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Liberty Wrestling Falls to Virginia
The Atlantic Coast Conference's defending champions knocked off Liberty on Friday afternoon, 35-3, to slide the Flames to 0-2 at the Virginia Duals inside the Hampton Coliseum.
The Flames loss drops their dual meet record to 6-5 on the year and eliminates them from the Virginia Duals. The Cavaliers, meanwhile will now move on to face No. 25 Arizona State tomorrow at 10 a.m., after their victory which improves them to 9-3 in dual meets.
Virginia jumped out of the gates quick and strong, earning victories in the opening five bouts of the dual.
At 125, Robert Jillard gave the Cavaliers' No. 20 grappler, Matt Snyder a good run, as the two grapplers went into the final stanza knotted at two each. Much of the final two minutes had no one in control of the bout after Snyder chose neutral to begin the period. The Cavalier grappler would add a takedown in the final seconds plus have the riding time advantage to pick up the 5-2 decision and give Virginia a lead they would never relinquish.
T. J. Mitchell hit the mat again for the 133-pound bout for the Flames, but could not score on Joe Spisak. The Cavalier was able to get a 5-0 lead through two periods and add on an escape and a takedown to go along with 3:01 of riding time for the 9-1 major decision, extending the lead to 7-0.
Joey Montgomery battled with Gus Sako at 141 pounds into the third period, but Sako pulled off a strong move late in the final period to earn a win by fall (6:36) over the Flames grappler.
In the following bout at 149 pounds, Eric Reger fell victim to Derek Valenti, who scored multiple points in each period. Through two periods, Reger was down 5-0 and Valenti looked to gain the major decision by scoring as much as he could in the final two minutes. He was successful in his attempt, scoring a reversal, as well as, a takedown to add to his nearly five minutes of riding time to gain the 10-2 major decision.
Senior Peter Crawford saw action at 157 pounds for the Flames. After trailing 6-1 through one period, Crawford only allowed two more points, while scoring two of his own with a takedown. Nicky Gordon claimed the victory for Virginia and pushed its lead to 20-0.
Chad Porter slowed the Cavaliers' progress with his 165-pound bout by picking up a 10-3 decision. Porter dominated the first period, scoring a takedown along with two three-point near falls. Conner Miller of Virginia would score on an escape and takedown in the second, but Porter added a reversal in the waning seconds to win 10-3 and give the Flames their first points of the match.
Virginia once again gained control in the 174-pound bout as the Flames lineup would look different than usual, as two grapplers wrestled for the first time at higher weight classes. The combination was tough for the Flames, as each Cavalier in the next three weight classes was ranked by InterMat.
At 174 pounds, Eli Sanchez faced off with No. 4 grappler Chris Henrich. Henrich proved his ranking by defeating Sanchez with a technical fall, 15-0 (4:18). His win made him the all-time wins leader in the Cavaliers' history.
Royal Brettrager bumped up to 184 pounds to face off with No. 18 Jon Fausey. Fausey scored 13 points in the first period to take a 12-point advantage. He held his lead the rest of the way and picked up the 16-4 major decision, giving the Cavaliers the 29-3 lead in the dual.
At 197 pounds, the Flames Aaron Thompson faced off Stephen Doty. Doty managed to blankThompson to pick up a 6-0 decision.
The final bout of the match at heavyweight needed extra time, but the Cavaliers came away victorious, as well. Jack Danilkowicz picked up a takedown in the extra session to earn the 3-1 decision and give Virginia the 35-3 victory.
With VMI, UNC Greensboro, Chattanooga and Liberty being the teams in the double losers bracket, the coaching staffs decided to not finish the night with another dual, as most of the teams will face one another later in the season.
The Flames now have nearly two weeks off and will return to action Jan. 21 when they travel to Annapolis, Md., to take on Navy.