Flames rout St. Andrews, 40-9, in season's first home meet
February 1, 2015 | Lynchburg, Va.
Before Super Bowl XLIX, Liberty University's wrestling team engaged in some super bouts in its first home match of the season, Sunday afternoon at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center.
Continuing the momentum from last weekend's NCWA National Duals championship, the Flames (9-1) got on an early roll and finished strongly in a decisive 40-9 triumph over St. Andrews (8-9).
"They actually beat us two years ago (in Laurinburg, N.C.) in a close match that went to the last bout," Liberty Head Coach Jesse Castro said. "We vowed that wouldn't happen again and the guys really stepped up. They wrestled well for the home crowd."
After Flames sophomore Tim Nordan opened the match by pinning Knights freshman Brennan Patton in 2 minutes, 1 second at 125 pounds, freshman 133-pounder Tyler Sigler overcame an early deficit to deck Tyran Taylor in 2:20 to boost Liberty to an early 12-0 lead.
"Tyler's comeback was good," Castro said. "He got taken down, came from behind, and just took it up a notch and pinned the kid. It was a momentum-setting match for us early on, and then (sophomore 141-pounder) Ike Podell continued that and (senior 149-pounder Josh) Sanders kept the ball rolling. So those first four weight classes, that's huge when you can get momentum like that."
Podell, a graduate of Liberty Christian Academy wrestling in place of reigning NCWA wrestler of the year Ryan Diehl, who's nursing an ankle injury, edged Dashon Eure, 4-3. Then Sanders, filling in for injured junior Peter Tatanish, extended his winning streak to 12 matches by beating Brody McGrath by fall in 3:47 to stretch Liberty's lead to 21-0.
"He pinned the kid, so that was huge," Castro said.
The Flames lost the next three weight classes by decision before winning their final four bouts, two by fall.
"We have yet to put our full lineup together, but some of the backups that filled in really stepped it up," Castro said, referring to wrestlers like junior Alex Cox, who escaped with a 3-2 decision over Argie Burnette. "He's actually my back-up 184-pounder and I moved him up to 197 today and he still pulled out a close win against a good kid."
Even those who didn't prevail got some good experience, including 165-pound freshman David Abbadusky, who gave up five takedowns but escaped six times in a 12-6 loss to Isaac King.
"It was fun to wrestle my first home match today," Abbadusky said. "We're excited to see what we've done and what we can do. We're looking forward to (the March 12-14 NCWA National Championships in) Texas."
Castro hopes to have his entire starting lineup ready to wrestle for Liberty's next dual meet and a full complement of athletes prepared to qualify for the national championships at the Feb. 28 Mid-Atlantic Conference tournament, which Liberty will host at LaHaye.
"My goal, Lord willing, is to have our starting lineup together at Ferrum on Feb. 12," said Castro, who plans to send his backup squad to next Saturday's Messiah Open tournament in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Liberty 40, St. Andrews 9
125 — Tim Nordan (L) p. Brennan Patton, 2:01; 133 — Tyler Sigler (L) p. Tyran Taylor, 2:20; 141 — Ike Podell (L) d. Dashon Eure, 4-3; 149 — Josh Sanders (L) p. Brody McGrath, 3:47; 157 — Travis Wood (SA) m.d. Michael Bryant, 13-4; 165 — Isaac King (SA) d. David Abbadusky, 12-6; 174 — George Nathaniel (SA) d. Josh Sturgill, 12-11; 184 — Keyshaun Ward (L) p. Brandon Gillis, 6:21; 197 — Alex Cox (L) d. Argie Burnette, 3-2; 235 — Evan Canady (L) m.d. Denzel Leggett, 12-3; 285 — Josh Pelletier (L) p. Devin Washington, 2:15.