No. 25 ODU Wrestling Splits First Two Matches at Virginia Duals
By ODU Athletics
The Monarchs were leading entering the last match against the Golden Eagles, but after dropping a decision at heavyweight, ODU found itself on the wrong end of a 20-18 score. Old Dominion bounced back though, winning eight of 10 matches in a 27-6 victory over Liberty.
ODU will now face the loser of a late match between No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 18 Virginia Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Hampton Coliseum.
James Nicholson stepped onto the mat first for ODU against Clarion at 125-pounds to take on Joe Waltko. Nicholson, the current CAA Wrestler of the Month, dominated throughout and picked up four crucial points for ODU with a 16-2 major decision victory. The redshirt junior, who is ranked as high as No. 3 nationally, had over three minutes of riding time.
Clarion scored its first victory of the day as Jay Ivanco topped ODU freshman Justin LaValle, 4-2 at 133-pounds. The Golden Eagles then took their first lead of the match with a pin at 141.
Clarion continued to build on its early momentum, picking up a technical fall win at 149-pounds. James Flemming, who just missed placing at the Midlands after going 4-2, topped ODU freshman John Nicholson. After ODU was docked a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct, Clarion led, 14-3.
The Golden Eagles then sent their top wrestler to the mat and despite a valiant effort from ODU freshman Joey Sheridan, No. 16 Hadley Harrison picked up a decision at 157-pounds to put Clarion up 17-3 in the team scoring.
Senior Chris Brown got ODU back on the right track with a major decision victory at 165-pounds. Brown, who's ranked as high as No. 13 nationally, dominated Nick Milano throughout.
The senior jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first period. After choosing down to start the second, Brown escaped and then posted four takedowns to grab the big advantage. Brown had another takedown in the third and totaled 3:02 of riding time for the match.
Senior Eric Decker then won a 3-0 decision at 174-pounds to bring the Monarchs closer to the Golden Eagles. Leading 1-0 and choosing down to start the third period, Decker escaped and used his 1:51 of riding time to take the decision over Steven Cressley.
Sophomore Joe Budi closed the gap to only two points (17-15) after his 15-0 technical fall victory. Budi got an early takedown and held the advantage for over two minutes in the first period. After choosing down to start the second period, Budi got an immediate reversal and three more points for a near fall to go up 7-0. In the third period, the sophomore had two more near falls, garnering five back points to score the technical fall.
Nationally-ranked Jesse Strawn would then give ODU the lead back, winning a 4-1 decision over Alex Thomas at 197-pounds. It was scoreless going into the last period, but Strawn got an escape, takedown and 1:18 of riding time to get the win and give the Monarchs an 18-17 lead.
The final match of the bout featured ODU's Grant Chapman and Clarion's Quintas McCorkle. Chapman was no stranger to winner-take-all matches as he picked up a sudden victory decision against Purdue, which gave Old Dominion a win over the Boilermakers at the ODU quad last Sunday. However Chapman couldn't pull it off this time though, falling 9-3 to McCorkle.
Clarion won the bout 20-18 and advanced to take on No. 4 Oklahoma State, while ODU next met Liberty.
Against Liberty, Nicholson once again got ODU off to a hot start by topping Liberty's Justin Branham via technical fall. The redshirt junior raced out to an early lead with a takedown and two near fall points within the first minute. Going into the second period, Nicholson was up 7-0. He started the second period escaping from down position and scored a takedown instantly. In the third period he continued to pile up the back points until he garnered a technical fall, 16-0. Nicholson had 3:13 of riding time.
Justin LaValle, one of five freshmen in ODU's starting lineup, was next on the mat. He was matched up against LU's Joe Pantaleo at 133-pounds. Pantaleo beat Oklahoma State's Tyler Shinn, 6-5 in an earlier match.
LaValle came through with a 5-3 decision over Pantaleo. The freshman did most of his damage in the third period, picking up a reversal from down position and two back points to go up 4-1. A late reversal would make it 4-3, but 2:10 of riding time gave LaValle the 5-3 win.
The Monarchs held an 11-0 advantage after Craig Wilson won 8-4 at 141-pounds. After back-to-back takedowns in the second period, Wilson was up 8-3. Although LU's Collin Lewis fought back in the third, Wilson held on for the decision.
Freshman John Nicholson then shut out his opponent, Frankie Gayeski at 149-pounds. Gayeski won his match against Oklahoma State, but fell 4-0 to Nicholson.
Shaun Smith got Liberty onto the board with a 4-3 decision over ODU's Joey Sheridan at 157-pounds. Sheridan fell behind 3-1 early and could not score a takedown in the final seconds to swing the match. After the 157-pound bout, ODU led 14-3.
No. 13 Chris Brown picked up his second win of the day, topping LU's Chad Porter 7-2. The senior had a takedown in round one and scored another take down with two seconds remaining in round two. He then was able to hold on for the win that put ODU ahead, 17-3.
ODU's Eric Decker continued to wrestle well, racing out to a 7-0 lead in the first period of his match at 174-pounds. Decker then held on over the final four minutes for an 8-0 major decision win.
In one of the closest matches of the day, Liberty's Nick Knowles jumped out to an early 2-1 lead in the first period against sophomore Joe Budi. Budi would regain the advantage though in the second and despite his best efforts, Knowles could not take down Budi for the remainder of the match. The sophomore picked up the decision 4-2 with just over a minute of riding time.
The Monarchs pushed their lead to 27-3 after senior Jesse Strawn picked up a decision over Jacobi Johnson at 197-pounds. Trailing 2-0, Strawn escaped and garnered a takedown with five seconds remaining in the opening period. After escaping from a down position, Strawn would record another takedown to go up 6-2 at the start of the third period. The senior would post one more takedown and add a point for 1:23 of riding time to win 9-2.
Despite a late third period takedown from freshman Grant Chapman, ODU could not end the match with a win. LU's Andrew Wilson jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 7-2 decision. The win was Liberty's second of the match.
Old Dominion defeated Liberty, 27-6 and will face the loser of Oklahoma/Virginia Saturday at 10 a.m.