriguez (149 pounds) opened the match with four straight decision victories to open up a 12-0 lead.
The Blue Jays scored their nine points in the next two bouts, as Matt Fusaro put his squad on the board with a 4-2 decision over Rich Bushby at 157 pounds and Eric Levenseller pinned Reger in 1:42 in the 165-pound weight class. After the pin, Liberty held a 12-9 edge, but would tally the rest of the points in the match.
The Flames finished the upper weights strong, beginning with Brettrager II's second pin on the day which came against Patrick Stanley 3:32 into the bout.
Kelley added a 16-0 technical fall win over Ben Finelli to put the match out of reach at 23-9 with two bouts remaining.
At 197 pounds, Thompson added another pin for the Flames, defeating Reid Mosquera in just 1:39.
Pelletier finished the day with style, as he pinned Rick Danilkowicz 2:54 into the bout, ending the match with a score of 35-9 for the third Flames win of the day.
Coach Jesse Castro commented on the day by saying, "The coaching staff is very proud of the kids effort in the opener and it is a good indicator as to where we are right now."
Castro also believes that the team set a precedent by defeating former two-time ACC Champions, Maryland, and that "the team is starting to buy in to the philosophy," regarding conditioning and outworking other teams by way of training.
The Flames return to action next weekend, as they travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., to take on the Mocs of Chattanooga. This will be the second match-up between the programs. The first meeting came last year when the Flames met the Mocs in Indiana at the Hoosier Duals. The Mocs took the match, 25-14.