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Old Dominion defeats Bloomsburg in regular season finale

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion wrestling team (10-9, 6-2 MAC) capped off its regular season by honoring its seniors and earning a 33-3 victory over Mid-American Conference (MAC) foe Bloomsburg (3-10, 0-8 MAC) on Sunday afternoon at Chartway Arena.

"I thought everybody wrestled up to their ability level. We put a lot of points on the board, which is what you want to see at the end of the season," head coach Steve Martin said after the win, his team's fourth in a row. "We have a lot of positives going forward as we reach the end of the year."

Six of the seven ODU seniors wrestled on Sunday, with five of them coming out victorious. At 133 pounds, Steven Simpson was the first senior to take the mat and he found himself down, 5-2 after the first period. Simpson quickly jumped his opponent Josh Mason on the scoreboard, earning a reversal and a two-point near-fall in the second frame to hold a 6-5 lead. He added six more points in the final period with another takedown and a four-point near-fall to earn a 12-7 win, his first dual win at Chartway Arena in his career.

No. 22 Sa'Derian Perry earned an 11-2 major decision victory over Marco Macrino in the 141-pound bout, earning four takedowns in the effort. Perry collected five and a half minutes of riding time and held Macrino scoreless for the first two periods before ultimately giving up two escape points to the Husky in the third.

In the following bout at 149 pounds, No. 28 Kenan Carter started his battle with a takedown and a four-point near-fall to put six points on the board quickly in the first period. Carter would add three more points in the third period with a reversal and over two minutes of riding time to give him a 9-4 win by decision over Aaron Coleman.

At 157 pounds, No. 10 Larry Early took down Alex Carida five times to give him a 12-4 win by major decision. Early earned five points in the final frame of his bout, collecting two takedowns and the riding time advantage to propel him to the eight-point victory. The win gave the Monarchs an 18-0 lead going into the intermission.

The fifth Monarch senior to earn a hand-raise was Timothy Young at 197 pounds. Young took down Kyle Murphy early in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead. He rode the Husky for the remainder of the frame, collecting over two minutes of riding time in just the first period. Young earned two more points in the battle while holding Murphy to just one escape point in the third frame to earn a 4-1 decision.

Antonio Agee was the only Monarch to suffer a loss on the day, but he was seconds away from defeating a top-20 opponent. The senior was tasked with facing No. 18 Trevor Allard in the 184-pound bout. Allard earned a takedown, but Agee quickly escaped in the first period. It looked like Allard was going to end the period with a 2-1 advantage, but a last-second takedown by Agee gave the Monarch the one-point lead. The ranked Husky earned an escape point in the second period and the two combatants went into the final frame tied at three apiece. Agee earned an early escape point in the period and held a 4-3 lead until Allard earned a takedown with just seconds on the clock to jump Agee on the scoreboard and give Bloomsburg their only points of the match.

ODU had four other wins on the day, giving the Monarchs nine wins out of the possible 10. At 125 pounds, No. 11 Killian Cardinale got the match started with a 13-5 major decision win over Christian Gannone. Cardinale collected five takedowns and over three minutes of riding time to give his team the early lead.

In the 165-pound bout, Kellen Ekern saw his first dual action since wrestling at 174 pounds against SIUE earlier this season. The redshirt freshman came away with a 6-2 decision over Nate Newberry, collecting all six points in the third period, including a two-point near-fall.

At 174 pounds, freshman Alex Cramer shutout Anthony Vetrano in a 6-0 decision, making the overall score 24-0 at the time and clinching the ODU victory. Cramer earned two points in each of the three periods.

Will Hilliard ended the match and the ODU regular season in style, pinning his opponent Michael Porreca after just two minutes and 18 seconds of action. The pin was Hilliard's first of the season and it gave the Monarchs six additional points, to bring the final score to 33-3.

The Monarch victory was also the 172nd ODU has had with Martin at the helm, who is now tied for the most wins in program history with Old Dominion's original head wrestling coach, Pete Robinson.

"Pete basically started the program back in the '50s and he was a family friend," Martin said of his fellow record-holder. "It's a big thing to be mentioned in the same breath as Pete Robinson, I have nothing but respect for him."

The wrestling Monarchs set their sights on the postseason now, as they have 13 days before the start of the MAC Championships, which begin on Saturday, March 7 in DeKalb, Illinois on the campus of Northern Illinois.

Results:
125: #11 Killian Cardinale (ODU) MD over Christian Gannone (BLOOM) 13-5
133: Steven Simpson (ODU) dec. over Josh Mason (BLOOM) 12-7
141: #22 Sa'Derian Perry (ODU) MD over Marco Macrino (BLOOM) 11-2
149: #28 Kenan Carter (ODU) dec. over Aaron Coleman (BLOOM) 9-4
157: #10 Larry Early (ODU) MD over Alex Carida (BLOOM) 12-4
165: Kellen Ekern (ODU) dec. over Nate Newberry (BLOOM) 6-2
174: Alex Cramer (ODU) dec. over Anthony Vetrano (BLOOM) 6-0
184: #18 Trevor Allard (BLOOM) dec. over Antonio Agee (ODU) 5-4
197: Timothy Young (ODU) dec. over Kyle Murphy (BLOOM) 4-1
285: Will Hilliard (ODU) fall over Michael Porreca (BLOOM) (2:18)

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