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Liberty Drops Dual to Navy
Liberty's Peter Crawford and Chad Porter picked up two wins for the Flames, Friday evening, but homestanding Navy took the other eight weight classes en route to a 34-6 dual victory inside of Halsey Field House.
Navy, fresh off a victory over No. 12 Lehigh, improves its dual meet record to 3-1, while the Flames now drop to 6-6 on the year.
Starting the match at 149 pounds, senior Peter Crawford was able to put the Flames on the board first with a 9-4 decision. Despite Navy's Zach Basich scoring the first points on a takedown, Crawford escaped and scored a takedown of his own to take a 3-2 edge into the second period. The Flame then added a takedown in the second to two escapes from Basich. In the final stanza, Crawford put the bout out of reach, earning an escape and a takedown in addition to having 2:12 of riding time to give Liberty the early 3-0 lead.
In the next six bouts, Navy proved strong, picking up three wins by fall along with a major decision, clinching the match through seven bouts.
The Midshipmen's No. 6 ranked grappler Bryce Saddoris put Navy in front at 157 pounds by pinning freshman Eric Reger 1:37 into the bout.
Chad Porter quickly managed to even the score behind a decision at 165 pounds. The redshirt senior scored a takedown in the first period along with an escape and takedown in the final two minutes plus added riding time to blank Robby Neill, 6-0, and tie the match 6-6.
Another freshman Flame would drop a bout by fall, as Royal Brettrager II was pinned by Matt DeMichiel 1:21 into the first period at 174 pounds.
Aaron Kelley made his return to the mat at 184 pounds after not grappling since a Nov. 14 dual with Chattanooga, as he had been battling a shoulder injury. Kelley's return matched him against another ranked Navy grappler, No. 8 Luke Rebertus. Rebertus opened strong and took a 5-1 lead into the second after scoring a takedown with three back points. After reversing on Kelley in the second, Rebertus added multiple takedowns in the final two minutes of action to earn a 12-4 major decision, giving Navy a 16-6 edge.
At 197 pounds, Aaron Thompson jumped out to a 2-1 lead through one, but Greg Prioleau recaptured the lead by escaping and adding a takedown in the second. A scoreless final period gave Prioleau a 4-2 decision.
Freshman Jake Wright made his Liberty wrestling debut at heavyweight, but Dan Miller picked up the win by fall in the third period (6:19). The pin put Navy up 25-6 and clinched its victory with just three bouts to go. In the final three bouts, the Midshipmen earned decision victories.
Robert Jillard was held scoreless as 2010 national qualifier Aaron Kalil scored a takedown and reversal and added riding time to win 5-0 at 125 pounds.
At 133 pounds, T. J. Mitchell dropped his bout with Tyler Sackett. Going into the final two minutes, Mitchell trailed 5-2 but only scored on an escape. Riding time gave Sackett the 6-3 edge.
The final bout of the night came at 141 pounds. Seth Hicks and Dustin Haislip were all square after one period, but Haislip controlled the bout the rest of the way to win 6-3 and create the final score, 34-6.
Navy has the evening to recuperate, as they will face off with Maryland tomorrow afternoon. The Flames picked up a 21-17 victory over the Terps in the opening weekend of competition earlier this season.
For Liberty, they now travel to Pennsylvania to meet with Bucknell. The Sunday afternoon dual is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start at Davis Gym in Lewisburg, Pa.