Flames pull away from Panthers to avenge tie-breaker losses
February 12, 2015 | Ferrum, Va.
In a long-awaited rematch with Ferrum College, which edged Liberty University's wrestling team twice in tiebreakers at last year's Virginia Duals in Hampton, the Flames dominated the Panthers on their home mat Thursday night, improving to 10-1 with a 29-10 triumph.
"This was the first time we have had a fairly healthy lineup," Liberty Head Coach Jesse Castro said. "We're still not where we need to be as far as getting guys into shape, but this was pretty much the lineup we're going to be using for the (Feb. 28 Mid-Atlantic Conference) qualifier (in the LaHaye Multipurpose Center) and the NCWA National Tournament (March 12-14 in Allen, Texas)."
The Flames wrestled without freshman Michael Bryant, who is recovering from being hit by a car while crossing Odd Fellows Road between Residential Annex I and II on Feb. 3 and is expected to return in time for postseason competition. In his place, senior Josh Sanders earned a 5-2 decision over Ferrum's Daniel Reynolds to stretch Liberty's lead to 12-6.
"Josh Sanders did a good job," Castro said. "He bumped up from 149 and kept his 13-match winning streak alive. He's really on a roll."
Sophomore Ryan Diehl had put the Flames on top with an 8-3 victory over Austin Jenkins two matches after freshman 133-pounder Tyler Sigler recorded the only fall of the match, pinning the Panthers' Justin Zimmerman in 1 minute, 8 seconds.
Senior 165-pounder Chase Boontjer followed Sanders' narrow win by scoring a 17-2 technical fall over Ferrum's Dustin Santmyers before Liberty claimed three of the final four bouts, including freshman Josh Llopez's 6-0 decision over Josh Alston at 174 and graduate student Josh Pelletier's 8-3 win over Tate Dulany at heavyweight.
|Liberty celebrates its win over the Panthers on Thursday.|
"We really wanted this one for vindication after last year's losses at the Virginia Duals," Castro said of the agonizing 19-18 quarterfinal setback and 22-21 defeat in the third-place bout, both decided by tie-breaking criteria. "They gave us two of our only losses last year. We're a lot stronger this year."
The Flames will travel to Vienna, W.Va., on Tuesday for their final dual meet of the season at Ohio Valley, a team it has had split decisions with over the past two seasons.
Liberty 29, Ferrum 10
125 — Robert Cunningham (F) d. Tim Nordan, 8-2; 133 — Tyler Sigler (L) p. Justin Zimmerman, 1:08; 141 — Ryan Diehl (L) d. Austin Jenkins, 8-3; 149 — Paul Biggs (F) d. Peter Tatanish, 10-9; 157 — Josh Sanders (L) d. Daniel Reynolds, 5-2; 165 — Chase Boontjer (L) t.f. Dustin Santmyers, 17-2, 174 — Josh Llopez (L) d. Josh Alston, 6-0; 184 — Keyshaun Ward (L) d. Chris Carter, by injury default; 197 — Nick Rodriguez (F) d. Matt Reynolds, 11-4; 285 — Josh Pelletier (L) d. Tate Dulany, 8-3.
Records: Liberty 10-1, Ferrum 8-10.